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Get Married in Half Moon Bay, California

Words by Jennifer Stein

Making a visit to Half Moon Bay, California (conveniently located only 40 minutes from San Francisco International Airport) is like taking a step back in time. Sure, the modern luxuries of life and simplicities of technology are still there, but the lifestyle and vibe are not the usual hurried California pace many are used to.

I recently accepted an invitation to experience the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay property and play a few rounds of golf. Being a big fan of the Ritz and not having swung a club in six months, I found it hard to say no.

As we took the meandering country road to the hotel, I was amazed at the farms, pumpkin patches and small town feel the area had. Although, when we arrived, it was quite obvious this was no run-of-the-mill country inn. True to Ritz-Carlton form, the grounds were perfectly manicured and properly dressed bellmen lined the entrance waiting to take our bags and start our relaxing stay.

Once inside, I was struck by the mixture of cozy inviting ambiance, that “ahh, vacation” feel and of course, the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean just beyond the crackling fireplace in the entry. I was ready to be pampered.

We had been invited to play both courses – the Old Course and the Ocean Course, not to mention, peek in on the wedding facilities, so without wasting any time, we headed for the Pro Shop.

Fully outfitted with state-of-the-art Taylor-Made clubs (so chill out if you can’t bring your own, the ones they provide are probably nicer than your set anyway), we headed out first to try our hand at the Ocean Course. With more than half of the holes having a clear ocean view, just riding along is worth the trip. I won’t recount my game here, as there were more than a few Mulligans taken and “FORE!” shout-outs throughout the afternoon, but the course was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. What struck me most is how simple they kept the adjoining landscape. The star player here is the Pacific, and the course designer, Arthur Hills, did a sublime job of keeping that the prime focus.

The Old Course runs through the surrounding residential areas with 17 and 18 overlooking the ocean. Lined with stunning homes, countless water hazards and mature trees, it became obvious this is not a “hackers” course. Unscathed and as the sun was setting, we made it through to the dramatic finish on the 18th hole.

Between rounds, we were treated to gourmet s’mores served around ocean-facing fire pits, fresh seafood paired with incredible wines and different spirits, hot chocolate spiked with Bailey’s and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at the turn. I was in culinary heaven.

After the golf portion of the trip was complete, I met up with the wedding specialist so she could show me around the Ritz. My favorite venue option was the ocean-front gazebo lawn. At sunset, this grassy area overlooking the bluffs would be a quintessential romantic backdrop for a west-coast destination wedding. There are countless plan B options, so if rain tried to spoil your day, the hotel would have you covered. In case you’re really after a true golf themed wedding, the golf course also has some great wedding options within their club house.

Whatever your reason for visiting Half Moon Bay, be it your wedding, honeymoon or both, make sure to take in a round of golf and an evening or two at the Ritz-Carlton. You’ll love every tranquil moment.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay

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