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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Picnic Pleasures

Uploaded: Mar 31, 2016

The pleasure of a picnic lies somewhere between genteel society and raw nature. Pepper-crusted salmon, watermelon radish and Humboldt Fog dot plaid blankets laid a top warm, steamy earth. Connecting to the free and natural around us, awareness deepens and laughs ring more robust. Winds steal napkins and societal politeness, so we lick meat juice off our fingers, and wipe oil from lips with shoulders and shirt. Who cares? We are eating outside and wild again, if only for a moment, or maybe just a meal.

Picnic-perfect Martin’s Beach, the still-gated cove south of Half Moon Bay is back in the news. We continue to Food Party! about this. Happy to report vulture capitalist Vinod Khosla lost another of his greedy court battles, this time claiming he “owned the land under the ocean, and therefore, had no legal requirement to reopen the road/beach to the public.” ZAM! WACK-ETH! Darth Vader, even your attorney conceded the issue last week before California appellate judges, in one of the two remaining lawsuits seeking to open the gate you closed in 2010 and restore public access to the beach.

Khosla may be public picnic prude #1, but precedence shows folks who owned the land before him were not. Evidence A: the 1900 photo below, sent in by Food Partier! Margaret Owen Thorpe, of St. Paul Minnesota. It was taken by her great grand uncle, Nicholas Martin, a cattle /sheep rancher who originally settled the property around 1860.

I was so touched she emailed it in and gave her a call.

“These people liked to party” said Owen Thorpe. “I have a number of pictures of them picnicking, even one in the middle of a railroad track! In every picture of Nicholas, he looks like such a nice person. My father said everyone loved Uncle Nick. But they wouldn’t have liked Mr Khosla.”

- Nicholas Martin

Ratts, my notes go blank here… Ackk...why wouldn’t they have liked him? I can’t remember. She continues…

“Hats – the ladies always wore those hats. My grandmother, Belle Martin, made my aunt Maida (born 1908) wear a hat so she wouldn’t tan. They needed to show they were ladies.”

After Nicholas Martin died in early 1910, his daughters sold the property to the Deeny family between 1910 – 1915. The Deenys built the many rental cabins on the ocean-facing hills, and charged a small entrance fee to maintain the road and beach, solidifying this popular picnic paradise for more than 50 years. In 2008, they sold the property to Khosla for $32.5 million, and two years later, he closed the road to the public (still paying $11,250 a day in fines for the right to do so).

So now when I visit this gorgeous beach, I keep the time-honored tradition alive, packing boogie board and picnic basket, and I hope you will too. Park just off Highway 1, hop over, or walk around, the gate. It says private property, but county law enforcement does not ticket. Saunter to the beach. Blanket goes down, senses go up. Smile at the drone that might hover, like it did around us the last time we were there (that was weird). Better yet growl at it, and then howl at the ocean.

You are wild again.

Albeit my ladies, please don’t forget your hat.

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Posted by More Action, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Apr 1, 2016 at 7:52 am

Appellate Brief Filed in Surfrider Foundation’s Lawsuit to Restore Public Access to Martins Beach March 30, 2016 Web Link

Posted by Reader, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Apr 4, 2016 at 7:27 am

Tell us more about the drone.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Apr 4, 2016 at 8:35 pm

The drone waa weird. Has anyone had that happen to them at Martins Beach? It flew right up to us twice and hovered, looking. On the beach, not the road.

Posted by Common sense, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

Those things with their cameras, nosily peering down at people (on beaches or in their back yards), and making no effort to civilly identify who's on the other end, are an annoying nuisance, asking to be dealt with roughly, and people are increasingly doing so.

The countermeasures so far range from the very direct Web Link

to the improvised (thrown T-shirt) Web Link

to the elegant (Netherlands police training eagles to dispose of drones): Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:19 am

Oh my lordy Common sense. What great links! I never thought about throwing something at it. Would we go to jail? Then I finally found the reason to want a gun.

Posted by iSpy, a resident of Green Acres,
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Hahahaha. The drone. Probably Khosla's security team. Or the Sea-IA...haha... get it....lol......

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Boo iSpy! SEA IA. Nice one!

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm

More on the drone from a member of the Friends of Martins Beach Facebook group: "Yes I was told it was a resident. I have been a resident, but found this a violation of my privacy. Maybe we should do it to the culprit resident? No Bueno."

Posted by Smelt Netter, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Mar 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Nobody has the right to keep people from enjoying a place to remember those who drown there. Many lost their lives there . Everyone has a right to give there thoughts to those they lost in the water off martin's beach.

Somebody needs to stick an arrow in this Indian Baboo !

Posted by Tom Kirvin, a resident of another community,
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:52 am

The cabins and vehicle roads at Martin's Beach were constructed by the Watt family. They leased the land from the Deeny family and maintained the beach and the cabins until the 1990s.

Posted by Judy (Maher) Allen, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School,
on Aug 29, 2017 at 10:00 am

The cabin my Grandparents owned, they bought from Al "Pop" Meyers. He built the cabin in the 30's..he was a brick layer who moved to the area from St. Louis, in the late 20's. He did not want his estranged son to inherit the "cabin", so, he sold it to my Grandpa for a $1.00 which was the amount of the paper work. the "cabin" remained in our family for the next 20 yrs. We spent many many weekends and summer vacations there. I remember in the 40's during Blackout's my brother and I played under the table covered with blankets, and we had flashlights. the windows were covered with blackout curtains. It is so wrong to keep people away from this place we all grew up. Our footprints are in that sand, and no waves will ever wash that away. To all of us who own these memories, hang tough, and hopefully we will be able to take our children and grandchildren to enjoy this jewel by the sea.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Aug 31, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Judy (Maher) Allen, so glad you wrote in. Why were your grandparents hanging on the coast at the time? And Tell us more about the "blackouts.'

Tom Kirvin, tell us more about the Watt family please.

There's been a win for the People vs Darth Vader recently. Martin's Beach will liveon for us all!

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