Day Trip: Pt. Reyes Station

The Pt. Reyes Peninsula and National Seashore is one of the true treasures of the Bay Area, with stunning views, private beaches and extensive hiking trails. We touch on some of the hidden features of Pt. Reyes in thispost, but today we’re talking about Pt. Reyes the town: Pt. Reyes Station. Originally a stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad connecting Cazadero with the Sausalito ferry, PRS now buzzes on the weekends with bikers both motorized and pedaled rubbing elbows with the neighboring ranchers who need gas or provisions from town. And for good reason, because there is plenty of dining, snacking and shopping to do in this little town. Here’s an overview. Restaurants Chef Christian Caiazzo’s Italian outpost Osteria Stellina has built a national reputation for its rustic, delicious meals prepared solely from fresh, local ingredients. Great pizzas, excellent Cal/Ital wine list, and their BN Ranch flat iron steak is the bomb. Station House Cafe has been a West Marin staple since 1975. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with live music every Sunday and first Fridays, this is the spot to meet the locals. Owner Sheryl Cahill is a gracious host with a strong commitment to supporting the local food and drink scene. We would eat their breakfast menu all day if we could. Sheryl’s latest venture, Side Street Kitchen, is right around the corner, not that there’s many corners here. Keeping the diner spirit of the original Mike’s Truck Stop, she’s featuring slow-cooked meats and organic produce, including a roast chicken that we’re thinking about asking out on a date. Shopping Toby Giacomini used to haul milk throughout the Bay Area and sold hay and grain to local ranchers out of his barn. Today, Toby’s Feed Barn still sells hay, and a great selection of gifts, books, art, planting starts, fresh produce, coffees and many other treasures. They host book readings, yoga classes, special events and a farmer’s market every Saturday in the summer. If you want to know what West Marin is all about, just walk in to Toby’s. Sue Conley andPeggy Smith took a hippie trip to San Francisco in 1976 after finishing degrees at the University of Tennessee. Both established careers in some of San Francisco’s most famous restaurants and eventually founded Tomales Bay Foods, a distribution company serving the burgeoning West Marin farm and dairy scene. The original barn (owned by Toby) had a small cheese making room in it, which got them going with Cowgirl Creamery. These are some very famous and delicious cheeses, which you need to try and buy. Start with Red Hawk and go from there. Sue and Peggy are near and dear to our hearts here at McEvoy Ranch; they started their venture right about the time Nan McEvoy founded the Ranch, and they were very close, personally and professionally.Palace Market began in 1883. Today it is a full service grocery store, with a great selection of local organic produce, cheeses, artisan foods and wines. A full deli and salad bar will set you up for a picnic. But the special secret here is the buffalo milk soft serve ice cream served in the back. Eat it and be quiet. Cabaline Country Emporium and Saddlery sells clothing, footwear, hats, accessories, pet and horse supplies, camping gear and gifts. And yes, saddles. It’s like an old time Western dry goods store, just way cooler. You will likely walk out dressed like a cowpoke. A really great looking cowpoke. Pt. Reyes Building Supply is a hardware store. But it’s not, you know, Home Depot. It’s the kind of hardware store where you will always find what you need. They talk to you here, and will help you fix things, and loan you tools. They have lumber and ranch supplies, but they also have fantastic gifts and old fashioned candy, because tourists. It’s fun just to browse, but more fun to shop. Nearby Bob Giacomini, Toby’s nephew, started Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company primarily to make a Danish style Blue, which for many years was the only Blue Cheese made in California. Now they make a variety of cheeses; we’re partial to their Bay Blue. They also have a wonderful series of classes and events in the Fork, their event space. They sell out fast, so get on it. Inverness Park Market is just on the other side of Tomales Bay from PRS, not more than a five minute drive. They feature an awesome deli with from scratch foods made from fresh, local ingredients, and their Tap Room offers a great selection of beer and wine and a seriously excellent menu. Thursday nights is Asian inspired; other nights are simply inspired. Ok. You’ve done the town. You are now free to roam the National Seashore.