A Dream Come True...History of Pescadero Creek Inn
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
― Henry David Thoreau,
What began as a weekend bike ride on scenic Pescadero Road has become a dream come true. In the summer of 1989, after a satisfying lunch at Duarte's Restaurant, my wife Penny and I set off to ride our bikes the eight miles of back country roads from Pescadero to San Gregorio. We had barely begun to peddle when we came upon a ransacked deserted dwelling at the edge of downtown Pescadero. I don't know what drew us to stop and investigate, but after navigating the overgrown, garbage strewn yard for a few minutes I came to the questionable conclusion that this location on the California coast would be a great spot for an inn in the country.
Humoring me, Penny said "That’s great, honey. Let's get back on the road we have a long ride ahead of us”. Little did she realize the depth of her statement. Some investigation at the San Mateo county clerks office informed me that the building had been condemned in 1987 and lead me to the property’s owner, San Francisco Coastal Nursery, who advised they had no interest in selling, and planned to raze the building for additional farmland. It was a sentiment later shared by many of my friends and family, as well as some folks in Pescadero. However, I felt a connection to this building that was built about the time my grandparents came to New York from Ireland, looking for a better life. Now I had come to the coastal community of Pescadero in search of the same.
Fast forward two years and Penny and I are looking at existing B&B properties in Ashland, Oregon. When none of the properties panned out, the memory of that run-down place in Pescadero, CA came to mind. For some reason it had a real draw and rather than spend two days leisurely returning from Ashland we hi-tailed it home and on the next day, Saturday, I was up early and on my way down the coast on Highway One to Pescadero. When I arrived I was pleased to see a realtors "For Sale" sign out front.
However, a call to the realtor informed me the property had already been sold to a Pescadero contractor who planned to rehab the property for himself and turn it into a bed and breakfast.
But as luck would have it the contracting market was suffering at the time and he had broken up with the girlfriend who had planned to run the B&B, so he was agreeable to selling if he would be hired to do the work. We agreed to the deal
that Sunday in August 1991 at the corner table in Duarte’s Restaurant and began the 25-month rebuilding job.
Because of the unique location we had eight government agencies and the California Coastal Commission to maneuver before we could even put a shovel in the ground. During the time we were waiting for the permits to come through I was up and out every Saturday and Sunday morning and in Pescadero, CA to tear down walls and clear away garbage and debris.
I was even able to coax 10 friends to come out and help me dismantle two old garages. After a beginning mishap of knocking down the first garage so it fell the wrong way and against the house, things went smoothly and we
filled two dumpsters that day alone, and fully removed both structures. However, it would be a long time before I could coax them out to Pescadero, CA coast again.
The building had been the first apartment house in Pescadero when they converted it to a three-unit dwelling in the early 1930’s and added a cabin out back. They had put in drop ceilings and false walls that gave us our first surprise when we tore down the ceiling to discover beautiful virgin redwood twelve inch boards. The ceiling in the parlor shows off those beautiful redwood bords now!
After jumping through more hoops than a lion at Ringling Brothers we began construction in February, 1993, and after seven very stressful months our home was completed and we were able to finally move to Pescadero during the fall of 1993.
However, that meant only the area we lived in was finished, but the guest rooms were just sheet rocked and taped. So over the next ten years we added the finishing touches. During that time we completed the remodel piece by piece, which actually turned out to offer some nice opportunities to do things a little differently. For instance, in a cost saving measure, rather than buy expensive crown molding we designed individual crowns for each room ourselves using a variety of different moldings. The result is a unique, truly one-of-a-kind look in all the guest rooms.
Finally, in March 2003, the kids were grown and the Pescadero Creek Inn was ready to open. What a long strange trip it’d been….and the fun was just starting
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden