Between San Francisco and Silicon Valley lies San Mateo County Peninsula region of the San Francisco Bay Area; an area with many attractions including a large, beautiful wilderness, perfect for hiking and mountain biking.
The Peninsula, divided (north/south) by the Santa Cruz Mountains, has two coasts – San Francisco Bay one side, Pacific Ocean on the other, with a few major cities and ports.
Burlingame and San Mateo are two prospering communities on the peninsula with “small town American” identities.
Rest your head at the Marriott AC Hotel Oyster Bay, a sleek modern hotel located close to points of interest. Popular with the Biotech technology companies and the leisure crowd, the hotel provides easy access to San Mateo County Peninsula and San Francisco Airport (via free shuttle).
The rooms are extremely comfortable and modern as befitting any Marriott property. One aspect of these rooms that stands out is the number of USB outlets – by the bed, bathroom and at the worktable.
AC Kitchen serves up a European-inspired breakfast, while lunch and dinner in the AC Lounge have a Spanish flair.
Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California; located on the San Francisco Peninsula it has a significant shoreline on the Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame and is often referred to as the City of Trees due to its numerous eucalyptus groves. This city has a walkable downtown area, with a quality residential life and amazing dining choices, ranging from Italian to California cuisine.
Burlingame is where we met Eddie Sohirad, at Del’Oliva, purveyor of the finest olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the Peninsular. He has been at this location for 10 years and has impressive rows of olive oil containers and Balsamic vinegars.
Eddie has a mission, it’s to educate clients about the qualities of good olive oil – how to smell it, taste it and use it. Good olive oil must be used within a few months he mentions while pointing to vats filled with oils from all over globe. Extra virgin olive oil should taste like you’re biting the bark of an olive tree. The varies are outstanding but Eddie will steer you in the right direction, depending on your needs.
In addition to the oils and vinegars the store is packed to the hilt with kitchen products and delectable goodies from around the world. Biting into an exotic Mehjool date from Iran, left me wanting more.
Del’Oliva is not a place you can leave empty handed, buying a bottle or two is a must. This is some of the finest Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar available and they will bottle, labeled and seal your choices while you wait.
Visit San Mateo
Once you get into San Mateo, you’ll find much to explore. This city is about 20 miles south of San Francisco; due to its technology residents it has a young vibe as well as pockets of old money. With a pleasant climate, incredible dining, proximity to Silicon Valley and San Francisco it’s easy to see why it’s so attractive to visitors and residents alike.
Dine at Pausa Bar & Cookery in San Mateo
Pausa restaurant is a local dining favourite. Chef Owner Andrea Giulia offers authentic Italian fare made from scratch using the bounty of Northern California – meats, fish and produce.
Order one of the house favourites – Salami platter, brined & slow roasted chicken, or Salame Calabrese pizza with house made mozzarella. Pair your meal with one of the popular spritz drinks – Il Doge (aperol, prosecco, soda, orange) or Probito (cappelletti, grapefruit, lemon, prosecco).
Visit Japanese Gardens
If you get the chance, while in San Mateo, head to the breathtaking Japanese Gardens. Don’t be fooled by its size, this is a small garden offering a big experience with beautiful exotic flowers and waterfalls gracing the park. Designed by landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, it features a granite pagoda, tea house, koi pond and bamboo grove.
Explore Filoli Historic House and Garden
The Filoli Historic House and Garden in San Mateo is worth the price of admission. It features a mansion and grounds so beautiful they compete with any of the European Estates. It’s a National Trust Historic Site, on 654-acres located 30 miles outside of San Francisco. Recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century as well as a California State Historic Landmark and offers unique, restorative experiences for the whole family every season.
Designed by California architect Willis Polk, this Georgian Revival mansion surrounded by 16 acres of formal gardens and 600 acres of woods, was built for William B. Bourn II. Its reflecting pools, formal gardens, arbors, and shady walks were all planned to blend harmoniously with the nearby San Andreas hills. The spectacular grounds present a hallmark of garden landscape design, breathtaking in scale and displaying the diversity of California flora. The house took nearly three years to complete.
Popular rooms in the house include the magnificent grand ballroom, library, and kitchen. The sunken garden, the garden house, and the wedding place also receive many visitors who get to explore the beauty and tranquility of another era, as well as visit the cafe, have a glass of wine, or enjoy afternoon tea.
Filoli hosts seasonal activities, including tours, art shows, educational programs, and special events. Proceeds support the care of the historic house, gardens, nature preserve, events and programs that keep Filoli culturally relevant for the future.
Santa Cruz Mountains
As you head back to San Mateo through the stunning Santa Cruz Mountains, you can see the fog slowly creeping into San Francisco from the distance.
Everyone visiting this area really should take the time to drive Skyline Boulevard through these mountains; they’re part of the beautiful Pacific Coastal Range and form a ridge right down the Peninsula.
Tip: Located on Skyline Drive is Alice’s Restaurant an eco-minded spot, serving burgers, BBQ & more in a rustic cabin. It’s also a popular spot for cyclists, bikers and Sunday drivers.
Visit Thomas Fogarty Winery
I’m always up for a good wine tasting and found that the Thomas Fogarty Winery is perfect for an authentic wine tasting experience. Sitting on a mountain sipping wine while enjoying an unparalleled view was incredible.
Tip: If your traveling with children then stop by at CuriOdyssey
CuriOdyssey is a science playground and zoo in San Mateo where kids get to see wild animals up-close and play with real scientific phenomena in fun, hands-on exhibits. CuriOdyssey’s wild animals, are rescued native wildlife and include bobcats, river otter, fox, opossum, eagles, owls and more.
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For more information visit San Mateo County & Silicon Valley .