Thursday, September 9, 2010
Point Reyes, CA
Although it seems like three lifetimes ago, [when my mom, sister, and I were touring Northern California] one of our favorite day trips was to the coast. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean, and one of the blogs that I follow had just detailed a description of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The weather is such in Northern CA that within an hour's drive, the temperature and cloud cover can vary greatly.
From our hotel room, we planned our day. We made sure to pack lots of layers, and set off - our goals for the day: see the ocean, observe some of the 75 species of mammals, sample some famous Point Reyes oysters, visit the historic lighthouse, grab a delicious lunch at the renowned Stella Luna restaurant, and enjoy some ice cream from the award-winning Cowgirl Creamery. The results: we saw 2 mammals (and one of those was a person), the cafe where we ate lunch hadn't received their shipment of oysters, the lighthouse was closed, Stella Luna had closed 5 minutes before we arrived, and the Cowgirl Creamery was closed. It became almost laughable - and laugh we did! Even though the day didn't turn out the way we planned, it was great nevertheless.
Here are some of the sights from our adventures
Our drive was varied but breathtakingly beautiful. We passed quaint towns (more on that later) and cattle farms. Yes, we were surprised, too. The original inhabitants of this area were coastal Miwok Indians, followed by American settlers who began dairy ranches in this area - the cool and moist climate is ideal for dairy farming. After the area became a national seashore, some of the ranches continued operations - six ranches raise dairy cattle and nine ranches raise beef cattle.
One other interesting fact - the ocean here is deadly. The current is fatally strong, the water is frigidly cold, and there are "sneaker waves". Sneaker waves are unusually high and far-reaching waves that can catch visitors by surprise. There are three people missing from this stretch of coastline [in the past three months].
After our trip to the coast (and our search in vain for any wildlife), we made our way to Point Reyes Station - the cutest town on the edge of the National Parks Seashore. Even though we didn't find any famous Point Reyes oysters, we did sample some Point Reyes blue cheese (remember the dairy farms?). I'm not even kidding when I tell you that this simple salad was by far my favorite meal I enjoyed during our whole vacation.
Here are some sights from the cafe where we enjoyed our lunch and also other little stops in the town.
I can't say enough about this town, Point Reyes Station. I am usually too practical to window-shop. I don't enjoy visiting places if I have no intention of buying anything. This little town, however, had the cutest restaurants (of which the best one was closed, sigh) and stores. The sense of community was so strong - you could totally tell that everyone in the community knew and cared for one another. The proximity is close to San Francisco, but it was very reminiscent of a small town in Vermont or New Hampshire.
If you do plan a trip to Northern California or wine country - I would suggest you make the drive to the coast and stop at this town along the way - maybe you'll be lucky and find some of the things we didn't (oysters, Stella Luna, the lighthouse, some mammals, and the Cowgirl Creamery)!!