The last few years have been nothing but rocky for Nick's Cove on Tomales Bay. To begin with, owner and local restaurant magnate Pat Kuleto gave up on the property, deciding to sell the Bay-adjacent restaurant and cottages that once charmed him into millions of dollars in renovations and upkeep. Then there were all sorts of juicy tales about food poisoning and horrendous service, seeming to culminate in a kiss-of-death review San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Michael Bauer pulled. New owners, a group of silent investors, finally purchased Nick's from Kuleto. Just in the knick of time, they launched a totally different menu, with more small plates and slightly more modern fare.
The Bay Area may be the birthplace of mountain biking, but today it can be hard to find enough legal singletrack to satiate even the intermediate rider. And over the next few months, it’s going to get even harder. Three of our best local mountain bike spots are slated to close this year due to state budget cuts.
Nearly 15 miles long and about 1 mile wide, Tomales Bay is a finger-shaped waterway burbling with wildlife. Get in the thick of it on a two-hour morning kayak tour with Blue Waters Kayaking. Starting from the Inverness put-in, paddle the western shore over undulating ribbons of thick eel grass, staying on the lookout for lion's mane and moon jellyfish, as well as elusive bat rays.
The rain, the cold, the grey: Instead of running away from it, last week I embraced it and headed up to Tomales Bay which, to my mind, is best experienced in the winter. The crowds are gone, fields of hot yellow mustard flowers pop off the mottled grey sky, the bay is calm and moody and the oyster-eating is very, very fine. Add a fire to this scenario and the word hunker suddenly doesn't seem so silly after all.
Here's the escape plan:
Summer's in full-swing and everyone's abuzz with their fabulous vacation plans. Have you failed on that organizational front? Are you murderously jealous of everyone's fabulous vacation plans? Don't be. There are tons of quick grab-your-stuff-and-go day escapes within an hour of the city. Here are four we love.
Half Moon Bay
Don't let an unstable economy keep you at home this year. Instead, use it as an excuse to stay local and explore parts of your state you may have only ever seen on a map. Last week, we revealed five of our can't-miss spots for 2009. Read on for our remaining five picks of delectable escapes within driving distance.
5. The Shasta Region