Tomales, California is a great little coastal town, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, in Marin County. We used to take long drives through the countryside when my husband and I were first married, so I’ve driven these winding roads through forests, grasslands and over craggy outcroppings with stunning ocean views many times over the years.
It’s been over 30 years since I started the trip this way. Though I’ve been a Sonoma County resident for almost 42 years, I’ve been doing it backwards, not from South to North. Saturday it was like driving on them for the very first time. A different perspective.
Took my breath away.
Before children, a group of us young marrieds would gather together at Marshall or Nick’s Cove, and eat oysters (and yes, drink a little bit of vino) until we could barely walk. You could spend $20 on food and drink and not break the bank. Saturday’s lunch, for instance, without all the extras, came to just under $100. The cottages they rent are spectacular, and would not have been available to us starving students, but are on my TBD list for later in the year. Things have indeed changed.
But not the stunning scenery, or the beautiful little town.
I grew up in Silicon Valley when Los Altos was dusted with apricot orchards. Moving to Sonoma County felt like stepping back in time about 50 years. I’ve read stories about Jack London haunting these places, and how he used to steal oysters by moonlight. Robert Louis Stevenson and his new bride honeymooned in parts of the Valley of the Moon. Even Sir Richard Burton made a trek through these parts in 1860, the year before he returned to England to marry Isobel, in his search for the spirit of the west. Among other places, he visited Brigham Young in Salt Lake City and his 17 wives.
The remnants of bawdy roadhouses are now upscale motels and bakery/espresso cafes, perfect for a long meandering afternoon of caffeine, conversation and reading.
I’m a great fan of just getting in the car and getting lost some place. Discovering something new. In this case, re-discovering why it is I live in Northern California, and why it feeds my writer’s soul.