I feel that the Tomales Bay region along the eclectic Highway 1 north of San Francisco is an under appreciated region of Northern California.
Located approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco, Tomales Bay is an outdoor adventurist dream. There is an abundance of wildlife, trails, fishing, and kayaking opportunities. The bay is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean keeping the waters calm most of the time, although you do want to stay away from the mouth of the bay, known as the “sand bar” as it can be treacherous. Near by also is the Point Reyes National Seashore with the likes of Pt. Reyes North Beach, Drakes Beach and Limantour Beach, all spectacular and remote beaches.
Within the Tomales Bay area, is the town of Marshall, known for its oyster production. The two largest and most popular producers are Hog Island Oyster Company and Tomales Bay Oyster Company.
What about Nick's Cove?
Nick’s Cove in Marshall is another option as its restaurant is a destination for day trips. Nick’s Cove offers some great seafood options and their clam chowder and crab mac and cheese is a must when stopping. Unlike, Hog Island and Tomales Bay Oyster Company, Nick’s is a resort.
This long standing restaurant and resort in Marin County went through a major renovation in 1999 and had to work through the myriad of environmental challenges and eventually re-opened in 2007. This venture was a “complete disaster” in a letter to investors as losses were near 5 million because of the economic instability in 2007. In 2011, Highway 1 Hospitality LLC purchased the property.
How was the stay at Nick's Cove?
Nick’s Cove offers 12 luxury cottages. Half of the units are right on the water and the other half across Highway 1. We stayed in one of the cottage back in September of this year, and it was fantastic. A full kitchen is provided if you want to cook your own meal, but we chose to eat at the restaurant. In the room, the staff at Nick’s Cove provides a number of accoutrements, little “gadgets” so to say that you can purchase. We bought the “swiss army knife” that is in the shape of a crab!
There is a pier that extends beyond the back of the restaurant. It is a beautiful walk out over the bay to what is affectionately known as “The Shack.” On a nice day you can dine on the pier or take your food to the Shack. A fire pit is provided inside the Shack where you can enjoy your meal or sit and have a glass of wine. It really is a wonderful opportunity to take some quality photos and breath in the fresh air!
So, if you get a chance, at the very least, take a day trip to the Tomales Bay region and get out and explore and when it’s time for dinner, dine at Nick’s Cove. Even better, stay a night or two but plan ahead as Nick’s Cove is highly coveted. We were fortunate to grab a cottage within two weeks of when we went, we we’re lucky and very much rewarded with the stay.