Shelldance Orchid Gardens, Pacifica


shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]

Today, sharing a local treasure from here on the coastside in Pacifica, CA. I stop into Shelldance Orchid Gardens from time to time- usually while out and avoiding doing errands- it's an incredible place to wander and detach. A few weeks ago, I decided to go wander, and realizing I had my camera with me, ended up snapping some pictures.

shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]
shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]
shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]
shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]

Since 1949, the site has been established as a leading orchid grower, and for a period in the 1970s, housed a collection of almost 20,000 bromeliads that was eventually sent to the National Gardens of Singapore. Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and at the trailhead for the Sweeny Ridge region of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the greenhouses are scattered among truly spectacular views. Locally, the site and owners have a history of environmentalism, and played a strong role in protecting undeveloped land in the city for recreational use.

shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]
shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]
shelldance orchid gardens in pacifica, ca [the merchant home]

On a foggy day, the mist floats through the windows, and outdoors becomes in. One of the greenhouses is home to a meditation room, complete with ocean view. Inside, along with plants for sale, you'll find a collection of bromeliads and orchids on display, arranged among the greenhouses in a way that feels otherworldly, full of diversity and magic. (And in fact, Shelldance's co-owner provided some of the plants for Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn).  The mid-century greenhouses are clad in a cheerful teal paint, and the entire experience feels a bit like walking into the past, in the most inspirational way.

Shelldance Orchid Gardens is located at 2000 Coast Hwy, Pacifica, CA 94044.

All photos by Alexandra Sklar for The Merchant Home. Please credit and link appropriately.