Last week we told you about our trip to Northern California. We shared information with you about Stinson Beach and Muir Woods. This week we are going to tell you about what we encountered as we traveled further up the coast.
At first Rhonda was a little freaked out that there was not a Target nearby, but within a day we had settled into the quietness of the little beach town of Stinson. As we mentioned last week we spent some time walking the beach. If you follow us on Instagram you saw lots of fun pics we took on our walks.
The third day we drove north up Highway 1. We weren’t quite sure where we were going, we just took some advice from friends and locals and set out on an adventure. The first little town we encountered was Point Reyes. Point Reyes is a cute little town with an adorable farmers’ market. Their claim to fame? Apparently Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles visited the farmers’ market years ago for an organic farming festival. They are quite proud of their prestigious visitors and have photos of them displayed in various shops and in the center of the town.
After leaving the farmers’ market, we stopped at Point Reyes’ Vineyards. This vineyard is not like the picturesque vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. In fact it is next to an organic dairy farm. However, the ladies helping us in the tasting room were knowledgeable, friendly, and fun. We enjoyed spending time talking with them and tasting their outstanding wine. They gave us excellent recommendations on where to have lunch. We stopped at the vineyard to satisfy our curiosity and left with two bottles of wine — a sparkling and a dessert wine. If you are in the area and you like wine, this is a must!
We traveled further north in search of some restaurants that were on the coast and known for their great oysters. First stop was Hog Island. Apparently you don’t really go to the island, but you can see it from the restaurant. If you go, you need to have reservations — which we did not. We could have waited for 20 minutes to stand at a bar with a lot of other people and eat our oysters. We chose to head down the road to the next establishment.
That is when we came upon Nick’s. Nick’s was recommended to us by our friends at Point Reyes’ Vineyard, and a fine recommendation it was. This cute little restaurant had an area to eat inside with a minimal wait. You could also eat outside on the dock or down in the boat house. The boat house was a great place to sit and have a cocktail and feel the breeze come in off the bay. The boat house had a old piano and a few tables for a relaxed dining experience. The ambiance at Nick’s was great, but the food was terrific. By the point that we arrived at Nick’s and got seated at a table, we were a hungry crew. We probably ordered one of everything off the menu. Rhonda had the Bar-B-Que oysters– which were a hit. Craig had the fish tacos and ceviche. We had a few Templeton Rye cocktails and left with full bellies. We highly recommend Nick’s if you are in the area. Relaxed, fun, and friendly.
The next day we headed into San Francisco to spend some time with our friend Mike. It was a very laid back relaxing trip away from the hustle and bustle — not touristy at all.
If you go, here are some things to know. Pack layers of clothing. The mornings were a little brisk, but by the afternoons the sun was out and the air warmed up. No wonder people love to live in California — the weather is incredible compared to hot Texas weather.
Stinson Beach has lots of great beach houses to rent through VRBO or AirBnB. We stayed in a house that was on the beach side. We were not right on the beach, but within a two minute walk. There are also houses on the lagoon side which looked very peaceful.
Stinson Beach has only a small grocery store and may not carry everything you need. It was great for small incidentals, but if there are specific ingredients or brands you want, purchase your groceries before leaving the San Francisco Area.
Stinson Beach has a couple small restaurants which are crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. However, some of the small towns north of Stinson also have restaurants.
The drive from San Francisco to Stinson Beach is on a two-lane windy road. Brace yourself if you have motion sickness. There is a route through the mountains and a route along the coast. Both have beautiful views, but if you are like Rhonda, ten minutes into the drive you are feeling so bad, you could care less about the view. Take precautions!
Have you traveled up the Northern California coast? If you have we’d love to hear about your experience.