Another visit to Bodega Bay…my favorite place to watch the sunset

Life is pretty amazing here in California. Sure, there are the same stressors and time-consumers here as there are anywhere else, but the beauty of living in California is in enjoying the outdoors and natural wonders of the region. I love exploring this place, finding all the nooks and crannies that don’t show up on the “Top 10 Things to Do” list, and discovering what it is that gives this area the pulse of life that it exudes. While I’ve discovered many a nook, I have also found that some of the most amazing places are those visited by both local and tourist alike. In this case, I point to Bodega Bay and the Bodega Headlands as a perfect example of both locally and “touristically” admired beauty, where I frequently go to find peace and revel at the unmatched awe of the ocean.

You all know I love to take pictures of the ocean, and especially of sunset. Here, I’m trying a few newly discovered features on my E-PL1, including “pop art” and “diorama.” Enjoy.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.

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The Power of Nature

I have just completed a major chapter in my life. Working on a campaign is both exhilarating and exhausting, but besides the amazing work experience, I learned a lot about myself through the process. One of my favorite pastimes remains the same… I still love sunsets overlooking the ocean.

Just before the last push of the campaign season, I posted a few photos of my “zen” places. Well, yesterday I went back to one of my favorite spots on the California coast: Bodega Headlands. My visit felt bittersweet. It wasn’t my first visit, and I’m sure won’t be my last, but it had a different feeling about it. Having just finished this incredible experience, my world suddenly feels like it has a huge hole in it. But as much as I am unable to see a clear picture of the immediate future, I felt a wonderful sense of peace. I had warm surroundings, a beautiful view, and of course, my camera in tow.

No matter what I have going on in my life, I will always be humbled by the beauty of nature, and the ocean in particular. It is so powerful, so artistic. Here is what I captured.

And as the sun begins to set…

After it sank below the horizon, the clouds were perfectly aligned to paint the sun’s fiery colors….

“Suits Us”–Bodega Bay

The casual life style and nonchalance of Bodega Bay is evidenced by this enchanting–if deteriorated–cottage near the coast in Northern California.  “Suits Us” suggests the relaxed lifestyle of the people who live there.  It is the goal of many who travel there. Who needs elegance when you are minutes from one the world’s beautiful beaches?

May the quality of our lives be determined by the beauty, joy and meaning we find around us rather than the number of dollars we have to spend.

Oh, how I love the California coast…

There is something magical about living near the ocean. Knowing that I can drive a short distance and stare out at the open sea, well, that is one of the reasons I love living here. With everything going on in life, sometimes I just need to clear my head. Somehow staring out at the ocean gives me a sense of peace. It’s like meditating.

These are a few of my favorites from the California coast. We have Bodega Bay, Point Reyes, Muir Beach Outlook, and Stinson Beach. Can you tell which is which? (If not, you can just hover over the picture and a description will pop up.)

There are so many great places to take beautiful photographs here. Who knows what I’ll stumble upon next!

A Day on the Coast: From Mom’s Camera

Northern California is an amazing place to visit.  It is even better when we are hanging out with my favorite people. Terry and I spent a long weekend visiting Meg and Jake’s favorite places in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

While Jake worked Friday, Meg, Terry and I loaded up Meg’s Jeep Patriot and our cameras and headed for the coast.  Well, I don’t want to overstate this, Terry and Meg have real cameras, I only had my iPhone, but I was anxious to see what kind of photographs I can get out of my newly upgraded iPhone camera.

Our first–unexpected–stop happened when we happened on this great tree by the road. We stopped, turned around and drove back for our first photos of the day.  It isn’t just a great gnarly tree, it is tree that gives new meaning to the concept of having a rocky start in life. Meg’s photo was on our blog yesterday.  Here’s mine.

Minutes later we arrived at Point Reyes Station, a lovely little town near, but not on, the coast.  It’s population is either 340 people or 848 people, depending on which source you believe.  It is such a great old town. I mean, when is the last time you saw an automobile repair shop with an entire row of deer heads on the wall?

There was a community garden and an organic market that surprised me by offering beautifully arranged produce, at least some of which was from–Mexico.

Meg and Terry were looking for tasty beverages while I focused on the wonderful “Born in the USA” look of this little town.  We happened on the Cowgirl Creamery that actually makes cheese right in Point Reyes Station. The cheese and the bread they sold were as visually appealing as they were delicious. We purchased a bag of sample sized cheese for under $15.  The cheeses were a hit at dinner.

With regret, we left this great town and continued on.  Ultimately, we arrived at Bodega Bay, well-known for its beauty, but also as the location for Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful movie, “The Birds.”  The Tides restaurant is still serving tourists, and the gulls continue to sit on the picnic tables and stare down from the eaves of the buildings.  Not hard to see how a creative mind could see them as menacing. But they are actually delightful and add to the atmosphere.

The views were beautiful.  We were ready to try to find a way to move here just for the privilege of waking up every morning with one of the world’s great scenery.  Unlike many of the places we visit, mile high condos have not yet spoiled the view.  There were actually modest cottages within a block of the water.  Who wouldn’t want to want to be “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay,” if the bay was in Northern California.

We headed to the Bodega Bay marina. Obviously, just around the corner, but it had its own personality.  Commercial fishing is serious business here. Even the boats have just the right amount of rust to be authentic workings boats.

The best of the “fishing” was for crab.  We stopped at the Spud Point Crab Shack crab.  Just about all it sold was crab, crab and crab.  But why not!  It was freshly caught and it was wonderful. We shared a sandwich and were on our way.

The area had fun with its heritage.  Carved wooden sailors graced more than one establishment and gave a festive air to the marina.

Our last stop along the coast was Bodega Head.  It is a beautiful view of the ocean and is considered a major destination for anyone who wants to watch for migrating whales.  We looked, without success.  But we watched the waves as they came in over the rocky beach.

It was a great day on the coast, and we’ve had a great time comparing my iPhone pictures with the pictures from Meg’s camera.  Next, it’s off to the wine country.

A Day on the Coast: From Meg’s Camera

Oh the joys of living in California! While it’s difficult over the holidays to be so far away from family, we are fortunate this holiday weekend to have family come to us. It helps us enjoy a balance of living in a beautiful place and maintaining our strong connection to our loved ones. Plus, it’s a fabulous place to come visit!

It has been a beautiful Easter weekend, with Mom and Terry out to visit from Kansas City. They arrived Thursday evening and we all had a yummy dinner at home. Then we rested up for our weekend adventures.

For our first day of exploring, I took Mom and Terry for a day on the Coast. We first drove from Petaluma out to Point Reyes Station. Of course, there are a million things to see along the way. The first of these many sites was an old tree perched up off the road. We have not yet identified the specific type of tree, so if you are familiar with it, please comment below.

Our next stop along the way to Point Reyes Station was the Nicasio Reservoir. It is quite a beautiful setting, a huge expanse of water in the middle of Western Marin County, with beautiful rocky hills and windy roads all around.

Finally, we reached Point Reyes Station. We parked the Jeep and walked around the little town, which I believe has a population of only a few hundred, but it is surprisingly lively for such a small place. The main street has several cafes, a bakery, bank, general stores, and even an old saloon. It only took us 30 minutes to walk around the entire town, but you could easily spend hours exploring every nook and cranny.

After acquiring a particularly delicious cup of chai from Bovine Bakery, we departed from Point Reyes Station and headed up Hwy 1 toward Bodega Bay. I don’t think I’ve ever driven this stretch of Hwy 1 before, but it is a very windy road! The scenery is beautiful, of course, and the weather was sunny. What a great day for a drive.

Once we reached Bodega Bay, we popped into the Tides and looked out at the bay. Even though we were still full from our delicious breakfast earlier that morning (Mumsy makes amazing onion and mushroom scrambled eggs), we still made the executive decision to get ourselves a crab sandwich. So off to the Spud Point Crab Shack we went, and one long line and 15 minutes later, we had our crab sandwich in hand. It didn’t last long.

Since we were already part way around the bay (the crab shack is near the Bodega Bay marina), we ventured the few more miles up to Bodega Head to look out on the ocean. What a wonderful setting. It was mid-afternoon, the sun was shining, and even with the constant whipping winds, it was positively beautiful. We walked down to the beach and watched the waves breaking on the surrounding rocks, reflecting on our fabulous day.

Our next adventure? Well, touring the wine country, of course!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Easter weekend. We are sure enjoying ourselves out in sunny California.