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20 October 2014

A Sunday Escape into the Past at the Pelican Inn

A few weekends ago, I was looking for something fun to do with my daughter Mélanie that wouldn’t involve crossing one of the Bay Area’s many bridges  would be relatively mellow while still giving Mélanie  an adventure, and would ideally also provide me with writing inspiration. It seemed a perfect  day for a visit to the Pelican Innhttp://www.pelicaninn.com/. The Pelican Inn, tucked away on the road to Muir Woods on the northern California coast is a reproduction of a 16th century inn. Francis Drake and his crew landed on the coast not far away, and the inn takes it's name from Drake's ship, which was originally called the Pelican before being renamed the Golden Hinde.

I told Mélanie we were going to visit a castle. And if not quite strictly speaking a castle, the white-washed, slate roofed inn certainly conjurs up an era of castles. Mélanie and I enjoyed the bountiful brunch buffet on the patio (complete with delicious housemade scones that were fabulous with Stilton and marmalade) while I made notes for a scene in my WIP set in a coaching inn that I realized I could model on the Pelican Inn. The bar shows what a bar was like in a British inn or tavern - not a long counter but a a small window at which barkeep dispenses pints just as the Pelican Inn’s bartenders do. The dining room has a huge brick fireplace, candle sconces, and wood paneling. The white washed walls, open beams, low plaster ceiling, slightly uneven floors, and the sort of rambling quality one expects of an old inn all help transport one in time.

After brunch Mélanie took my Guinness and her mug of milk outside to the garden where I soaked up more atmosphere and she looked for butterflies among the flowerbeds.

I held her up so she could peek through one of the casements and showed her how thick the window ledge was. It was a lovely afternoon, an escape to another time and place, and priceless inspiration.

What places transport you to another time? Writers, do you have favorite settings near to home that evoke settings in your books?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Helena said...

That sounds such fun! I hadn't realised how recently the inn was built, but ti does a good job at reproducing the feel of an old English inn.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

It was fun! I actually thought I had read that the inn was an old English Inn that was dismantled and moved to California, but I couldn't find that online. It definitely looks and feels like inns I've visited in England.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Leslie Carroll said...

One thing I love about having lived so near to Georgetown for the past 2 years is that every time I need (or want) to slip back into the 18th century for a bit, it's just a few blocks away from my condo! Time travel really can be just steps away and I am walking in to footsteps of the founding fathers -- and before them ... back to the truly colonial days!

10:00 AM  

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