As part of our week in the Russian River wine country, we made a great day trip to the coast. A nice easy drive to the coast, then a stop in a small hamlet made famous by Alfred Hitchcock, and ending at Pt. Reyes National Seashore and one of the windiest spots on earth.
Just 20 miles east of Guerneville is the mouth of the Russian River at the town of Jenner At this point, the coast highway turns southward toward San Francisco. There are great beaches all along the route, with the first being Goat Rock, just south of Jenner. The first thing you see as you snake down toward the beach is this enormous rocky island that can only be climbed by a goat. Extending south from the island is a lovely beach with some beautiful rock formations just off-shore.
Watch yourself as you walk along the beach. The sand is quite a bit darker than the white stuff you’re used to back east. I won’t go into all the scientific stuff, but dark sand is like a black car. It catches and stores heat on a sunny day. My brother-in-law came to this same beach the next day and got blisters on his feet walking in the sand. It’s ironic since the water temperature is a balmy 55-degF.
Another cool thing we found was a 10 yard section of beach where pebbles wash up. We found agates and a few amethysts here.
2. Bodega Bay
About 10 miles south on CA-1 is the sleepy hamlet of Bodega Bay. If you’re an old move buff like me, then you remember that this place was cinematically destroyed in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. This movie still creeps me out. The family watched it before we went there to give us some points of reference.
We found out that the famous school house was actually located in the town of Bodega which is about 6 miles inland. Although the school kids run right down the hill to the bay in the movie. Either movie tricks or fast runners.
Now the cool thing is that we actually found this school house which has been renovated and turned into somebody’s house.
Lunch at the Fishetarian
I’m a big seafood fan, so we took the opportunity to stop at the Fishetarian Fish Market and Restaurant in Bodega Bay. The place is great with fresh seafood on sale, and a full menu for lunch and dinner. It is right on the bay and there wasn’t a bird in sight. We had fish tacos, some excellent fish and chips and an “adult” grilled cheese sandwich that was out of this world. Stop here if you happen to be passing through town. They are open 7 days during the summer, but were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday when we there. Don’t miss it.
3. Point Reyes National Seashore
Another 50 miles south takes you to Point Reyes. A narrow bay separates the seashore from the mainland and is the location of the San Andreas fault. The seashore is actually part of the Pacific tectonic plate, and the mainland is part of the continental plate. The seashore travels a bit further north every time there’s an earthquake.
At the actual point is a lighthouse, but unlike most which are set up high, you have to descend from the top of the bluff to reach it. It’s only open some days, and the day we went, it was very windy, so they weren’t allowing anyone to venture down.
4. Korbel Winery on the way home
We stopped at the Korbel winery on the way home. They are the twelfth largest US wine producer, and one of the biggest producers of sparkling wines in the world. So after a day at the beach, we stopped there and had a few.
Three miles later and we were back at our river house with some wine for the evening. This is a very pleasant day trip, and I hope you get a chance to do it.