Beach Getaway - Day Two

We awoke bright and early to enjoy a cozy morning in our little Stinson Beach cottage. Hot cocoa and coffee (took us a few tries to figure out the coffeemaker, Darin finally went to buy us some from the cafe next door). Tootie said, "I really wish they had marshmallows!" 

The most entertaining activity in the whole house was, of course, climbing the bunkbeds...over and over and over again. Tootie even got to sleep on the top bunk! We are so used to sleeping close together that we all slept in the bunkroom and didn't even use the "master" bedroom. There was a full bed bottom bunk and a very comfy twin trundle also pulled out for Polly.

We headed off for a walk around town.

Stinson Beach has the prettiest fences and gardens. Not to mention that morning light sparkling over Mt. Tam.

The girls loved crossing the little creek through town. I love the rustic feel of the town, this whole part of the coast (especially Bolinas) because even though it could be considered "upscale" with obviously high property values,summer houses, artisan cheeses, and fine galleries, there is a feeling of homeyness and comfort. Bright colors and jalopies and small farms. flowerpots on windowsills, neighborly smiles and waves. It doesn't have that stuffy, overpriced snobbiness of parts of Big Sur and Mendocino. It feels very welcoming, windy and a little bit wild. Plenty of nature to keep the heart humble and the eyes wide, plenty of kindness and cheer and enthusiasm to hush the cynicism of the modern age. Or maybe that's just because I'm around two toddlers all day, who has time for cynicism? ;)

Mailing out some cards from the local post office.

Any town that has a good bookstore (or two or three) is okay by me! So glad this place is still up and running and chock full of treasures.

Polly's new favorite word is "doll! doll!" and she screams for them loudly whenever she spots one.

Needless to say it wasn't long before I had to take her outside. 

Hopscotch in the park.

Polly fell asleep in the car as we headed up to Bolinas. So we took turns checking out the community trade-in bookstore but had to skip the beach there. 

She did wake up in time for us to all visit together the Bear Valley Visitor Center and then onward up Sir Francis Drake Blvd along the pastoral grassy knolls of Point Reyes National Seashore. 
We hiked out at Chimney Rock to the elephant seal overlook where almost a thousand elephant seals are spending their breeding period down on the shore. It was fun to hear the girls try to mimic the seals' barks and watch the baby ones flip and roll and scoot far below on the sand.

We attempted to hike out to the headland and try to spot whales (just a one mile hike) but we hit our only real setback of the trip when both girls were too fussy, both wanting ME and only ME, so for a while I had Lucy in the backpack and held Polly in my arms, but even that wasn't working so we turned back. Which was fine. Snacks and a short car ride to the beach seemed to work wonders. I thought Polly needed a nap but she perked up and stayed super happy for our next beach visit.

Drakes Beach was almost deserted and achingly beautiful this clear warm afternoon. The visitor center was closed during the week but the bathrooms were open, spacious and clean. I loved this wood-beamed open air plaza in the middle of the visitor center. We explored and read about Queen Elizabeth's hero in the late 1500s, Sir Francis Drake, who was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe and arrived in this bay in 1589, calling it Nova Albion and reportedly maintaining friendly relations with the local Miwok Indians.    

Out on the beach it was low tide again, and we drifted along searching through the flotsam and jetsam and examining the exposed cliff bases. The girls loved climbing and jumping off. 

Best of all was this handsome male elephant seal who appeared suddenly and silently and rested in the cliff's shade while we played nearby. We kept our distance but Darin couldn't resist a photo. The seal almost looked dead, except for an occasional swipe of his flipper, and he was completely unperturbed by us or the group of young beachcombers who passed directly in front of him!


We rinsed our feet at the outdoor shower and heard an owl hooting. Then it was time to head back down that windy road to Point Reyes Station for dinner at Cafe Reyes. We remembered having really good pizza there a couple years ago when we just had Lucy. In the car Darin and I looked at each other and said, "Can we really pull this off?" We rarely go out to eat anymore especially to "grown up" restaurants. But miraculously the girls were great! Darin held Polly on his lap all through dinner (she was too wriggly for the high chair) and both girls chowed down on wood-fired cheesy bread. I had a salad with bleu cheese from Point Reyes farmstead creamery and it was perfection with a glass of Pinot Noir. 

Both fell asleep on the drive back to Stinson Beach so they went to bed in their clothes with no bath. They slept great almost all through the night and woke up ready for just a little more road trip fun before we would head home.


Anonymous said…
Ooh, I can't wait to hear more! My goodness, you had absolutely perfect weather, didn't you? And the colours in the pictures, those green grassy hills against the blue sky, the warm tones of the sand and the cliffs, the ocean, oh my ...

Amy Beatty said…
oh my HEAVEN!!! in total love with you cuties and that beautiful area!!! all the pictures are just so dreamy and magical!! glad you had such fun and braved new things and conquered some. i miss you loves!! cant wait just a another few weeks!!don't forget to meet us at the bay on Thursday or in town on Saturday!!!
Anonymous said…
Wow Heather, That looked fun. The Beaches there looked a lot like Santa Cruz. I love that Seal Picture. I also love that bookstore you were at.
Tell Lucy i said Hi.
Rachel Weaver said…
These pictures make me so eager for spring and small adventures. Our traveling budget is pretty much nonexistent, but these sorts of trips can sometimes be made to happen, and they bring my heart so much joy. You guys know how to do it right.
TheSteamtrunk said…
Ohhhhh, i love how this adventure is turning out. Now for part 3 x
Jeannie Marie said…
It reminds me so much of my growing up years when I lived in Northern California. Lovely photos, you had such a glorious time!
lorlore said…
Love it!! I work now in Marin and moving soon there for 2 years, this is so close, i have to explore more!!
My Family grew up going to Gualala and Mendocino, so we didnt know much of the lower part of Coast. Definitely checking this out!! Thankyou!!

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