tomales, california

Tomales Bay is one of my top destinations for a quick day trip or night away outside of San Francisco. Just about 30 miles north of the city, the bay is a narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland. It's a beautiful drive up the coast, greeting you with rolling green hills dotted with many happy cows on one side and the bay on the other. Take your time getting up there and enjoying the scenery. Then make the most of your time by taking advantage of the best the area has to offer. 

Sleep... For a romantic and relaxing indulgence, stay at Nick's Cove. Nestled on a cove in Tomales Bay, Nick's Cove is a little slice of paradise along Highway 1. The rooms are each uniquely designed cabins, with some of the cottages set right on the water set on stilts over the bay. We stayed in the Fly Fisherman's Cottage and couldn't get enough of the rustic charm and wood burning fireplace. Alternatively, this Airbnb is set on a working beef ranch and is a perfect spot when you want to feel really away from it all.

Pack... Sunglasses for when the sun breaks through, a layer for when the wind blows in.

Bring home... Local cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery

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Hog Island Oyster Company - If sitting outside on the water, drinking white wine and eating fresh oysters sounds like an ideal way to spend an afternoon, then Hog Island is the place for you. If you're planning in advance try to get a reservation for the Boat Bar. Otherwise, just show up and know you'll likely have to wait for an open table. But it will be worth it. 

The Marshall Store - This small shop on the side of Highway 1 in Marshall is easy to miss this if you aren't looking. Fresh oysters and generous (and delicious) sandwiches, this is a fun spot to stop and refuel if you aren't planning to invest the time in a visit to Hog Island on this trip. Definitely order the pulled pork sandwhich. 

Nick's Cove Restaurant - Nicer meal in a low key setting, eat here when staying in one of the cabins. 

Sir and Star at the Olema - Come here for a special meal and memorable night. Housed in a re-done roadhouse on main corner in Olema, this quirky spot is one of the best meals I've had in California. The food and wine is sourced locally, and is always creative and surprising (in a good way). Saturday night is a prix-fix menu. 

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See: Hog Island Oyster Company. 

Hike in Point Reyes National Seashore. The peninsula is separated from the rest of the continental United States by the San Andreas Fault, forming Tomales Bay with a portion of the rift zone. Endless options for hiking, and spectacular views everywhere you look. 

Stop in Point Reyes Station to grab a coffee and a pastry at Bovine Bakery. I usually don't have the time (or patience) to wait in the long line, but I also highly recommend Toby's Coffee Bar across the street in Toby's Feed Barn for a cup of coffee. 

Cowgirl Creamery - They variety of local cheeses sold here is overwhelming, however the friendly staff is more than happy to explain the differences in great detail and give you tastes of anything you may be interested in sampling.