By Alexa Chipman March 12, 2017
At the heart of a network of hiking trails ranging through Point Reyes National Seashore, the tiny town of Inverness has a relaxed atmosphere of rustic buildings and docks overlooking the tranquil Tomales Bay. There are plenty of cabins or bed & breakfasts to stay at if you are comfortable with roughing it, such as Dancing Coyote Beach cottages that are feet from the water with a private beach.
The easiest route to Inverness is on Petaluma’s D Street—follow it through rolling green hills, over a winding pass of spectacular vistas, and a few easy turns will bring you onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard that meanders along the bay.
During the summer, head to a forest enclosed beach for a lazy swim or sunbathing. Local haunts include Heart’s Desire Beach, which is linked by short trails to a network of smaller sandy inlets to spread your blanket, or Chicken Ranch Beach, a great place to bring your kayak and paddle through the sheltered bay. Keep in mind that it is a tidal estuary, so beaches will change size during the day.
Saltwater Oyster Depot
Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness
Slide into a seat at the outdoor bar, basking in coastal breezes, or enjoy the sleek modern design of the interior with a casual, yet trendy atmosphere. It can get busy, so either reserve ahead or be ready for a brief wait on their comfortable outdoor couches with a bay view.
Breakfast is served until 11:30 a.m. with a brief pause until lunch through 3:00 p.m. with delicious filling sandwiches like the locally sourced free range chicken using poultry from Petaluma. From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. the bar menu is limited, but excellent, offering a variety of oysters, both from Tomales Bay and imported, along with a carefully curated list of accompanying recommended wines.
I went for the sparkling Lucien Albrecht Cremant D’Alsache with Hog Island Sweetwater oysters and the best bread pudding I have ever tasted. It was creamy, with caramel sauce oozing inside the cake, covered in fluffy whipped cream and edible violets. After 5:00 p.m. the menu is refreshed for dinner with soups and salads that are delectable and healthy.
Inverness may be a tiny town that barely registers on your GPS, but it can be a tranquil weekend excursion of strolling along beaches or through the woods followed by sharing an oyster tasting with loved ones.