One of the great joys of living in the Bay Area is that in one day you can travel from cityscape hipster happenings, past suburban villages and beyond, towards vineyards on lush farmlands.
The day trip is a delight to the soul, takes virtually no planning, and gives the added joy and spiritual lift of feeling spontaneous. And so, with an adventurer’s spirit, my husband Mike and I jumped in the car and headed for Pt. Reyes. An easy drive from San Francisco, the path wound through sweet little Marin County towns, and landed us, as the road became more rural, in the gorgeous Marin marshlands.
At the junction of Sir Francis Drake Blvd and Hwy 1 sits Olema. We stopped and had a soda and snack at the Farm House Restaurant. For a lovely respite from urban life I recommend a stay at the Bear Valley Inn.
Moving on down the road, we took the left fork along Tomales Bay towards Inverness. Mike and I grew nostalgic recalling our early days of marriage when we stayed at Manka’s, before the devastating fire and transformation to a swank pricey hotel.
Inverness Lodge has a great porch to sip drinks and watch the day go by. Our preferred hotel these days is the waterfront room at The Golden Hind. It’s A-frame structure and water’s edge charm is still a deal priced from $125-$195. No need to stay overnight, simply saddle up to the bar and order barbequed oysters, the restaurant’s specialty.
Just down the road is the terrific little shop Spirit Matters where Mike and I found during my quest for something amazing to do for a big “0” birthday. We bought a pair of Nepalese antique scissors and the owner looked me in the eye and said, “You should go! I’ve got just the trek for you.” She referred me to Effie Fletcher of Himalayan High Treks in San Francisco, and I ended booking a month-long solo adventure to Nepal, including climbs up 18 and 19,000 foot peaks. Praise kismet for this trip of a lifetime.
With bellies full of oysters and beer, we happily parked the car and hiked the trail from the Inverness side of Tomales Bay to the Point Reyes side. An easy, flat walk along the lower edge of the water, it’s both scenic and restful. Once in town we headed where we always head, Leakey’s Bookshop and Café. Along Hwy 1 is another favorite hangout, Pt. Reyes’ Books. We perused, we read, we let the afternoon go by with nothing more to do than enjoy the small town community ambiance.
Bovine bakery was next and it’s a never-miss spot on our Pt. Reyes itinerary. Tomales is a traditional Sunday destination for hard core Golden Gate Bridge cyclists.
The old Western Saloon serves as a great late-afternoon hang. The wood floors and weathered boards sent us reminiscing about another time, when horses stood tied up outside the front door.
After a stroll around the two-street Pt Reyes Station, have a rewarding bite or two of cheese at Tomales Bay Foods, the flagship store for Cowgirl Creamery.
We headed back across the lower bay trail with the sun setting, driving back towards home, feeling grateful for what we have right at our fingertips. We’ll definitely be back again and again.