Sunday, September 05, 2004

Explore Point Reyes

If you say California, many people think "beach". It's not that California doesn't have breathtaking mountain ranges, valleys, deserts, lakes, and forests. It does. But California is rightfully famous for it's beaches. Often featuring dramatic cliffs and unspoiled views, Northern California beaches are a real treat.

It's about an hours drive to get from my folks place to Point Reyes National Seashore. Once you're there the options are varied. You can bike ride, hike, go horseback riding, bird watch, at certain times of the year go whale watching or simply laze around at the beach. So guess what we did today? Actually there are two other things we did in addition to lazing around. One was check out the sand castles at the annual sand castle competition and the other was eat barbecued oysters.

Even though Point Reyes is a national park, there are several businesses there. One is Johnson's Oyster Company. Johnson's has been operating since the 1960's and they grow big fat delicious Japanese oysters in the pristine waters of Drakes Estero. Another couple of miles down the road, at what must be one of the prettiest beaches in the area, Drakes Beach, there is a cafe where you can feast on excellent clam chowder, fresh-not-frozen fish and chips and best of all, barbecued oysters from Johnson's.

Sir Francis Drake is believed to have landed there in 1579 and the beach, and even the road that connects it to Marin county is named after him. When I was in high school I first travelled abroad as part of an exchange program between Marin county and Devon, England because both were connected to Sir Francis Drake. Several years ago I was married at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Whether it's finding true love, discovering foreign travel or just a great day at the beach I guess you'd say I can't escape Sir Francis Drake, and frankly, I'm not sure I'd want to.

Johnson's Oyster Company now Drakes Bay Oyster
17171 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Note: call ahead to make sure they don't run out of oysters before you get there or enjoy their bbq oysters at Drakes Beach Cafe on summer weekends

For information about the facilities at Drakes Beach, visit the Point Reyes National Park web site