March 22, 2013
Highway 1 slows to a leisurely pace as it passes through the town of Point Reyes Station, on the border of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The West Marin town was once a stop for the North Pacific Coast Railroad and dates back to the late 1800s. Storefronts line the main street offering at least one of everything: bakery, restaurant, saloon, feed store and produce market, horse supplies and local artisans. Follow the rolling hills to one of many nearby hikes or beaches.
Bovine Bakery (11315 Highway 1)
Mornings are lively as bicyclists, travelers and locals wait for handmade pastries and pizza. For over 20 years the bakery has served organic and local baked goods at its Point Reyes location, and more recently opened a shop in Petaluma. Window seating offers a leisurely morning of sipping coffee and watching the town amble by.
Point Reyes Books (11315 Highway 1)
Stop in to pick up a guidebook about hiking, the history of Point Reyes or a novel to read on the beach. This local bookstore hosts authors, artists, and workshops that bring in the community and visitors.
Toby’s Feed Barn (11251 Highway 1) The general store on Main Street has been family owned and operated since 1976. Toby Giacomini started operating in 1942 transporting local dairy products which grew into a business that has spanned three generations. The store carries produce, gifts, feed, and grain and houses a café, yoga studio and art gallery.
Windsong Cottage Guest Yurt (25 McDonald Ln)
The Windsong Cottage Guest Yurt is on the edge of Point Reyes Station overlooking the national park. Choose from a cottage or round yurt with skylight, each offering private accommodation, kitchen, wood burning stove and a hot tub for star gazing.
Station House Café (11180 Highway 1) At the Station House the seafood is always local (when in season), the food organic and the meat grass-fed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served six days a week (closed Wednesdays) and there is an outdoor patio for sunny days. Reservations are recommended.
Old Western Saloon (11201 Highway 1) A watering hole of the best kind, this saloon which opened in 1890 has only gained charm over the years. There are pool tables, a fireplace, live music on weekends, and a dancefloor for the adventurous. The saloon once housed a brothel and speakeasy and has a hidden staircase to prove it. Photos above the bar proudly display a visit in 2005 by U.K.’s Prince Charles and wife, Camilla, while on a tour of local organic agriculture.
Point Reyes National Seashore
The beginning of spring kicks off wildflower season and the gray whale migration north past the rocky bluffs and sandy beaches of the park. Activities year round include horseback riding, hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. Ranger guided programs include a Coast Miwok history and culture tour and an earthquake walk along the San Andreas Fault. Check the NPS website for further details.
*During peak weekend days, bus service is provided and roads closed to the lighthouse and Chimney Rock. Call ahead to the Bear Valley Information Center for up-to-date information.
Point Reyes Lighthouse
The lighthouse is one of the most popular stops in the park. Over 302 stairs lead down the side of the headlands to the windiest place on the Pacific Coast (it is recommended to wear layers). From 1870 to 1975 lighthouse keepers worked around the clock to keep the light going for mariners. Now fully automated, the lighthouse is a museum and park rangers are on hand to answer questions.
Chimney Rock Trail (2.5 km / 1.6 mi)
This hike offers a wide variety of wildflowers in the spring as well as views of Drakes Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Tule Elk Reserve and McClures Beach
At the most Northern point of Point Reyes National Seashore is Tomales Point and a free range population of tule elk. Within the reserve is McClures Beach which offers a short hike past a stream and California poppies to an often empty beach.
Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.