Inverness

INVERNESS

Leave Point Reyes Station behind and head west, cross The Green Bridge and follow the sign for Inverness. This is Sir Francis Drake Blvd, named for the infamous British Admiral – explorer or pirate, who may or may not have landed at Drake’s Beach. Take a left on Bear Valley Road to access the lovely Limantour Beach or the Point Reyes National Seashore Visitor Center. At the visitor center Park rangers are available to give out information about the light-house, whale-watching, Tule elk, hiking trails, conditions in the park, history, wildlife, the ranches and more.  There are books for purchase and free brochures with trail maps.

Continuing north on SFD, the first settlement is Inverness Park, founded in 1911 around a trout hatchery. Perry’s Deli has been beautifully renovated and the name changed to Inverness Park Market. Chef Ed Vigil is turning out sumptuous deli food and offers complete dinner specials, changing each night. You may enjoy your meal with a glass of wine at the adjoining Gather at the Market. Their fresh fruit smoothies are not-to-be missed.   Next door, in the fanciful driftwood covered cottage, Spirit Matters, you’ll find one of a kind gifts. Friendly Motel Inverness, exuding the rustic chalet atmosphere typical of Inverness, beckons overnight guests.

Move on now to Inverness. Along the way enjoy lovely views across Tomales Bay

of the rolling hills of the eastern ranches, green in winter months, yellow in the summer. In “Downtown Inverness” a jewel of a pocket park featuring native plants is tucked beside the parking lot for Saltwater, the Post Office and Saltwater Depot. There are picnic tables here in the pretty park and more across the way behind the Inverness Store, where you can picnic near the much photographed wreck of an old fishing boat. The general store has picnic supplies, deli sandwiches, wine and beer, ice and a terrific selection of ice cream. On sunny days you may find BBQ’d oysters.

Affable Luc Chamberland’s much praised restaurant “Saltwater” has become the heart of this tight knit community. The menu showcases oysters and a treasure trove of organic Marin products.

Vladimir’s Czech Restaurant is a cozy spot for ice cold beer in the warm and friendly old world pub and a full service restaurant providing lunch and dinners, featuring roast duckling, wienerschnitzel, Moravian cabbage rolls, kilbasa, and apple strudel, a full bar, an outdoor patio. Vladimir’s daughter Vladia is usually on hand to steer wayfarers toward local treasures. Stroll down the lane beside Vladimir’s to the charming Inverness Library and Jack Mason Museum, across from the historic Ten Inverness Way, a popular Bed and Breakfast. When the library is open, the friendly librarians are the go-to source of information and local lore. Down the road The Dancing Coyote Beach Guest Cottages offer peaceful waterfront lodging. Don’t forget Manka’s Inverness Lodge up the hill on the left on Aberdeen Way, a 1910 hunting and fishing lodge built in the Arts and Crafts style.

The lovely old St. Columbo’s Episcopal Church and Retreat House was visited by Prince Charles and Camilla in 2005. The Retreat House offers worship and meeting spaces and overnight accommodations. Further up SFD on the right is the Tomales Bay Resort, a classic Marin family resort, newly renovated. The resort has an onsite activity center offering kayaks, bikes, hikes, massages, a marina and a boat launch and a swimming pool. Continuing on, Chicken Ranch beach is hidden on the right – no signage, but cars parked along the road give a clue. This beach, with its very shallow water, is the perfect place to take the little ones and the dog and you can put in your kayak here. Where the road turns west, the ecofriendly resort, The Cottages at Point Reyes, is a delightful place to stay.

If the pounding surf of the blue Pacific is your destination, a broad, wild breath-taking panorama awaits you out in the historic ranch land area of the Point Reyes Seashore.

Here at the end of the continent visit the Lighthouse, Chimney Rock and the Tule Elk Preserve. Visit www.nps.gov/pore or phone the Bear Valley Visitor Center at (415) 464-5100 for the most up-to-date information on the Park.