10 Off-Radar Finds Along the Pacific Coast
Over-water cabins, lighthouse hostels, tiny island distilleries — these laid-back spots dot the west coast from southern California all the way up to British Columbia and just might inspire a quick weekend trip.
1. Crystal Pier Hotel, San Diego, CA: Ripe for a breezy girlfriend getaway or a lovebird weekend away, this collection of historic Cape Cod-style cottages sits on San Diego’s retro Crystal Pier. Each one comes with its own kitchenette (convenient for breakfast and lunch prep on the cheap) and private deck (nicely outfitted with chaise longues and an umbrella-shaded table). (Photo via Crystal Pier Hotel)
Bonus points: Nearby Baked Bear is famous for their custom ice-cream sandwiches (seriously a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that concept). First, you choose your top and bottom — mixing or matching from a selection of cookies, brownies and donuts — then you pick your ice-cream flavor (”Bear Batter” is the play), and finally, select your toppings, which could be Oreo crumbs or hot fudge.
2. Malibu Farm, Malibu, CA: This farm-to-fork concept has a pair of locations: a sit-down restaurant at the beginning of the Malibu Pier and a counter-service cafe at the end of it. The menu is similar at both — sink-your-teeth-in breakfast burritos, all-organic salads, luscious grass-fed burgers — but the cafe does have outside seating right on the pier under strung lights, which gives it the edge. It’s a magical place at dusk on weekends when it stays open a little later. (Photo via Malibu Farm)
Bonus points: Hiker-ready Backbone Trail, which winds for 67 miles from Malibu to Pacific Palisades and has been under construction since the ’60s, just opened in June.
3. Olivas Adobe, Ventura, CA: Only a stone’s throw from the bars, boats and seafood joints of the Ventura Harbor, this 1800s hacienda feels like a throwback, a place where Old California lingers, trapped in some kind of time warp. Thick adobe walls cool down an interior filled with period furniture, and the surrounding grounds hold a rose garden, fountains and an impressive number of cacti. Wandering the grounds is free, while tours of the house go for $5. (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: On Saturday evenings in summer, Olivas hosts a Music Under the Stars concert series featuring an eclectic lineup that spans from classic rock tribute bands to salsa to zydeco.
4. Nepenthe, Big Sur, CA: On a sunny day, an hours-long lunch at one of Nepenthe’s alfresco tables is one of life’s purest pleasures. The restaurant is a classic — serving since the 1940s — and the view and vibe are so good you won’t at all mind the inevitable weekend wait (not to mention that you can order a drink and chill out on floor pillows while you do). A chimichurri-doused rib eye and pan-seared tuna make an appearance on the surf-and-turf-heavy menu, but the most famous dish of all is the ambrosia burger, named for a “secret” sauce that’s a spicy-creamy mix of mayo, tomato sauce and salsa. (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: Just down the road, you’ll find the Henry Miller Library in a tree-shaded cabin once belonging to Emil White, a longtime pal of Miller’s who himself resided in Big Sur for 18 years. In keeping with the artistic leanings of its former owner and his devil-may-care tribe of creatives, it’s now a cultural hub, bookshop and venue with an outdoor stage where bands play on summer evenings.
5. HI Point Montara Lighthouse, Half Moon Bay, CA: A lighthouse-turned-hostel with nothing between you and the big blue Pacific. What more do you need to know? That you can spend the night in an 1875 lighthouse station? That there are both shared and private rooms? That the sound of the ocean crashing will lull you to sleep? That whale and dolphin sightings are frequent? The lighthouse is a quick drive from SFO, but even if you’re from the area, a staycation is in order. (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: An outing to the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail is a must. The easy-going hike (walk, really) winds past pocket beaches and fantastical artists’ studios that look straight out of Hobbiton.
6. Nick’s Cove, Marshall, CA: First the welcome: Other hotels give you a bottle of water (if you’re lucky), but Nick’s lays it on with cocktails and a platter of barbecue oysters. Next, the rooms (ahem, try stand-alone cabins): There are 12, with five out over the water, and all with a rustic-chic charm that’ll have you kicking back on your porch with sandy toes and a cold beer one minute and soaking in your huge copper tub the next. And, finally, the restaurant: It’s a charismatic community hub that feels like a cross between salty-dog dive and hunting lodge, only the food’s superb. Go late, after the crowds clear out, go for a window seat and go easy on the oysters (there are many in your future). (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: Stop by the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, grab a bag of oysters and take them down the coast about half a mile to Millerton Point beach, which will be far less busy. Of course, this means you need oyster-shucking accoutrements and fixings on hand. Bring them with you, grab them while you’re at Tomales Bay or pop into The Marshall Store before you hit Tomales. Your mission for the day: Shuck, slurp, sunbathe. Repeat.
7. Bandon Beach, Bandon, OR: With those offshore rock formations, Bandon is less known but equally as striking as its more famous north-Oregon cousin Cannon Beach, which played backdrop to goofballs and vamps in The Goonies and Twilight. Hit the beach early in the morning when it will be blissfully deserted (save perhaps one early-rising dog owner and pooch), then commandeer an outside table for fresh crab and smoked fish at Tony’s or Bandon Bait & Tackle, both tackle shops doing a bang-up job with their seafood-shack side gigs. (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: You can rent the 1905 cobbler-built River House for a one-of-a-kind stay in a lofty, historic space right on the river.
8. Heceta Head Lighthouse Keepers House, OR: With panoramic vistas of the Pacific, the working 1894 Heceta Head Lighthouse is perched cliffside near the pint-size town of Yachats. To say the lighthouse gets its picture taken frequently is an understatement; the pop of red and white against an evergreen background is essentially the paint-by-numbers version of a stunning photo. Point, shoot, score. (Photo via Spot.com)
Bonus points: While many people come for a couple hours — tops — most don’t realize that you can actually overnight in the lighthouse keeper’s home, a Queen Anne-style beauty flanked with covered porch (pictured).
9. San Juan Island Distillery, San Juan Island, WA: You’ll find this charming family-owned distillery a couple hours north of Seattle on postcard-ready San Juan Island. On Saturdays, its ciders, gins, brandies and liqueurs, produced French-style in a large copper still, can be sampled in a lovely little on-site tasting room. In keeping with the very PNW all-things-local maxim, apples from a neighboring orchard are the base of most of its liquors, and island botanicals like wild roses and blackberries flavor limited releases. (Photo via San Juan Island Distillery)
Bonus points: While on the island, drop by Pelindaba Lavender Farm, where 25 dizzyingly fragrant acres of organic lavender fields and a lakefront location make for a magical place to wander.
10. Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, B.C.: You come to this hotel for the storm-watching: Viewing the waves, winds and rain through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the inn’s luxe lobby, hot toddy in hand, made it famous. But when skies are clear, the hotel’s Ancient Cedars Spa, oriented to the open Pacific, has the kind of views you write home about — or at least post on Instagram. This is the spa for the not-a-spa-person crowd, where the Cedar Escape Treatment, a rub-down with organic sea salt followed by an aromatic massage, gives new meaning to the term “come undone.” (Photo via Wickaninnish Inn)
Bonus points: The town of Tofino, a short jaunt north, holds a handful of sweet artisan shops, the kind that are curated to a T and bonkers for all things small-batch and handmade. Habit is a goodie, selling an imaginative ensemble of coastal-cool clothing and local jewelry.
What coastal trips are on your travel list? Tweet us @BritandCo!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com