Oysters, Hikes and Wine Abound on the Drive to Jenner

An idyllic weekend getaway in Northern California

Heading north across the Golden Gate Bridge always promises a weekend of adventure and delicious food. On the way to Jenner, where Russian River meets the coast, there are several hotspots to check out along the way.

First up? None other than Point Reyes Station. This small town in Marin County is perhaps best known as the spot where the original Cowgirl Creamery resides. Stop in to taste some cheeses — the Mt. Tam triple cream never disappoints — or take one of the creamery’s cheese-making classes, available on Fridays (reservations required).

Jim Sullivan / Hog Island Oyster Co.

If seafood is more your speed, cruise up Highway 1 to the famous Hog Island Oyster Co. farm in Marshall. You can learn all about how to raise oysters on the one-hour farm tour, or you can experience the delicacy by shucking and even grilling it yourself at one of the farm’s picnic spots. The Boat Oyster Bar also serves up oysters, along with local cheeses, breads and other seasonal fare. Just note: All three experiences are reservation only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

OK, you’ve made it quite a ways up north to Bodega Bay, so now it’s time to try some of the area’s wine. A wine flight at Sonoma Coast Vineyards will do just the trick at the bar or on the patio overlooking the storied bay, where Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed. Or maybe you’re looking to be a bit more active? Coastal hikes in Sonoma Coast State Park place hikers right along the water, with a variety of terrain and beaches that stretch 17 miles from Bodega Head to just north of Jenner.

If you’ve made it this far, you might as well stay the night. Bodega Bay Lodge has long been a favorite for visitors, with a heated pool and spa that make it feel extra luxurious. Guests can choose between Drakes Sonoma Coast or Drakes Fireside Lounge to indulge in the local Sonoma fare that consists of everything from scallops to surf and turf options or even lamb chops.

Timber Cover Resort

But if you want to venture a bit further north of Jenner to Timber Cove, you won’t be disappointed. The new kid in town (again) is certainly Timber Cove Resort. A complete renovation of the property debuted in mid-2018 bringing this 1960s property into the 21st century. Rooms feature private fireplaces, terraces overlooking the water and record players from which you can play a wide variety of records to choose from in the hotel’s Great Room. The property consists of 2 miles of walking trails, weekly yoga classes and is situated adjacent to the 93-foot Peace Obelisk statue — California’s second-smallest state park.