Hi folks, are you ready for another road trip inspiration? Whether you are a local or just visiting the Bay Area I think you will like this one. The big crowd mostly drives the Highway One south and true, it’s more than beautiful. All the beachy towns – Carmel, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, LA and Laguna Beach are what most people think of when they have California on their mind, but driving the Highway One north is likewise beautiful and maybe even more relaxing. Less people and more pristine nature – that’s how I like it. It’s where Pacific meets endless windy Highway One. It’s where you can get a bag full of oysters and enjoy them with your friends till sunset and it’s where one of best American cheese is made. We started our trip on Saturday morning, around 10am, we drove over the always magic Golden Gate Bridge following the sign to Stinson Beach. If you have never been north of San Francisco I highly recommend have a day trip to Sausalito or Stinson Beach. This time we skipped these two as we have been there more than just few times.
Back on Highway One our first stop was Bolinas. If you are looking for road signs to Bolinas you won’t find them, but Google Maps or any other map can guide you to this really small, cute, sleepy town on the Bolinas Lagoon. There is nothing adventurous happening there, but it’s definitely worth a stroll around the town to the beach and back. And it’s so super quiet. I have never been in a such quite town.
You remember, there are not road signs to Bolinas. No road signs = less tourists. And why Bolinas’ residents are not so into tourists you can read in this New York Times article. However I would stop again at least to grab some fresh products from the Gospel Flat Farm Stand. This farm stand works with the honor system, you weight, you pay and I can tell you their fresh eggs have crazy rich yellow yolks.
From Bolinas we drove all the way up to Bodega Bay, leaving Tomales Bay and the Oyster Farms for later. It’s about 42 min drive trough Point Reyes National Seashore Park, passing grassland, farms and mini road towns. Bodega Bay has a couple of cute motels to stay over the weekend and enjoy the nature while hiking, kayaking or other outdoor activities. And yep, Bodega Bay is where Hitchcock let The Birds fly. But no worries, it’s not scary at all. We grabbed some fish & chips from The Boat House and had a short walk at the nearby Doran Beach. I should definitely do more walks after the lunch – usually I tend to fell asleep even if I only had a kale salad.
BOAT SHACK AT NICK’S COVE
So time to hit the road back home, but first we have some more stops. Yep, for all you oyster lovers this part of the trip will be the heaven. Since I have seen this picnic feature in Daily Candy I always wanted to visit the Boat Shack at Nick’s Cove. This small house on the water belongs to Nick’s Cove restaurant, but is accessible to the public. Everyone can have a walk and look inside. This place really has everything to be perfect picnic location. You can sit outside if the weather is nice or you can cozy up inside with fireplace. I already seeing our San Francisco Picnic Society making an excursion to the Boat Shack.
Also if you are planning to stay over the weekend there are some super cute cottages. Maybe a little bit pricey, but for one night it’s ok to spoil yourself.
Here we go! Tomales Bay and the oyster farms. This is my favorite part of this trip. Even if I have to admit that I’m not crazy about raw oysters, but I love spending time there. Nature, rustic environment, delicious local food, good company and nothing too fancy is what I really enjoy. These three farms are where I have already been and that I can recommend.
Tomales Bay Oyster Company – the biggest one, most tables, no reservation needed if you are less than 10 people, you can bring your own food, except oysters & clams, and have a picnic. Check out their guidelines here. | 15479 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, CA 94940 The Marshall Store – they are placed just next to the highway one, the tables are basically on the parking lot but I love that, you are looking directly on the bay with small boats floating. Oh so dreamy. And if you are not feeling like cracking oysters by yourself they also offer other delicious food on their menu. Plus according to their web site they have been voted one of 30 best sea food restaurants in the USA. | 19225 State Road 1, Marshall, CA 94940
Hog Island Oyster Company – this one is more hipper and it’s one you should definitely try out. They have some tables that require reservations ( sometimes weeks in advance) and some community tables on a first come first serve base. The Boat serves also local cheese and wine and oysters, of course. See their reservation terms here. Hog Island has also made its way into the Bay Area, so you can enjoy their delicatessen without driving far if you live in SF or Napa.
20215 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940
I always want to eat at all these places at once – that probably won’t be so smart. But where ever you stop, you won’t be disappointed. And if you might considering having a small vacation here at Tomales Bay, check out Poet’s Loft. It’s an amazing place to relax.
One more, very important, stop and we can drive back home with a pleased heart. Cowgirl Creamery – this is where one of the best cheese is made I have ever had. You have to taste it to know what I’m
talking about. They have a variety on award-winning cheese, nearly all of them are my favorites, but if I had to choose it would be the Red Hawk. Soooo good. We bought Red Hawk, Devil’s Gulch, some fresh baguette and that was our dinner at home. Can anything beat cheese and baguette?
The sun was already gone when we came out of the Cowgirl Creamery, but it was enough daylight left to have a stroll through the Point Reyes Station which is a really cute small town with old wild west buildings and some nice art galleries and shops. Don’t miss this.
That was a really great day trip, no bustle and lots of nature with some really good food along the way. Hope you guys have found some inspiration and if you have any questions or tips, please don’t hesitate leave a comment.