Nick’s Cove welcomes guests with relaxing charm and delectable local food.
We arrived in Tomales Bay under a mackerel sky accented by wisps of fog. Bright green grass and moss-laden pines lined narrow, windy Highway 1 along our journey. Some vultures perched on telephone poles drying their enormous wings while others circled over Monterey cypresses, reaching their stiff branches to the coast.
We came upon charming Nick’s Cove and I could feel my shoulders relax. The rustic beach houses set against the natural environment astounded me. We checked in, headed to our cottage, and made our way to its rustic deck. Sipping a glass of wine and eating fistfuls of house-made snack mix, we surveyed activities of the bay. Kayakers, boaters, and flocks of undulating birds floated on the water while herons poked at meals in the mud. It was quiet and serene except for the occasional call of gulls or laughter of lovers strolling past the sun-dappled water.
Waterfront cottages (photo by Frankenyimages.com)
The cottage is filled with romantic amenities such as a claw-foot tub, a big fluffy bed, a comfortably worn sofa and chairs, a wood-burning fireplace, and shuttered windows overlooking the bay.
From my place on the wooden porch, I relished the warm winter day, feeling the sun on my face and being mesmerized by the smallest of things, such as a spider spinning its web nearby. Just then, a great blue heron flew into the scene, honking at a small white heron and landing with one foot on a rock. He perched for a while, looking like a hunchback in a dark blue overcoat.
Bandits bungalow (photo by Frankenyimages.com)
After relaxing for a bit, we walked out onto the property’s pier to a boathouse where, flanked by the silhouette of hills hugging the coastline, we slurped refreshing cocktails and briny oysters plucked right from these waters.
Next, we headed for dinner inside the restaurant, outfitted as an old hunting lodge bedecked with taxidermy and wooden accents, and featuring a grand, well-stocked bar with an excellent wine list and cocktail program.
Cocktails by the fire (photo by Frankenyimages.com)
Dinner dishes featured fresh ingredients from the on-property croft (small farm) on a hill across the highway. Most of the food used at the restaurant is sourced from just down the road, such as some of the nation’s best cheeses, meats, and seafood.
Spring greens in the croft (photo by Brendan Thomas)
Barbecued oysters (photo by Frankenyimages.com)
Carrots from the croft (photo by Mike Norquist)
In the morning, we woke up to low fog and high tide specked with a few pieces of flotsam and ducks. The water receded each day to expose the rippled shore and then flowed back under the cottages at night.
After a tasty cup of coffee and breakfast in the room, we toured the croft. The full-time farmer and helpers tend rows of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and edible flowers, and pluck eggs from the chicken coop daily.
Cottage breakfast (photo by Frankenyimages.com)
Girl and chicken in the croft (photo by Mike Norquist)
Even though our visit was short, it was just enough time to clear our heads, shed tension, and relax into sleepy coastal bliss.
Amanda Burden is publisher and editor of edible Reno-Tahoe. She plans to return to Nick’s Cove soon for more oysters and salty air.
23240 Hwy. 1, Marshall
866-63-NICKS • Nickscove.com
There’s a two-night minimum on weekends year round and no minimum during the week.
In the winter, Thursday – Sunday, guests can buy fresh produce and flowers gleaned from the property’s croft. A cart in front of the restaurant is filled with vegetables, greens, herbs, and bouquets. Simply grab what you want and pay inside. Later in the season, April – September, The Bayside Market (full of locally grown produce, eggs, meat, flowers, honey, and more) runs on the first Saturday of every month.
Boat shack at sunset (photo by Justin Lewis)