Sandy 77th BD at Dillon Beach 8/10 - 8/13/20

To celebrate Sandy's birthday this year of COVID-19 restrictions we wanted to "get out of Dodge" somewhare along the coast, but motels were too crowded at best. We were delighted that Bay Area Showcase Chorus friend Sharon Hohmann's cottage at Dillon Beach was available. Dillon Beach, population 282, is a tiny collection of cottages with an RV park (Lawson's Landing) at one end and a private resort at the other with a big, wide wonderful beach in between.

As might be expected, at Dillon Beach there is plenty of fog in "Fogust". Dining options were either "take-out" or outside dining where available. Our four day plan was simple: find outdoor seafood dining for lunch when there is the best chance for sun, then retreat to the house with simple fare for dinner wrapped in cool fog.

Fortunately the Marin coast is replete with seafood, cheese and various levels of dining and take-out. At the bottom of the page there is a list of our potential detinations. Here's how it all worked out.

Monday 8/10

We left Mountain View at 9:15 and headed up I-280, crossed the Golded Gate bridge in enough fog that you couldn't see the water, then found sunshine passing through Sausalito going up 101 to branch off at Lucas Valley Road. Heading past Skywalker Ranch (George Lucas' 420 acre spread that once held Industrial Light and Magic), we merged onto Nicasio Valley Road and stopped at Nicasio Cheese factory. We picked up small rounds of Foggy Morning with garlic & basil, and Locarno cheese, plus a small, locally made, hard salami.

Then on up to the coastal California highway 1 and Tony's Seafood in Marshall on the east side of Tamales Bay. Tamales Bay is known for oysters and seafood in general. Sunshine prevailed and the wind was almost calm as we sat easily socially distanced from other diners along the bayside boardwalk. Fish Tacos for Sandy, and Fish & Chips for Rick.

A short drive later we checked out The Marshall Store, similar but not as nice as Tony's with only stand-up outside dining, where we picked up a small round of Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk cheese and a big round loaf of local sourdough bread. One more stop at Nick's Cove, similar to, but just a slight cut below Tony's ambiance. Then on up Hwy 1 to tiny Tomales where your turn left onto Dillon Beach Road. We stopped to check out Diekmann's General Store - well stocked and prices reasonable for the middle of nowhere. The Bakery on the opposite corner has been replaced by pizza take-out and another small sandwich shop.

Then on to Dillon Beach and Sharon's wonderful "Wit's End" cottage -- now in fog. We opened up, made our bed and got settled, then bundled up for a windy, cool walk along the beach road. Wine & cheese with sourdough bread and sausage made for a cozy dinner. Then we settled back to read until bedtime.

Women's Sadle truck<BR>at Nicasio Cheese Co.Women's Saddle truck
at Nicasio Cheese Co.
Tony's Seafood ...Tony's Seafood ... entry station ...entry station ... take-out pickup ...take-out pickup ... happy Sandy ...happy Sandy ...
Tomales Bay view ...Tomales Bay view ... panning left ...panning left ... 24 oysters = $66 !24 oysters = $66 ! Great Fish & Chips ...Great Fish & Chips ... and Fish Tacos.and Fish Tacos.
Arrived Wit's End ...Arrived Wit's End ... front walk ...front walk ... front porch ...front porch ... path to beach ...path to beach ... front windows ...front windows ...
front door ...front door ... looking out ...looking out ... looking out ...looking out ... beach parking ...beach parking ... Dillon Beach ...Dillon Beach ...
Tomales Point ...Tomales Point ... north toward Bodega Headnorth toward Bodega Head back inside ...back inside ... living room room ... pniing right ...panning right ...
lots of bird books ...lots of bird books ... front door ...front door ... into Master bedroom ...into Master bedroom ... dresser ...dresser ... bed ...bed ...
middle bedrrom ...middle bedroom ... on to the ...on to the ... kitchen ... stove ...stove ... to back bedroom back bedroom ...
fridge (living room)fridge (living room) back bedroom ...back bedroom ... bed and ...bed and ... dresser ...dresser ... breakfast table ...breakfast table ...
back stairs to ...back stairs to ... back of garage ...back of garage ... walkway from street.walkway from street. Beach is popular ...Beach is popular ... the rocks are ...the rocks are ...
impressive.impressive. The natives ...The natives ... are friendly.are friendly. Windy walk ...Windy walk ... wearing masks!wearing masks!
Bread, cheese, salmi<br> & wine ...Bread, cheese, salami
& wine ...
make Sandy happy.make Sandy happy. Evenign waves ...Evening waves ... getting darl.getting dark. Time for Internet ...Time for Internet ...
and reading.and reading.

Tuesday 8/11 - Sandy's Birthday

Today we headed south to explore Point Reyes and the towns of Point Reyes Station at the southeast corner of Tomales Bay, and Inverness at the southwest corner. One of our favorites, Cowgirl Creamery wasn't open, but we checked out the Palace Market - which gets mixed Yelp reviews - then headed on to the Inverness Park Market. We picked up a pint of chicken salad for Sandy, and a big turkey and cheese sandwich from their well organized deli and drove on up Tomales Bay to Chicken Ranch Beach. Cool and cloudy, we spread out a beach blanket and enjoyed lunch.

Continuing north we followed Pierce Ranch Road to it's end, almost as far north on Tomales Point as Dillon on the east side of the bay. Along the way Sandy spotted a small fox, then lots of cattle on large ranches - many showing signs for Clover brand milk. The road ends at a ranch, and just to the west is a small parking lot at the trailhead for McClures Beach. A short walk along the trail convinced us that going down was rather easy, but the climb back up was another story. So after just enough hiking to see what a nice trail it was, we declared victory and retreated to the car.

We rewarded oursleves with a stop at the Palace Market to get some Humbolt Fog cheese and a french baguette for dinner, and two delicious pints of Buffalo Milk salted caramel gelato. We ate half in the car, and saved the rest for dinner. Stopping at Tony's Seafood once again, we picked up an order of their version of clam chowder - lots of clams and a small amount of broth with little else. They were also nice enough to give us a plastic bag with some ice into which we burried our remaining icream for the 25 minute drive back to Dillon Beach. It had been cloudy all day and we enjoyed our cheese, bread and chowder, then back to an evening of reading.

Yogurt & peachesYogurt & peaches Foggy morningFoggy morning No cars yetNo cars yet Still foggy ...Still foggy ... House from the fenceHouse from the fence
Pathway.Pathway. Elephant Rocks ...Elephant Rocks ... are impressive ...are impressive ... and varied.and varied. Out to Tamales Bay ...Out to Tamales Bay ...
still foggy.still foggy. Stopping at ...Stopping at ... Chicken Ranch Beach ...Chicken Ranch Beach ... Wear Masks ...Wear Masks ... Sandy says ...Sandy says ...
let's go out here ...let's go out here ... picnic time.picnic time. Great wading ...Great wading ... and paddling.and paddling. Parking at ...Parking at ...
McClures Beach.McClures Beach. Buffalo Mike Ice Cream<BR>from Palace Market.Buffalo Milk Gelato
from Palace Market.
5:00 PM fog ...5:00 PM fog ... not much wind ...not much wind ... or visibility.or visibility.
Wine & nuts at 5:15Wine & nuts at 5:15 5:45 more fog.5:45 more fog. Clam Chowder ... Clam Chowder ... and after!and after! 7:05 Clearing ...7:05 Clearing ...
point is visible ...point is visible ... some horizon ...some horizon ... even Bodega Head ...even Bodega Head ... (a bit hazy.)(a bit hazy.)

Wednesday 8/12

Today we headed north for Bodega Bay and it's seafood and scenics. Starting out with clouds, we got sunshine as we arrived at The Tides Restaurant on the shore of Bodega Harbor. Nice outside, widely spaced tables on the patio next to the harbor were perfect for our standard, fish and chips for both of us. Then on around to Bodega Head which creates the harbor for a short walk and nice views. Even three firendly deer didn't mind us taking their pictures. At the fishing docks in the harbor there are two good seafood stops, Spud Point Crab Company, and Fishermans Cove. We stopped at the latter for two orders of their award winning clam chowder.

Back at Dillon Beach by late afternoon, we expected an even foggier evening as a particularly dense bank advanced from Tomales Point. But, just before 6:00 we saw a blaze of light on the ocean several miles out. Over the next hour the fog thinned and vanished leaving a beautiful clear sky with sunset fast approaching, as you can see below.

After our wine and cheese, and later, chowder dinner, we settled in for more reading. It was after eleven thirty when we decided to call it a night, but by chance, we went out on the porch to check the weather. It was still totally clear and looking up the MIlky Way streamed away to the southwest and peering around the front porch the Big Dipper shone to the north. A million stars were everywhere. It was a beautiful moment.

Plentiful Amarillis.Plentiful Amarillis. Bodge Bay, The Tides ...Bodge Bay, The Tides ... for lunch ...for lunch ... masked servers ...masked servers ... blue sky across the bayblue sky across the bay
fishing boat. Sandy looks over ...Sandy looks over ... Bodega Bay and ...Bodega Bay and ... harbor entrance ...harbor entrance ... light traffic.light traffic.
Deer are ...Deer are ... curious.curious. Spud Point Crab Co.Spud Point Crab Co. Fisherman's Cove<BR>for clam chowder)Fisherman's Cove
for clam chowder)
Fishing fleet ...Fishing fleet ...
spelled out.spelled out. 3:14 PM panaroma ...3:14 PM panorama ... out to sea ...out to sea ... rocks, and barely, and barely ... Bodgea Head.Bodgea Head.
They when that-a-way.They went that-a-way. Wednesday's card (5:10)Wednesday's card (5:10) Clam Chowder  (5:50)Clam Chowder (5:50) Flash of light (6:04)Flash of light (6:04) Breaking through (6:43)Breaking through (6:43)
Tomalas Point side Tomalas Point side Tomales clears (6:57)Tomales clears (6:57) Amazing  (6:57)Amazing (6:57) What fog? (7:00)What fog? (7:00) Blue sky (7:00)Blue sky (7:00)
Beach photography ...Beach photography ... posing ...  (7:28)posing ... (7:28) pregnant ...pregnant ... upclose.upclose. Heading down ... (8:00)Heading down ... (8:00)
beautiful ...beautiful ... Blood redBlood red Lone walker ... (8:09)Lone walker ... (8:09) Good Bye.  (8:09)Good Bye. (8:09)

Thursday 8/13

It held clear all night and we had sunshine for our last morning. We navigated the tricky path down to the beach and walked north to the rocks at the end of the beach.

With packing, cleaning and chores done. we headed for home just before eleven. It had been a glorious getaway and a fun birthday, and we left this note in the guest book:

"What a wonderful irony that this soul-restoring place is called "Wit's End." Whether sun or fog, crashing waves or gentle swells it breeds calm and clarity. To be away from the crowds, the media and the rest of the world rejuvenates the mind, replenishes the body and inspires love. On our last full day it was partly sunny at noon, locked in fog at 5, yet it cleared to a blazing sunset at 8 and the Milky Way and a million stars shown at midnight. Thank you and your family for making this possible and available. It is truly magic. (And, I had the most wonderful 77th birthday. Sandy)"

Thursday morning ...Thursday morning ... all clear!all clear! Time for a walk ...Time for a walk ... on the beach ...on the beach ... the house from<br>the beach.the house from
the beach.
Sandy spies ...Sandy spies ... and clicks ...and clicks ... A nice rock.A nice rock. Cool outcropping.Cool outcropping. Big blob.Big blob.

Planning Resources

Marin French Creamery
7510 Pt. Reyes Petaluma Rd. Petaluma, CA 94952 (For GPS)
Phone Number: 707-762-6001; Fax Number: 707-762-0430 Email:
Open Wednesday - Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.

Nicasio cheese Company
5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio, California 94946
(415) 662-6200
Retail Hours : 7 days a week, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cowgirl Creamery
Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods
80 4th Street. Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
phone: (415) 663 9335 | fax: (415) 663-5418
Wednesday thru Sunday: 11am-4pm

Hog Island Oyster Farm
20215 Shoreline Highway,
Marshall, CA 94940
Farm: 415-663-9218
The Hog Shack retail window is open from 9 AM - 5 PM 7 days a week. Offering live, unshucked oysters, clams, mussels, shucking tools, meal kits (depending on availability) to-go.

Tony's Seafood
Open: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm Thursday - Tuesday (Closed Wednesdays)
Open for outdoor dining and food to-go (ready-to-eat meals to-go, oysters and shellfish, and cook-at-home meal kits). Reservations available Friday, Saturday + Sunday

Marshall Store
19225 State Route 1, Marshall, CA 94940
Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon 10 am - 4 pm
Carries Cowgirl Creamery Mount Tam and Red Hawk cheeses.

Nick's Cove Restaurant
23240 State Route 1, Marshall, CA 94940
Daily 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Diekmann's General Store
27005 CA-1, Tomales, CA 94971
Hours: 8 am - 8 pm Sunday - Thursday, 8 am - 9:00 pm Friday & Saturday

Palace Market
11300 State Route One, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
8AM - 9PM Daily

The Tides Restaurant
800 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(800) 541-7788 or (707) 875-2751
OPEN DAILY Breakfast: 8:00am - 11:00am, Lunch: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, Dinner: 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Spud Point Crab Company
1910 Westshore Rd., Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-9472
7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Fisherman's Cove
1850 Bay Flat Rd, Bodega Bay, Ca 94923
Tel: (707) 377- 4238
Daily: 10 AM - 6 PM Monday to Thursday, 10 AM - 7 PM Friday to Sunday, Kitchen Opens at 11 AM

From Sharon: I will say that the little bakery in Tomales (now closed) is way better than the CowGirl in Pt. Reyes, but it's only open Thursday through Sunday as well. The William Tell is open for take out and outdoor dining in Tomales and so is the little cafe at Dillon Beach. Both The Tides and Lucas' Wharf are open in Bodega Bay. (Note: Lucas Wharf COVID closed.)