Each winter, professional surfers migrate to Half Moon Bay to try their luck at riding the massive waves of the Mavericks area. During the competition, the coastline waters are dotted with bobbing surfers and spectator boats. For an up-close look at the waves, Bait & Switch Sportfishing, a bait shop located on nearby Pillar Point Harbor, transports guests on one of six vessels ranging between 29 and 56 feet. Staff captains organize boat tours to watch the surfing, snap photos of jumping humpback whales, or fish for salmon and rockfish. They also schedule walking tours of Half Moon Bay’s wetlands, which are home to more than 200 species of birds and at least 10 airborne crossing guards.
For more than a decade, Team Bay Tennis's founder and director Igor Savanovic has fine-tuned the swings of athletes ranging from beginners to pros. Savanovic and two other instructors tailor their instruction to varying levels of play. They work with graduated court and racket sizes while forming a personal rapport and motivational relationship with students. Adults hone strokes in clinics or one-on-one lessons that focus on technical aspects of the game, such as how to deal with hecklers.
The experienced staff at The Peninsula Ballet Theatre Conservatory of Dance nurture awkward appendages into free-flowing figures with their dance and fitness classes. Learn the sultry style of Latin-based beats during the beginning folklorico course with Norberto Martinez, or join flow yoga with Patti Stafford to elongate a rigid endoskeleton. The beginning ballet class enables novice dancers to pirouette to work and the grocery store, and the synergy Pilates class swiftly strengthens the core for upcoming sit-up competitions against the neighborhood snap bracelet.
At Menlo Hub, both food and art find a place on the menu. The modern restaurant's walls are blanketed in original contemporary paintings, and on some nights, the dining space reverberates with music from live bands and solo musicians. But even on nights with performances, the main attraction is always found in the kitchen. Here, chefs design casual American dishes sprinkled with elements of Mediterranean cooking.
The menus focus on simple steaks and seafood, complemented by organic produce sourced from nearby sustainable farms. The artfully plated dishes include California sea bass, New York steaks with gorgonzola demi-glace, and eggplant-wrapped lamb shanks. While most visitors sample the cuisine in the airy main dining space, private groups eat in a secluded room warmed by a corner fireplace.
At the lively bar, flat-screen TVs broadcast sporting events as bartenders mix fruit-infused martinis and pour a range of California wines, which are made from grapes that are just thankful that they never became California raisins.
The Little Gym of Belmont ensconces children in a nurturing, noncompetitive environment conducive to building kid confidence with fitness-focused activities. Youngsters can participate in a jellybean jar of professionally developed classes (a $19.75 value per class) such as gymnastics, dance, karate, and sports skills. Each session is geared toward improving the attention spans, mind and body balance, and motor skills of babbling tots ranging from 10-month-olds to middle-school sages of 12 years. Classes last 45–60 minutes, lavishing small fries in movement, music, learning, and laughter, leaving little darlings with no time to bite the instructor's ankles or write a scathing opinion letter to the New York Times about child ennui. Check out the schedule for a full listing of class times.