Victoria Lewis spent the day in a cabin on the scenic shores of Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco. She couldn't leave the next morning. Some plans are worth repeating.
POINT REYES, California – Most people head to Point Reyes, located a quick hour and a half drive north of San Francisco, for a day trip. Those people are missing out. You'll want to spend a night or two at Manka's Inverness Lodge. The handful of artfully renovated cabins tucked into the trees (with one jutting out over the water) make for an ideal combination of rustic escape and luxe getaway. And a quick in-n-out (to quote a beloved Californiaism) just won't be enough.
7 A.M. BREAKFAST IN BED
The best thing about Manka's is waking up there. You're roused by a light knock on the front door to find a box of homemade breakfast goods and the day's paper waiting for you. Steaming hot coffee, fresh-pressed juice, just-baked sticky buns, and a delicious yogurt parfait were the offerings when my boyfriend and I stayed, but every day brings something slightly different. Burrow back under the covers for breakfast in bed or set up shop on your patio.
10 A.M. HIKE THE COAST
Point Reyes National Seashore offers miles of hiking trails to explore. We had already ventured to the historic lighthouse (and seen whales migrating around the point!) on a previous trip, so we opted to head north to the Tomales Point Trail. Driving out to the beginning of the trail, you pass a bunch of family-run dairy farms that have been around for more than 150 years. Once you arrive, it's an easy but long walk to the point along a route lined with wildflowers and dramatic overlooks onto the beach and crashing waves below. The trail runs through the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve. We were lucky enough to spot multiple herds of elk grazing in the morning fog. (Winter traveler warning: The reserve is closed through January 2016 for renovation.)
1 P.M. DIG IN
After a few hours of hiking, we were ready to eat again. We headed to Nick's Cove. At a table on the pier overlooking the water, we dug into a massive burger topped with Point Reyes special blue cheese and local oysters with a few bottles of local beer.
3 P.M. OFF TO TOWN
We decided to take it easy and spend the afternoon exploring the town of Point Reyes Station. Though small, it has a number of cute boutiques and farmers' markets worth a visit. Our favorite was the Coyuchi outlet. We went in to look and came out with a new set of ultra-soft, eco-friendly towels and several cozy new bathrobes.
5 P.M. RINSE OFF
We went back to Manka's for a little down time before dinner. One of the inn's best assets is their beautiful stone outdoor showers. Stocked with Kiehl's products and Frette linens, it's kind of the ultimate version of glamping. We took quick (conscious of California's drought!) but wonderfully peaceful showers to the soundtrack of chirping birds, then settled into the overstuffed sofa to lounge. Another great thing about Manka's: They keep the in-room fireplaces stocked with plenty of firewood at all times. We lit a fire, which we kept going late into the night. The previous day, we picked up a bottle of wine at Gargiulo Vineyard (owned by our friend April's family) in Napa, so we cracked that open and enjoyed a glass as we watched the sunset from our porch.
8 P.M. WINE AND DINE
We went back to town for dinner at Sir and Star at The Olema, a beautifully restored former inn. The restaurant offers inventive farm-to-table dishes with high design in a totally down-to-earth atmosphere. We fell in love with a local wine (the winery owner happened to be at the table next to us that night) and with the meal made from Point Reyes-sourced ingredients.
12 A.M. HIT THE HAY
Stuffed and exhausted, we drove home, stoked the fire, and crawled into that incredibly cozy bed. Nestled under the overstuffed duvet and layers of Woolrich blankets, we cracked open a window to peer at the stars. There's nothing quite like a cool California breeze and the sound of a crackling fire to lull you to sleep.
Well, that and the promise of another delicious breakfast box on your doorstop in the morning.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Without traffic, the drive to Manka's from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) takes about an hour and a half. However, I recommend taking the slightly more scenic route up Highway 1. The winding roads along the coast and through Mt. Tamalpais afford incredible views that are worth the extra couple of minutes in the car.