While Manka's Inverness Lodge will always be number one in our hearts for a cozy West Marin hideaway, we're not made of money, and all of that cabin-y Pendleton perfection is better saved for special occasions anyway.
Enter the newly renovated Olema House (née Lodge at Point Reyes) located at the intersection of Sir Francis Drake and Shoreline Highway, not a three-minute drive from Point Reyes Station and all its homespun knitwear, used surf gear, Bovine Bakery morning buns, and Cowgirl Creamery cheese.
The great lawn.(Tanveer Badal)
If you're crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to take a lap around the PRS main street, or to make the summer oyster pilgrimage along the shores of Tomales Bay, or to explore the 70,000 acres of national parkland located immediately opposite the babbling creek that borders Olema House's half-wooded, half-manicured four-acre property, then you should totally shack up here for a night or two. After those gracious pours of fermented honey wine at Heidrun Meadery, those dozens of oysters you pried open at Hog Island's U-shuck joint in Marshall, those miles you hiked along the coastline looking for elk, that same-day drive back to the city along country roads is bound to feel long and dark.
With soaring vaulted ceilings, hearty stone fireplaces, and silky sheepskin rugs (lovely details not limited to common spaces, but in every room), Olema House doesn't just feel like a lodge, it looks like a lodge—especially from its many-gabled creekside exterior. Beholding this view, you half expect a game of croquet on the back lawn, and I'm sure that come summer, mallet-wielding kids will be knocking colorful balls through wooden stakes while their Izod-wearing folks sit in Adirondack chairs holding glasses of wine while in conversation with other adults in the same, er, predicament (you know, parenthood).
A renovated room at Olema House.(Tanveer Badal)
But for the blissfully untethered among us, Olema House is even more of a snuggly retreat: That beautiful, expansive lawn becomes less about recreation or socializing than about cuddling with your boo around the outdoor fire pit. That fluffy marshmallow of a four-poster bed is so easeful that a movie marathon is a comfortable prospect—heck, even the two-person soaking tub makes a good TV-watching perch on account of the see-through bathroom wall. Ultimately, these guest rooms were never really intended for an all-day hang, not like the Pendleton-perfect cabins at Manka's, meant for hunkering down.
At Olema House, the windows would never allow that. They offer too much beautiful light, too many beckoning views, too much possibility beyond the walls of the inn. But even if the aforementioned West Marin highlights fail to entice, at least make your way around the intersection, to the stylish and surfy Sea to See boutique, with its indie artisan jewelry, vintage clothes, and bohemian brimmed hats. Have dinner at Due West, where local farm produce takes center table and is beautifully prepared and heaped onto plates in a generous, homey way. Start with the Caesar salad, so parm-y and fresh; then move to the mushroom toast, piled with earthy hen of the woods mushrooms and drizzled with tangy crème fraîche. Don't miss the crispy-skin, pan-fried steelhead trout on a bed of bright and lemony spinach. The apple tart is a must, all deconstructed with discs of flaky puff pastry, super-caramel-y al dente apples, and a cloud of whipped cream. It's the finishing touch on a day of exploring that may tip you into that soaking tub, then onto that four-poster bed to chip away at that movie marathon. Best of all, you get to do it again tomorrow.
// 10021 Coastal Highway 1 (Olema), olemahouse.com
A cozy nook in the main lobby.