Insider's Guide to Point Reyes and West Marin County
The owners of Wee Housie, a rustic rental in Inverness, California, have contributed an insider's guide to Point Reyes and West Marin County that's chockfull of great tips on where to eat, hike, explore, and relax. Check it out!
West Marin County is regarded as one of California's best kept secrets. Although it is home to two major national parks (the Point Reyes National Seashore as well as Tomales Bay State Park), it remains relatively unknown to the 8 million plus residents of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Even though Point Reyes feels like it's miles away from the hubbub of the 21st century, wine country (Napa and Sonam), as well as San Francisco, are all within a 1.5 hour drive of the area. It has drawn international recognition for its culture of slow food and sustainable farming–Prince Charles made a point of visiting farms and local producers in the area in search of inspiration for his organic efforts in Cornwall, UK. Additionally, the beaches and open spaces of Point Reyes are unparalleled on the California coast.
Despite West Marin's trendsetting ways, the old village of Inverness, in the heart of the Point Reyes peninsula, retains the rustic charm of turn of the century California while benefitting from all the area has to offer in 2012. Let's take a tour.
West Marin is a mecca for organic produce, milk, meat, and cheese. Here are our suggestions for where to dine, snack, and drink while around Wee Housie.
The Blackbird Cafe and the brand new Saltwater Oyster Bar are great choices. Have drinks (instead of a meal) at Vladimir's, the landmark Czech restaurant. For take out, check out Perry's Deli for fantastic sandwiches perfect for the hiker, biker, or beachgoer. The little Inverness market has all the essentials.
In Point Reyes Station:
For sit down dining, check out Osteria Stellina, Marin Sun Farms, the Station House, and the Fork at Point Reyes (a seasonal pop up dining and cheese making class; check the website for when it's next due to appear). For take out, the Bovine Bakery and Cowgirl Creamery are not to be missed. Have coffee a Toby's Feed Barn where there are often events such as yoga classes and concerts, plus a seasonal farmer's market on Saturday mornings.
Further Afield: Bivalve lovers have lots of options in the area. Drakes Beach Oysters is set on a gorgeous beach while Hog Island Oysters (in the town of Marshall) is a great place to picnic and BBQ oysters while enjoying the view across Tomales Bay to Inverness. Not an oyster fan? Check out Nicasio Valley Cheese Company in Nicasio and Rouge et Noir Cheese in Point Reyes. There's also a local meadery, Heidrun, and a vineyard in Point Reyes.
LOCAL EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Before your visit, check the schedule at the Blackbird, Toby's Feed Barn, the Dance Palace, and Point Reyes Books to see if there are any events (concerts, classes, dances, seminars) that pique your interest. There are plenty of outdoor activities available as well.
We reccommend kayak rentals at Blue Water, horse back riding at Five Brooks Stable, and fishing on Tomales Bay and Nicasio Reservoir. Just a short drive along the scenic coast is Slide Ranch, a working coastal farm with activities for kids and families.
There are literally hundreds of trails in West Marin with amazing views of the mountain, ocean, and rugged coastline, and expansive beach walks to explore. Our closest favorites are the Estero Trail, the Pierce Point Tule Elk preserve, Chimney Rock, and Drakes Beach—where Drake careened his ship centuries ago—and the sand dunes at Abbott's Lagoon. See the Point Reyes National Seashore site for details. Bayside beaches and beach walks are part of the Tomales Bay State Park and are within a 10 minute walk of Wee Housie.
Farther afield there is Mt. /div> Tamalpais and the Golden Gate National Seashore, Muir Woods, and Stinson Beach, all within 30 minutes of Wee Housie. The area are is a major flyway so bird watching draws many visitors to the area. Check out Audobon Canyon Ranch which has observational platforms for viewing egret nests, and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Seasonal whale watching is also popular. We've seen gray whales from Drake's Beach and there are great viewing sites within the Point Reyes National Seashore; no need to go out on a boat to catch the action!
PAMPERING & SHOPPING
Finally, if you're in need of some serious R&R, Inverness does not disappoint. If you're feeling adventurous, check out Osmosis Spa in Freestone. The town of Point Reyes has an array of shopping opportunities from a surf store to the Coyuchi Outlet for Organic Linens.
Antiquing in the quaint town of Petaluma, 35 minutes away via a stunning back country road, is also a popular activity for treasure hunters.
RELAXING AT HOME
We have to say, even with all of the above activities available, the best thing to do is sit on the porch of Wee Housie, listen to the birdsong and relax with a cup of tea. Or throw some oysters on the grill ands sit back with a glass of wine. In the wintertime, we love taking a long hike, coming home to stoke the fire, and kicking back with our feet up and a good book in hand. Hope to see you in Inverness very soon!
Book a stay at Wee Housie for $225 per night for 2 guests. Click here for details.