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Everywhere else on this six-week voyage, we’ll stay in vacation rentals equipped with kitchens; tonight, it’s a bed-and-breakfast at land’s end. And that is, in fact, what it’s called. Land’s End is, with the exception of a shuttered nearby restaurant, the southernmost thing in this most southern of towns. The address gives it away: “end of State Highway 1.” Right in front of the B&B is a sign pointing to a myriad of far-flung destinations – from here, just about everything is far-flung – and from just about any window one can see the regular flow of visitors queuing to take a picture of this sign.

The B&B also hosts a restaurant, which is closed to the public for the night, but open to guests. It’s ultra-casual, but we’re not in the mood for anything else at the moment, and the food is as comforting as one could ever want after a chilly, rain-soaked afternoon. Soon enough, our chill disappears, replaced by the warm glow of food, drink, and hearth. We start our meal by sharing a tremendously oversized bowl of green-lipped mussels in the usual lemongrass-infused broth – the size of these mussels, each shell bigger than my hand, is difficult to comprehend, and the bowl features about forty of them – and follow it with a rich, Manuka honey-sweetened, slow-cooked venison stew. There’s even a short wine list.

The interior of our room is cozy, with quaint but nicely-modernized features and an ocean view on two sides. It is, frankly, a good deal nicer than we’d predicted, and we expect to have a restful night.

Breakfast traditional English...though with a few local additions, like kiwifruit juice. The food is pretty good, but the coffee is – gasp! – a little thin. (2/05)


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