Saturday, November 15, 2008
There are many beautiful places on the Pacific Coast from northern to southern California. You can stop pretty much anywhere on Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), even when it veers inland a bit, and enjoy the beauty.
One particularly beautiful place is Pt. Reyes, a little ways north of San Francisco. It's a meaningful spot for Derek and me-- we didn't get officially engaged here, but Pt. Reyes is where we talked about knowing we'd be a family. We've come back every year.
Pt. Reyes is wild and wonderful. Even the historic (and still-operational) dairy ranches seem un-fenced as you pass in the car, seemingly untethered from conventional farming practices (even if they're not). You can't even smell them! Probably due to the fresh ocean breeze constantly blowing over the land.
Our family of four (with a toddler and infant) stayed at Pt. Reyes Seashore Lodge. We stayed there two years ago, too, when we just had our five month old with us. Apart from camping, this is pretty much the only option that allows children this near the Bear Valley center, which is where lots of good hiking begins.
We loved the whirlpool tub in our room, which was amply sized. Our queen bed snugly fit all four of us, though we were offered an extra bed and/or crib. Tea and coffee were almost always available, and once we were able to catch fresh baked cookies as well. The continental breakfast was better than average, and the Illy coffee is, of course, the best. Also, the Farmhouse restaurant next door is fabulous. Completely casual and perfectly delicious in that Marin way.
The only blemish to our stay was upon leaving, which is unfortunate because that's the final impression I got. The woman at the front desk kept her back to us as we departed after checking out, and could barely be bothered to offer a curt "bye" when we thanked her and said goodbye. I can't help but wonder if she was glad to see the family with the two young ones leave.
Fortunately for us, we headed a couple miles north to Pt Reyes Station and had lunch at the Cowgirl Creamery Cantina. Do not miss it if you're up this way! Pt Reyes Station is all of two or three streets, so just drive around until you find it. Then order whatever -- you won't go wrong. We had a Niman Ranch ham sandwich with Red Hawk cheese (I think), an Asian pear and persimmon salad with Pt Reyes blue cheese dressing, and a ratatouille sandwich with fromage blanc. Just gorgeous.