I love day trips. And a day trip led by friends that know where they’re going is a luxury! Ours friends, Don and Dee, recently took us out to explore Point Reyes National Seashore. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Sonoma County, right next door to this amazing place (in Marin County) and haven’t really explored it before!
We drove out D Street in Petaluma and ended up in a seashore wonderland filled with old barns, a charming town for shopping and even a herd of Elk!
And right across the street a wonderful general store reminiscent of days gone by.Toby’s Feed Store is a great spot for unusual and beautiful gifts. I picked up some great cookie cutters and a lovely glass Christmas ornament that looks like my favorite chicken, Lily! (I’m going back soon to get the little bird nest S&P shakers I left behind! )
We walked further along the street and found a bakery, clothing store, bookstore (oh yes!), home & garden store, hardware store and The Palace Market we they make awesome turkey sandwiches.We picked some up for a picnic at the beach…Check out the rustic decor in the Deli and see how cute the town is!
There’s more so the girls are going back for a day of shopping…we didn’t want to torture the guys too much! Next we drove on down the road to the Bear Valley Visitor Center. I certainly didn’t expect a museum rivaling Yosemite way out here in the country- but it’s great! We walked around learning about sea lions, shore birds and the local area flora and fauna. The barn at the entrance is just gorgeous!
After a nice visit there, we headed out to find my friend Dee’s favorite spot in all the world: Heart’s Desire Beach in Tomales Bay State Park. It’s a hidden gem… sandy shore, shady fern filled pathways, shallow water perfect for child’s play and a nice clean restroom (OK I just had to add that…it was a plus!)
The most exciting part for me was discovering mushrooms growing all over the place. I’ve been hunting a red mushroom to photograph for years! Here we found red and yellow mushrooms nestled in the forest floor…such a fun find!
After the excitement of stalking the perfect mushroom we drove a little further and visited the Historic Pierce Point Ranch. Built in 1858 this premium dairy had it’s own school, black smith shop and general store. It stands today deserted, but clean and white,and feeling as though the people just left. A nice glance back into history.
While driving to the ranch, and while there, we spotted Elk grazing on the hillside a little out of camera range. No problem for our friend Don! He drove us up above the herd and then showed me how to creep quietly down the hillside to come out just above them. It was so exciting! And, we got some photos of this guy and his harem..
Next we headed to Inverness and I spotted an old boat I’d seen in several photos and couldn’t wait to photograph myself. I don’t know how long the “Point Reyes” has been stuck there but I bet it has a story to tell…
I really had to drag myself away. It was just so beautiful there. But, we’d been exploring since early morning with only a quick picnic for lunch so we all agreed dinner was a good idea. Fish and chips seemed the perfect way to end a day exploring the seashore!
Point Reyes National Seashore is within driving distance of San Francisco or, where we began our journey, Santa Rosa in the North Bay Area, for a delightful day trip! Before you go check out information here on the Park and surrounding area as well as here for the West Marin Chamber of Commerce. Fall is a great time of year to visit seashore…enjoy!
One last shot….of a happy couple coming down the pier at Nick’s Cove…charming right?!
All photos copyright www.donnajonesphotography.com