A traditional wedding has a quiet ceremony, mingling during the cocktail hour, and plated dinner during the reception. If you’re interested in infusing your wedding with a little more action, there are some ways you can accomplish this. Here are our top three favorite suggestions:
Have games during the cocktail hour and/or reception.
Outdoor games such as bean bag toss (corn hole), horseshoes, lawn bowling, giant Jenga, and bocce ball are increasingly popular. Set up a few stations to keep guests occupied while you’re having your photos taken or when they need a break from dancing.
Create a flash dance.
This can be quite a challenge, but if you are able to pull it off, can be very rewarding. Get a group together that consists of your wedding party and other close family and friends. Create a dance that is upbeat and catchy and send a video for the group to learn. Your guests will love the surprise and it will become the talk of the evening. Hey, maybe you’ll even become the next YouTube sensation.
Have a photo booth.
Hiring a professional photo booth can be really helpful because the booth attendant usually does a stellar job of encouraging guests to take pictures. You could also use the extra copies to double as your guest book. Have your friends and family attach their silly photos next to their wishes – it will always be entertaining to look through.
I hope this gives you a little inspiration for your big day. Just remember that the day is focused on celebrating your love, so stay true to that and have some fun. Happy Planning!
McClure’s Beach is the northernmost beach on the Point Reyes peninsula, so it’s not too surprising that the drive to the parking lot of the trailhead is longer than the hike to the beach itself! However, the drive is well worth it for the views offered by the hike. Because the trail and beach are located in the Tule Elk reserve, there’s a good chance you will see one of these majestic and protected creatures grazing in the brush around the trail head. The trail itself is a moderate decline down to the beach, taking you through a canyon decorated by beautiful green plants as a variety of birds and active rabbits move all around you. After about three-fourths of a mile, the canyon opens to McClure’s Beach, and you are treated to a view of red cliffs presenting the Pacific Ocean. Walk around the cliffs to the beach itself, which is a sprawling sandy walkway, where you could easily spend a few hours strolling along, watching the surf, following the movements of fishing boats passing by, and picnicking. The hike back leads you up the moderate slope through the canyon, which will take you a little longer than the way down and in. We did the hike with a two-year-old and an eight-year-old, and the eight-year-old had no problem with the entirety of the trail. The two-year-old was carried for the last half-mile back to the trailhead. While the hike out to McClure’s beach is simple and accessible to all ages, the beautiful views and the relaxation offered by the large beach itself make it a rewarding and enjoyable hike.
An edible flower makes a fresh, attractive, and colorful garnish to almost any drink and is an easy way to catch people’s attention. Just always double check that the flowers really are edible! On property here at Nick’s Cove and Cottages we have few that I love to utilize. Our seasons run a little behind here due to the colder conditions, but everything is in full bloom at the Cove for late Spring and early Summer.
Here’s what we have to work with, plus a couple notes on what they taste like
and can be used for:
This is a beautiful, intermediate 4 mile loop. Starting at the parking lot just past the youth hostel, the trail takes you through a small field before the climb begins. The hardest part of the whole loop is next, about 30 minutes of medium level hiking. Once you reach the top, the rest of the hike is all at a slight decline. Another 20 to 30 minutes later, the trail will merge with a coastal fire road. At this point, there are several cut-throughs that connect out to the southern end of Limantour Beach. We saw several people that carried picnics for a lunch break. To head back, continue to follow the road as it curves inland between a tree-filled marsh and a steep hillside. Before you know it, you’ll be walking down the road past the hostel and back to your car.
This is truly a special place. The beauty of the bay and abundance of wildlife all around us is something that fascinates me every day. I love it when the tide goes out and I can see large flocks of Sandpipers at the edge of the water eating the invertebrates that are left behind from the retreating sea. With their grey feathers and long curved beaks they feast at the edge of the water. In the evening I have seen deer, silver foxes and bobcats. The creek that runs through the property is home to the endangered Red-Legged Frog which is also the name of our house-made hot sauce that we also bottle and sell to the public. While the frog is listed as endangered they seem to be thriving here at Nick’s Cove. They especially seem to like making the trip from the creek up the hill to the greenhouse at The Croft. In the greenhouse we grow the micro greens that chef Austin Perkins uses as a garnish on many dishes. Currently the greenhouse is full of vegetable starts to be planted in the garden. Heirloom tomatoes, peppers and squash are just a few of the vegetables that the farm will supply the kitchen for the guests to enjoy. Next to the greenhouse is our chicken coop where our girls supply many of our eggs. I was giving a new employee a tour of the farm the other day and the farm manager had let the chickens out to forage through the garden. The chickens see us approaching and run toward us. I am guessing that they thought that we might have food. They ran right up to our feet and even allowed us to pet them. As I write this the sun is shining and ducks are floating on the bay. It is hard to believe that a place as peaceful as this still exists amid the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area.
Good food stimulates all five senses; and good food is full of emotion, yours and the chef’s. It’s only natural that sense memory should often come back to food. The smell of turkey can bring a smile to your face as you remember a particularly wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by family. The sight of tuna casserole can make your stomach turn as you’re reminded of every Thursday night of your childhood; though your mother swears it was your favorite. The taste of clove, while perfectly balanced with cinnamon and nutmeg in a pumpkin pie, can still bring you back to the weekend you knocked over that bottle of oil of clove. The sound of bacon sizzling on the stove bringing you back to weekends at grandma’s house. All of these scenarios have something in common: A sensory experience being directly tied to an emotional response.
Recently, a study was published in the journal Science that proves the part of the brain that processes our five senses is also at least partially responsible for storing our memories.
So this summer, while you’re walking the pier towards the Boat Shack, feeling the warmth of the setting sun, smelling the marshmallows toasting over the fire pits, and tasting the lingering effervescence from that last glass of champagne… Take a moment to remember, and enjoy the memories you make today.
The coastal access trail is a mild-intermediate hike that winds through pasture land and around marshes to shoreline on the southern end of Tomales Bay. Prepare to open and properly close numerous cattle gates as you navigate through the pasture. From the trail, you’ll see finches, quails, and even a turtle or two. Bring binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to view egrets, herons and cormorants from the hilltop overlook. Just over a mile in, you will come to a split in the trail, which is the beginning of the one-mile coastal loop to, and along, the shoreline. Going to the right will take you down a gradual slope to the shoreline, followed by a short but steep hike back up to where the loop began. Going left means a steep hike down to the shoreline with a more gradual climb to finish the loop. Altogether, the two-and-a-half mile loop will present some minor, brief challenges while providing consistent, magnificent views.
As spring is starting, one of my favorite vegetables is starting to flourish in the croft: Artichokes!! They should be in full swing on the menus shortly, but here’s one of my favorite dishes to try at home.
For the Artichokes
5 medium artichokes, cleaned of thorns
5 cloves garlic
1 gallon water
3 lemons, halved
1 quart white wine
2 shallots, quartered
2 tbsp. kosher salt
Combine all ingredients besides artichokes and bring to a rolling boil. Add the artichokes and cook until the stem is just fork tender (20-30 minutes depending on size). Remove and chill until cooled. Cut each artichoke in half, remove choke.
1/4 cup evoo
1 tbsp. minced tarragon
1 tsp. minced garlic
1.5 c white wine
Rind of 1 preserved lemon, all pith and meat removed, minced
Pinch kosher salt
1 tbsp. butter
In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the artichokes, heart side down and quickly sear, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, and sweat, about thirty seconds, careful, as not to burn. Reduce flame. Deglaze with white wine and cover about five minutes. If the wine begins to cook down too far, add water. Remove the artichokes and arrange down the center of a large platter. Add the lemon, tarragon, salt and butter. Stir until butter is absorbed and wine mixture is thickened. Pour over the artichokes. Serve with aioli (recipe to follow.)
2-3 cloves roasted garlic (cut the top off the garlic, brush with oil and roast thirty minutes in 350 degree oven until golden brown.)
4 egg yolks
2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
In a blender with the top removed combine all ingredients but the oil. On a very low setting begin to blend. In one continuous motion, begin adding the oil. The mayonnaise will emulsify, meaning it is finished. It may not require all of the oil, and check for levels of salt.
And that means it’s time for cool, refreshing desserts to make their way onto the menu, nudging the warm, comforting sweets out the proverbial door. Though its only halfway through February, the chilly, rainy weather seems to be giving way to gorgeous sun soaked days and Technicolor sunsets here on the Tomales Coast.
I’ve starting planning my future menus accordingly and have been researching ice creams, sorbets, and granitas daily. For Valentine’s Day itself, along with the necessary over-the-top chocolate dessert, the Malted Fudge Torte, I decided to offer something a little lighter and refreshing to conclude the decadent dinner presented by our talented Executive Chef Austin Perkins. I took the nostalgic orange and vanilla “creamsicle” many of us grew up with, and gave it a more refined tropical twist with a parfait of Passion Fruit Sorbet, paired with Fior De Latte Buffalo Milk Gelato, garnished with Champagne Sabayon and Raspberry Coulis for a romantic touch. As if Mother Nature herself knew what I had planned, Valentine’s Day and evening were sunny and warm, just right for a cool dessert! The resounding success of the Passion Fruit Creamsicle has inspired me to add it to the current dessert menu for a limited time, while I wait for spring to give me some local bounty with which I cancreate my spring and summer menus!