Posted May 26, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Point Reyes National Seashore may be a mere hop, skip, and less-than-an-hour car ride from San Francisco, but it's worlds away from the bright lights of the city. Visitors find a nature-oriented escape carved between the endless Pacific Ocean and rugged wildlife. Food comes freshly plucked from the ground or water, and guests are welcome to shuck their own oysters.
Hog Island Oyster Company: At Hog Island Oysters, you can have your oyster, and shuck it too. At the farm, guests learn about aquaculture, order fresh-from-the-sea oysters, and enjoy a picnic by the water. Picnic area fees are $8 per person on weekends, $10 without as available (weekend reservations are highly recommended), and $5 on weekdays. The price includes BBQ access, lemon, sauces, shucking tools, and a shucking lesson for newbies. So, pack a picnic, grab a bottle of wine, and come taste the freshest oysters on the market opened with your own two hands.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse: Touted as the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place in North America, Point Reyes is a prime destination for a lighthouse. And visitors can tour for free this beacon of hope that has guided mariners for more than 100 years. Just be prepared to climb down 308 steps to the ledge where the lighthouse sits to see the lens room. The stairway and visitor's center is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, but closes if winds exceed 40 m.p.h. On bad weather days, guests can still peruse other historical artifacts such as a lightkeeper's journal and photos in the visitor's center.
Bear Valley Inn at Point Reyes National Seashore: Continue your coastal escape with a stay at Bear Valley Inn. Each room is inspired by the outdoors. For example, the Tides Room features blue sea tones. In the morning, you're greeted with a hearty breakfast, made with only fresh and local ingredients like eggs from the inn's own chickens. Rates start at $120 per night, and include breakfast. A 15-percent discount is available for those who bike to the inn.
(Photo: Rafael Ramirez Lee)