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A Beautiful, Discovered But Not Yet Overrun With The Likes Of Me, Place To Visit In Northern California, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:30am

If I had posted this five years ago I’d be introducing you to a hidden gem. As it happens, the Bay Area has discovered West Marin so get here as soon as you can before luxury resorts arrive and we’ve got Napa all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my fair share of the Wine Country and more than my fair share of luxury resorts but for me it comes down to beauty, and Pt. Reyes and the surrounding area will make your eyes roll back into your head.

In a good way.

We arrived on a warm afternoon, less surprising as the climate has changed.

The Neon Rose cottage on Airbnb

We stayed in the cutest little Airbnb, the Neon Rose Cottage in Pt. Reyes. I don’t usually use the term “cute,” except for babies, but let’s make an exception.

The most extraordinary view.

Walked into town for dinner. The area was traditionally agricultural, and farms and dairies remain. With excellent fencing and green meadows to live for.

The sunset, on our return.

Next morning, traditional fog had returned,

only to lift off Tomales Bay and wisp about the hills like magic.

I could have stayed in front of our window until I fainted from Stendhal’s syndrome, but we took a hike at Pt. Reyes itself.

Unabated swooning.


I have never in my life seen so many various wildflowers so close together blooming at once. It was like living in a wildflower wedding bouquet.

To say nothing of the deer,

and the famous Pt. Reyes elephant seals lounging on the beaches below the cliffs. They look like sardines but they’re not. It’s wonderful when they lumber into the waves in pairs and swim off.

So there. The next time you come to San Francisco, take two days and head north just a little ways up the coast. You’ll not be disappointed.

Yes, I’m bossy, but my heart is pure. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

14 Responses

  1. Seconded! Excellent advice. Point Reyes was my first away destination from Palo Alto beginning circa 1988, soon after I moved back from six years in Chicago. Room One in the main building of the late, lamented Manka’s in Inverness was a favorite destination. After it was closed by a fire, I chose Nick’s Cove for a bit, but then moved on to places in Yountville, which I think has now become overpriced. When I lived in San Francisco, it was an extraordinary pleasure to take Highway 1, drive a bit past Olema (Olema itself was a destination with the Olema Hotel and Sir and Star restaurant, since closed), and suddenly have your roadway open up to broad, breathtaking coastal farmland green with barns and grazing cows scattered about. When my niece Kate was in college, she’d visit and we’d drive to Point Reyes for the day. When we’d arrive at the farmland green, we’d simultaneously exhale. In Point Reyes Station I love Point Reyes Books, the Bovine Bakery, and before both closed, the fabulous Osteria restaurant, and the picnic that could be created from the deli in the Cowgirl Creamery barn. We’d often take our picnic to the Bear Valley Vistor Center and hike to look at the dramatic evidence of the 1906 quake faultline before eating our lunch. The drives, hikes, and views are exquisite. It’s a place I have a host of happy memories. I’d love to explore it again.

    1. So you are one of the few who knew this place early! I’d been to Stinson Beach, but until we found Nick’s Cove, had never even seen Tomales Bay and didn’t know that Pt. Reyes Station existed. Nick’s Cove is now over-priced, as will happen when places near rich urban centers are beautiful. I love that vision of Highway 1 that opens up suddenly to the green hills. I also love to cross from 101 to Tomales, past Nicasio maybe, through those amazing folds and roads.

    1. It is lovely:). And there are other, more rigorous hikes nearby that I’m hoping to work up to.

    2. well thank you for the tour and it’s no doubt one of the great escapes available to tourons as well as the rest of us. I hope people remember that this land was and is forever entrusted to not only the yurok but to every trail marker along the teary trail going north through eastern Oregon all the way up the spine and into Montana and Canada specifically Alberta. My ancestors are Blackfoot and I may not be full blooded but definitely red blooded. and as a teller for the greater good of all the people I must emphasize the importance of stewardship in the manner of conservation and old fashion sustainability. Again Lisa I thank you and hope that whatever trail you find yourself on that it leads you to a path less traveled and more beautiful than the ones before . eiah con awey.

  2. Had to look up Stendhal’s syndrome! Now I completely understand. What immense views, and what adorable wildlife neighbors — I get such a sense of peace from your photos. Your joyful smile is the best part. Thank you so much for sharing this, Lisa. I hope your weekend is beautiful!

    1. people often forget that with coined medicinal terminology we leave out the very real and quite obvious spiritual connections we as well as the indigenous peoples are privy too. I believe that Lisa has come to accept it and hopefully grow within it as I have myself. Good day Jess

  3. I live very near here and know the area where you hiked well. No worries about resorts here anytime – maybe ever- the locals in west Marin don’t like change and in fact don’t really like tourists! We do contribute to the local economy there though so go figure. Lovely photos.

    1. I would LOVE to buy a ranch east of Marshall and live with my extended family in a bunch of small ADUs, you know? Lucky you to live there. I don’t blame the locals, we tourists can be extremely annoying. I’m not sure you count as a tourist any more;). Nick’s Cove purchase by a hospitality company, and concomitant hike in prices is what has me a little worried that a Ritz will snap up that 40 acres I dream of…

  4. My husband is a dedicated birdwatcher, and first came to the area you so beautifully portray in the fall of 1960, when he arrived in Berkeley as a grad student. We were last there together almost ten years ago, when we wandered the beaches and the hills – and he regularly reminded me of what it used to be like! He had joined those fighting hard in the sixties to keep the area as pristine as possible, and I’m glad to know how much has survived. A widowed friend is moving to the East Bay this fall, so we hope to have a reason to return…

    1. Oh, I hope you and he can come back. Sounds like it’s very meaningful for you, and there is still so much beauty to be found. Some not bad eating too:)

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