August 4, 2010

Moss Landing: Monterey County's Best-Kept Secret (Updated)

Moss Landing Harbor at sunset in January 2011. The distant "star of lights" marks Phil's Fish Market; behind that, the Pacific Ocean. (click to enlarge photos)

[UPDATED JANUARY 18, 2011] Halfway between Monterey and Santa Cruz is a little piece of California that time forgot: the quiet harbor of Moss Landing. Monterey Bay's best-kept secret is still largely undiscovered by tourists and longtime Californians -- people are typically outnumbered by sea lions and fishing boats -- but the word is getting out. A big contributor to that buzz is Phil's Fish Market, which had a starring role on the Food Network a few years ago and quickly landed on the "must-dine" list for Central Coast vacationers.

Colorful boats rest in the quaint harbor, set against the towering stacks of the Moss Landing power plant.

Phil's restaurant is only part of Moss Landing's charm. An amazing variety of birds and marine life call the harbor home; Elkhorn Slough also meets the Pacific Ocean here, so kayakers and pontoon boats are a common sight along the pristine old river and surrounding wetlands. Highway 1, antique stores, and a landmark power plant add to the photographic possibilities.

One of Moss Landing's resident pelicans relaxes in the shadow of the Highway 1 bridge.

 Seen from Highway 1, birds perch near the harbor entrance at sunset in January 2011.

Moss Landing has always been a favorite place to take the cameras, and with our move to Oak Hills we're only 15 minutes from the harbor! Gloomy Central Coast summers put a damper on picture-making, but the spring and fall months offer plenty of sun. Gotta run -- Phil's is calling. Mmm, calamari . . .

An otter munches on a crab snack (Spongebob fans would call it a real crabby patty)

Harbor glint, October 2009.

Near sunset, a research vessel departs Moss Landing for the waters of the Pacific.

For more information on Moss Landing,visit the Chamber of Commerce: