My birthday was in June and I love my birthday. Actually, I love anyone’s birthday. I love celebrating and I love presents. And not that I need it, but it is a great excuse to yuck it up a bit more than usual. Woo hoo! 🎉🎊🎁🍾 Just before my birthday, we were in northern California for my nephew’s high school graduation (😩 where does the time go?) and decided to extend that trip into the weekend and celebrate my birthday oyster style! My husband and I both love oysters, and coincidentally, we oystered it up for my husband’s birthday last month, too! Only an hour and a half or so north of San Francisco is West Marin, our destination for my birthday weekend. Heaven on Earth.
This is where it is. North of San Francisco, and west of Napa.
We headed up on a Friday, late morning, and first stopped at Nick’s Cove. You can stay here, too, and it’s dog friendly!
At Nick’s Cove, pets are part of the family. We make sure that every traveler – even your pet – always feels right at home. That’s why our pastry chef bakes our own signature healthy dog-treats direct from our kitchen, and it’s why we leave plenty of water bowls around for thirsty animals. You’ll find dog towels in our pet-friendly cottages, and our concierge is always happy to help guide you on pet-friendly walks and other services.
As you can see, they have an incredible Bloody Mary…Charbay vodka, tomato juice, Nick’s Secret Spice Blend (can we buy this?!) and a pickled bean. For $3 more, you can add “charcuterie,” meaning Prosciutto di Parma, Point Reyes toma (cheese), Point Reyes blue cheese stuffed olive, cornichon and pepperoncini. OH YES PLEASE I’LL TAKE TWO.
And then there’s the oysters. And the mac n’ cheese. Oh yes, yes, YES! And…there’s also the view…
Hazel loved it, too.
They have a little dock with a “boat shack” at the end. You can eat in there…so cute! You can pick up a phone in here and call in your order (to the restaurant at the end of the dock)!
If it is cold, maybe you want to be inside…at the bar.
Ever wanted to see an example of heaven on Earth? Here. This is it. The minute we walked in the the door of Yvetot, I was already wanting to come back. The house itself it fantastic. Windows all over the place so that you never miss out on the stunning scenery that surrounds, radiant heating, outdoor shower, hot tub, incredibly well-stocked kitchen, super comfy bed and gracious, friendly hosts. It is completely relaxing, cozy, beautiful and all of the amenities make you feel really spoiled. It is located in Inverness, which is tranquil and so beautiful that you feel immediately captivated. We couldn’t bare to leave once we arrived, so we made dinner “at home” that night. This was our view from the deck…not sure I’ve ever enjoyed watching fog roll in as much as we did here.
Next day, after an incredible sleep, we headed to Tomales Bay Oyster Company. If you are a true oyster fan, you will not skip this place.
It is not a restaurant…it is a place to buy oysters right out of the water. If you want, you can shuck them yourself right there. Find a place to sit and enjoy.
Next, we took Hazel to Dillon Beach. This is a dog-friendly beach that is very clean and full of friendly dogs and friendly people.
The “parking” charge is a hefty $10, but we were happy to pay it so that Hazel had a chance to run around and burn off some steam before our lunch at Hog Island Oyster.
Our first Hog Island Oyster experience was in Napa at Oxbow Public Market. Their oyster bar serves fresh shellfish direct from this farm, on Tomales Bay.
The “Boat Oyster Bar” is their outdoor cafe, if you will, at Hog Island Oyster Farm. All the seating is outdoors at communal (shared) picnic tables right on Tomales Bay. They serve raw & BBQ oysters, local cheese, charcuterie, salads and house seafood specials. And bubbly. It is pretty special.
Since we were heading home the next day (Sunday), we wanted to make the most of Saturday, so after oysters, we headed to Heidrun Meadery.
Have you heard of mead? I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but the only reason I’ve heard of it is because of a video game I sometimes play. 😜 In that game, they drink a lot of mead. It may actually be the oldest alcoholic beverage on Earth! The Vikings fortified themselves with mead as they crossed the oceans (allegedly). It is fermented with only three ingredients (honey, yeast and water) and is created by fermenting honey (as opposed to wine, which is made from fermented fruit). Mead was also known as “nectar of the gods” by ancient Greeks, as they believed it was dew sent from the heavens and then collected by bees. Several European cultures considered bees to be the gods’ messengers, therefore mead was associated with immortality and other magical powers. Have you read Beowulf (hello…8th Grade?!), Canterbury Tales or J.R.R. Tolkien? Hi. Mead is in there.
But this is really all you need to know about mead…IT IS DELICIOUS. Heidrun Meadery is charming and their mead is a pure delight. Their mead is made in a traditional Champagne-style and it’s, light, dry, delicate and very refreshing. Next, we headed to Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods.
Tomales Bay Foods is in the extremely little town of Point Reyes Station in a former hay barn and Cowgirl Creamery is inside. Tell the (real) cheesemongers what you want and they will help you find, taste and pair fantastic cheeses from America and Europe. They also have a take-away deli featuring local breads, wines, sandwiches and salads. We got some cheese and enjoyed it outside in their shaded picnic area. If you are interested, West Marin Food & Farm Tours can organize a cheese tour (or oyster or…) . I think we will do this next time. “Flavors of West Marin” looks like it’s right up my alley!
After all this action, it was time to head back to our place in heaven, Yvetot, and take a little nap. Then, get ready for dinner, of course! At the recommendation of our VRBO hosts, we ate at Saltwater. It was just down the way from our place and is a lovely neighborhood oyster bar and restaurant. They are deeply vested in
“…sustainably managed farmlands, shellfish producing water bottoms and folks that are engaged in the thoughtful gathering of food…We shuck oysters moments after they have left the bay and welcome local fisherman to bring their catch to our kitchen door.”
Sir and Star looked interesting, but we didn’t want to drive that far…with all the good wine, you know…
It was very hard to leave this place on Sunday morning. There is a serenity and incredible beauty in this area that took hold of us while we were there. Leaving felt difficult and still dreaming of this beautiful part of our state, we are longing to go back.
- Nick’s Cove
- Tomales Bay Foods (Cowgirl Creamery)
- Tomales Bay Oyster Company
- Hog Island Oyster
- Tony’s Seafood (just opened by the Hog Island crew!)
- The Marshall Store
- Sir and Star