Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Quick Stop for Hot Chocolate at Nick's Cove - Tomales Bay

We've been trying to get up to Tomales Bay for weeks to get Tom some fresh oysters - he claims that the sweetwaters that come from Tomales are the best oysters on the planet.  Last Saturday we made ourselves a promise to head up to Hog Island and grab a dozen or so.... Don't tell, I think our friend from Hog Island miscounted the dozen, as we came home with 17 oysters!

It's crab season here in Northern California, so not only did Hog Island have oysters, but also LIVE fresh dungeness.  Dang, none for us on this trip.

If you have ever driven on Hwy 1, you know how windy and twisty it can be, you also might know how it can also be especially brutal when you get behind someone going 25 miles per hour.  Which is exactly what happened to us last Saturday after we loaded up our oyster stash.

Not a bad thing though, we decided to stop at Nick's Cove and Cottages for a hot chocolate break.  Not just any hot chocolate though, it may have had touch of alcohol in it.  Not sure what exactly was in this hot chocolate,  but it turned my cheeks pink and warmed me up! Finished off with a big dollop of whipped creme,  it was perfectly yummy.  

You may have read about Nick's Cove and Cottages in Coastal Living Magazine's profile of the West Coast's Best Seafood Dives, or like us,  may have just driven by many times and never stopped.  What a treat we discovered!  

Fine dining, white tablecloth covered tables,  an oyster bar, big view windows looking out over the gorgeous ripple-strewn Tomales Bay, a very friendly and welcoming staff, all put together with coastal decorating accents, and a long history of fishing and shellfish farming in Northern California. They have the most darling cottages  to rent, some right on the water, and some across the street with water views, all remodeled with homey creative nautical touches.  Very romantic!

After warming up, and visiting with the "hot chocolate"  bartender, we decided to take a stroll out to the Nick's Boat Shack.  

Next time, we will take our drinks out here to enjoy!  (wasn't the sky interesting?)

All decorated for the holidays, the Boat Shack has a piping hot barrel-shaped wood stove inside, plenty of chairs and tables for everyone to sit and enjoy the views of seals, shorebirds, boat traffic, a setting sun, and of course,  Tomales Bay.  

There's even a phone inside to phone in your orders!  Now that we know this, this is what we will be doing next time we go out to visit. (Again, totally romantic!)

Loved their outdoor Christmas Tree!  Covered in simple white lights, and oyster shells dipped in silvery-blue oyster shells - my kind of holiday decoration.

Here's a close-up photo. Looks pretty easy to make these; clean oyster shells, glue, silver glitter, and a few ornament hooks.  Hmmm.... maybe I should have saved all of those oyster shells from Hog Island?

We will be back for dinner soon!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Exploring on the California Coast

I don't really care if there are a few raindrops. As long as I can see the waves and hear the Pacific, I am more than good.  Besides, raindrops create spectacular rainbows...  

We were able to stop the car at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, jump out and run down to the beach quick enough to get this rainbow before it disappeared.

After breakfast at Gazos Grill, (a great place for Sunday breakfast on Hwy 1, just past the Lighthouse) we headed back north hoping to be able to outrun the rain for a quick beach walk.

We've driven by Cowell Ranch State Beach countless times, but never stopped.  On Sunday, we stopped.


It's an extremely peaceful (easy) half mile walk down a gravel path to get to the beach.  Bird watching - hawks play in the wind. Half way down the path, you will come across the "Whale Gate" -a lovely rusty reminder that Cowell Ranch is still a working farm,  and has been for many generations.

 I needed this...
Needed to hear the roar of the Pacific...

 Not a single soul on the beach except for us....

Found a few beautiful shells to carry home in our pockets.... Tom even found a few tiny pieces of green and blue sea glass.

I think I can tackle Monday.

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

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