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.
On my most recent adventure on Tomales Bay, my family and I decided to head
out, across the bay on our stand-up paddleboards. In addition to a killer sunset,
we were surprised to see a bald eagle landing on Hog Island! I was thrilled! Of
course, this inspired a bit of research …
As it turns out, there is a pair of bald eagles that have been nesting on Hog Island since 2009. In 2008, the Giacomini Wetlands restoration project took 550 acres and returned them to their natural state by tearing down the levees that had kept the area dry for more than 60 years. This restoration has had an amazing impact on the wildlife in our area. It is suspected that the pair chose to nest here due to the increase in food sources. They couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place to call home!
At the beginning of May I await the return of the swallows; the migratory barn swallows appeared at Nick’s Cove on May 6th. Suddenly, they are darting, and swooping over and under our pier. They begin building nests, which you can glimpse underneath the restaurant and pier. Our General Manager will be so happy to know that they all seem to be building their nests under the pier instead of over our cottage doors and lights! Morning and evening provide great times for viewing these intelligent creatures as they dine on flying insects. There are many legends and fables about this bird. One of my favorites is when a clever bird tried to steal fire from the gods to give to humans. Outraged, a deity hurled a flaming arrow at the barn swallow singeing away the bird’s middle tail feathers.
This, or so the legend goes, is how the swallows’ distinctive tail feathers came to be.
2014 has been an exciting and dramatic year at Nick’s Cove. We started the year (and sadly endured many months) with a drought; however, joyfully, we ended the year with much-needed rains … we opened our two acre on-site garden, aptly named the Croft, complete with an apiary and bocce ball courts (which is technically more the size of petanque) … we added many hens who are now really not hens … we added exciting, adventurous kayaking, sailing and boating adventures to our offerings … we said goodbye to some of our staff and hello to many new faces, ready to make our guests feel welcome … and witnessed some of the most amazing sunsets we have ever seen! And through it all we have been here to welcome the thousands and thousands of people who stop in and enjoy this little slice of heaven with us.
Our Nick’s Cove Crew attended and supported numerous fundraising events, from helping prevent childhood hunger in America (global) to supporting our Point Reyes National Seashore (local). We support our local schools and boys and girls clubs, doing our part to create a healthy and thriving community.
2014 kept us very busy for which we are thankful. There were not very many blog posts in 2014; however, for 2015 we have committed to share our experiences with you … to connect you in some way to what goes on here and what you can expect to experience when you visit.
We are grateful for all that West Marin has to offer, for the pristine waters of Tomales Bay, the amazing bounty grown in our garden, and our guests who make all our hard work worth it.
My wishes to you for a healthy and prosperous year filled with laughter, love and kindness.
On a recent visit to Heidrun Meadery I learned about a very old, yet newly re-emerging method of creating a tasty sparkling beverage. Heidrun Meadery, located in Point Reyes Station, is producing several varietals of naturally sparkling meads using the traditional Methode Champenoise.
We arrived at the Meadery after a meandering drive through West Marin along Highway 1 on a gorgeous summer day. The first thing I noticed when entering the property were the vibrant colors of the flowers. After the blue and gray of the ocean and the gold and brown of the fields, the bright reds and brilliant greens were captivating; I can see why a bee would want to make her hive there!
Truly fascinating to watch, we saw the true stars of the show busily buzzing just beyond the greenhouse/tasting room. Currently, Heidrun Mead is made from honey sourced from a wide range of apiaries but ultimately it is their goal to make Estate Mead using the honey produced from their own bees foraging on their property. As the tour continued inside the historic barn we were shown a full line of large-scale champagne production equipment, where the honey is fermented, the yeast is added, and the mead is bottled, racked and riddled.
The process of taking the mead from flower to flute is the vision of owner, Gordon Hull, who started Hiedrun Meadery in Arcata in 1997. The move to Pt. Reyes Station in 2011 facilitated the switch to vertical integration, where the whole process will soon occur on the farm where he also resides with his wife and their children.
The Meadery is open for visitors Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-4pm on a reservation basis. If staying with us and looking for a nice day-trip, please contact our concierge at (415) 663-1033 to make a reservation or you can order a glass of Mead in our dining room!
Many of our guests look to the North and to the South on Highway 1, cock their head to the side and ask, “Do you live near here … do you have a long commute?”
While a few live just down the road in Marshall or up the road in Tomales, many of the Nick’s Cove Crew live in Petaluma, or Cotati/Rohnert Park, Sebastopol all of which are slightly less than a half-hour’s drive. While we are not in walking distance to work, we all agree that our commute is as bucolic as they come: rich, green farmland, grazing cows and no stop-n-go whatsoever!
While Nick’s Cove is closer than you think, the feeling of being so far away that immediately takes over upon arrival is what our guests crave … and we like it that way!
If you have ever enjoyed a farm-fresh egg you know that I speak the truth when I say: there is simply nothing better tasting … that plump golden yolk says “good morning” like no other breakfast item can! While this is only our very first egg ever, we expect more to be quickly on their way!
Now that our Frog Creek Farm is on its way to stardom, one simply cannot have a farm without chickens running about! Here are a few photos of our farm chickens. Take notice of the hen-house charmer … we call him Slick Rick!
Come say hi to our chickens next time you are out our way!
For the past 2 years, the garden at Nick’s Cove has been dormant … just waiting, patiently for someone to come along and breathe new life into the rich, luscious coastal soil. In my very first blog post, I wrote of my intention to bring our garden back to life.
Well, I am happy to report that the garden at Nick’s Cove, recently named “Frog Creek Farms” is truly on its way!
In February, I hired Ross Barlow – a fantastic gardener/farmer! And, in only three months’ time he has transformed our garden.
Just last week, we harvested the very first lettuces from our garden and served them in our restaurant.
While there is still lots of work to be done, we are all excited about the journey and cannot wait to share with all of you the bounty from our Frog Creek Farms!
Just last weekend there were children swimming in the water at our beachfront, outdoor RAW BAR!! There are times when it’s hard to not day-dream while at work!
Take a drive out this way and enjoy the serenity of this natural resource that is literally … right in your back yard!
See you soon!
What can I say – not only do we have beautiful scenery year-round, but this time of year mother nature really lets her hair down, turns on the sensuality and lights our sky on FIRE!
There are times when the sky is so spectacular that a communal hush takes place in our dining room as our guests and the employees take in the exquisite beauty … and then there’s the moments afterward where all you can hear is the shuffling of chairs as guests run to the Boat Shack to get a unobstructed photo!
In order to help you plan the best time to visit us, we have a special widget (for lack of a better term) on our website that links to a national database that updates the exact time of sunset in our area … you’re welcome!
The information is conveniently located on our dinner menu page!