Look out the balcony in front and you see the teal blue-green sea and Pillar Point bluff; yes, it is Mavericks. One of the greatest spots for big surf in the world. It was immortalized in the movie "Chasing Mavericks" - the story of a young man's hunt to learn about himself in some of the most amazing surf in the world. It is a grand sight! As if to make the point, it is fronted by the massive Pillar Point with God's golf ball teed up and ready to go.


Pillar Point envelopes Half Moon Bay harbor and rows of white boats with slender masts rise up above the deeper green-blue of the harbor. It is so easy to roll down on a Sunday morning next to the harbor and have a Mimosa and a brunch at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company or one of the great restaurants at the harbor, while looking at the boats and the activity going on.

The house is actually on the El Granada hills directly above the Half Moon Bay Harbor. The address is 766 El Granada Blvd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019. It is at the very end of the road right up against the entrance to two very large estates. Since it is high up, a large proportion of the time, the house stays above the fog line and we get very clear sun. Because it is at the end of a long road, we don't get disturbed by a lot of traffic. We actually were able to have a block party right in the garage and on the streets.

House Pictures - Click Here!

Other than the neighboring houses in that one street, we are almost completely surrounded by protected open space. It is now owned by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), with no possibility of additional development. On one side we get to see the harbor and the ocean and on all other sides, we are surrounded by green hills and valleys. The view behind the house is of tall Eucalyptus trees. It is fairly common to have deer and quail walk by on the street.

I moved here almost thirteen years ago for a very specific reason. I used to live in San Mateo, near highway 92 and 101 with its horrible pollution and smog. It was so bad, that you could literally sweep the black soot from the cars in your backyard. My son Ryan developed a very severe case of asthma. I did everything possible: flow-meters, oral steroids, allergy tests, air cleaners, two week work out at the famous National Jewish Hospital in Denver, etc. After a lot of medical help and research, one of the clear needs seemed to be better air. I researched and found that the coast would be a great place. First of all with air movement from the ocean any pollutants got pushed inland. There was really only one highway and little smog. The fog droplets would also stick to any pollutants remaining and drop down to the ground and get washed away. I was lucky enough to find this house on the top of a hill so that there literally was very little car pollution getting near us.

So this was perfect for Ryan. Almost thirteen years later, he has barely had any asthma attacks. He has been able to lead a completely normal life, including playing on the school baseball team. This was one of the best things I did in my life. I feel that even I have had better health living here. I am thrilled that this house paid off so handsomely for our health.

Half Moon Bay and many coastal towns were started as agrarian towns. There was a plan to connect a coastal railway to allow San Francisco denizens to get away for the weekend. Agriculture still is a big mainstay of the area. Though now, it is more flower farms, vegetables and horse farms. There is a flourishing local food/organic food movement in the area. An excellent grocery store called the New Leaf caters to that market. Half Moon Bay has also come to be known for its grand pumpkin festival.

The coast-side has various beaches up and down for tens of miles. There is a coastal trail that goes along the beach to great extents. Walking, biking and jogging on the trails is very common. I personally like to go for a walk on the beach trails and find myself invariably thinking about interesting things and getting into a great mood. There is also a separate horse trail as well.

The coast-side is full of great restaurants such as Café Gibraltar, Cetrella, Sam’s Chowder House and Half Moon Bay Brewing. Most of them also have live music on most days of the week. For just a couple of beers I get to see some live band almost every week. It is easy to make friends and enjoy a beer, music and some sports at most of these places.

The town and the coast-side still has a smaller town feel, even though it is a part of the San Francisco Bay Area. My office in San Mateo takes my only about 35 minutes to get to and on weekends I can get to it in about 25 minutes. With the new tunnel, you can get to San Francisco from my house in about 35 minutes too. This is fantastic because almost any kind of commute in the bay area takes at least 40 minutes. You get to live in a pastoral environment and still be very close to all the action.

If I love it so much, why am I selling? Ryan is finishing high school and leaving for college (Cal-Poly) this year. He has had an amazing time at his high school so far and been on both the school baseball team and also the school plays. With a good academic record, he was able to get into his first-choice school. I cannot be prouder of him. He is spreading his wings. It is time for me also to do the same. I hope to move into more of a farm type property and get involved deeper in Half Moon Bay activities. That is the reason for selling. ( note: -- not selling now ).

 Ryan went to three schools in the area: Half Moon Bay High School, Cunha Middle School and Wilkinson’s private school. All the schools were amazing. I could not ask for any better education for my son. Wilkinson’s was an amazing school with great attention paid to the whole child development and a very small school size. There are a number of other schools such Wavecrest, Farrallone, etc., which also have a very good reputation. The community is very engaged with the schools and there are a lot of activities where the parents eagerly participate.

The house is even larger than the square footage would lead you to believe. There is almost another 500 sq. ft. of unfinished basement. With a little bit of elbow grease this could be an excellent game room or extra rooms for additional members. The guest quarters itself is almost a 1000 sq. ft. and has two bed rooms, a bath, living room and a laundry. It also has a completely separate entrance.

House Pictures - Click Here!

The large deck in the back is idyllic. It is surrounded by tall Eucalyptus trees in the protected park. There is a modern barbecue grill. It is perfect for entertaining friends and family with drinks and great food. The view from the top down to the deck and trees is amazing. Getting down to the deck takes down a series of landings. I had always wanted to set up a cascading series of ponds down those landings. With some fish, plants and lights, it would have been an amazing landscaping showcase.

The house is of course at the very top of the hill right up against some very large estates. It is cul-de-sac and we don’t get much traffic up there. The road up the hill is beautiful with many different views of the hills, valleys, the harbor and the ocean. There are also very interesting and unique houses along the way. I have painted a few of them (on display in the house). The neighbors are great and friendly and I have been on good terms with all of them. We have thrown a few parties in the past and it is very enjoyable to spend time with our neighbors.

At a cost of about $1.1M , the property still provides great value. The prices on the coast-side is less than the peninsula because people do not realize how close it actually is. The hills act as a psychological barrier, but we have been seeing many startup and VC type people recognizing the value and starting to buy up properties. With the typical down-payment and if the property were to grow up only 15% over the next 5 years, you could still earn a return of 100% on your down payment!

But here is an amazing thing: normally a property like this may cost about $4500 in monthly mortgage payments. But it is possible to afford this property for a much lower monthly payment than one would normally think. I was able to rent out the guest quarters for about $2000 for some years. With that, your monthly payment will be only $2500 or so. Renting an apartment in San Francisco costs this much now for most. Renting an executive home anywhere in the bay area will cost more. You can actually own a Million-plus house for that amount!

So this is a house of amazing value in an absolutely great place!

House Pictures - Click here!


I hope I get to meet you and hang out in Half Moon Bay in the future!

Gopi Mattel.

Connect with me here

Twitter at @gmattel