Archive for the ‘The Black Heron Inn News’ Category

Bioluminescence in Tomales Bay

October 30th, 2013 by mamie

Our inn overlooks Tomales Bay but on a recent dark October night, we experienced it from a different angle.  Bill and I went on the Blue Waters Kayak bioluminescence paddle.  Bill had seen the phenomenon in waves before but I didn’t know what to expect.  Blue Waters Kayak is an outfit that operates out of Marshall and Inverness. We met a group of fellow kayakers in Marshall, just a 20 minute drive north on Route 1 from our inn. We were taught the basics of kayaking, outfitted with a paddle, a skirt jacket and a skirt for the kayak to keep us dry. We all got into our two man kayaks and paddled across the bay,  We were lucky to have just a little wind. From May until the rains come, there are two types of bioluminescent critters that light up Tomales Bay.  In the dark of the night, you can see the phenomenon in pockets of the bay that are particularly warm, and you dip in the paddle or stir the waters with your hand for a swash of light and sparkles.  The evening turned out to be magical, not only did we see the bioluminescence, we paddled under the sparkling Milky Way, surrounded by the silhouette of Inverness Ridge and the few lights of Marshall.  We had twinkling stars above us and shimmering sparkles beneath us.  What a wonderful night in West Marin.

Mt. Tam Climb

March 6th, 2011 by greg

Biking on Mt Tamalpas

Biking on Mt Tamalpias

For Bay Area cyclists, the Bovine Bakery in downtown Point Reyes Station functions as a giant, scone-powered magnet, drawing hungry peddlers in from San Francisco, Petaluma, and all points in between. But Point Reyes Station isn’t just a great destination for cyclists; it’s also a great starting point. If you like rolling terrain and cows, you can head west on the peninsula to the Point Reyes Lighthouse or Tomales Point. If you like rolling terrain and sheep, you can pedal north to Valley Ford and beyond. Go all the way to Jenner and the coastline turns spectacular. Turn off at Coleman Valley Road and you can take on a climb that has featured prominently in the Tour of California in recent years. Go south and you will eventually hit more spectacular coastline south of Stinson Beach. Veer east at points and you can ascend Mt. Tamalpais. If you like to ride off-road, the possibilities expand even further. Bottom line: It’s a great place for a cycling vacation. Whether you’re here for the weekend, a week, or even longer, you will be able to find spectacular and challenging rides to explore each day.

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2011 Geography of Hope Conference

March 3rd, 2011 by greg

On crisp clear mornings like we’ve been having lately, we sometimes get inspired to write sonnets in praise of the capuccino at Toby’s Coffee Bar. On March 18 – 20, though, there will be real poets wandering the streets of Point Reyes Station. That’s because Point Reyes Books is putting on the 2011 Geography of Hope Conference — three days worth of authors reading, authors eating, and authors weeding. Okay, we’re probably making up that last part, but there will be field trips to local wetlands, beaches, and other wilderness areas that boast abundant plant life, so who knows?

Co-chaired by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and award-winning poet Brenda Hillman, the conference will feature panels, readings, altar-building, an “an intergenerational dance performance at a nearby ocean beach,” and delicious catered dinners. In other words, very West Marin! The theme for the conference is “Reflections on water” — so if you’re planning to attend, what better place to stay than our own Grand View Suite, with its sweeping views of Tomales Bay?

Top 10 Favorite Hikes

November 15th, 2010 by swigert

1. ARCH ROCK VIA BEAR VALLEY. A popular trail in Point Reyes National Seashore, it is the most direct route to the ocean from the Bear Valley Visitor Center and an excellent trail for beginners and children. The trail is sheltered from sun, wind and coastal fog as it meanders through mixed Douglas fir forest and along Bear Valley Creek. Arch Rock is an overlook point. (Distance — 8.2 miles; Time — 4 hours; Level of Difficulty — Moderate)

2. TOMALES POINT TRAIL. Open trail through the Tule Elk Range offers spectacular views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. It is also a prime wildlife viewing trail. Fog and wind can limit visibility and make this hike more challenging. Trailhead is at the end of Pierce Point Road, about 40 minutes driving time from Bear Valley. (Distance — 9.5 miles; Time — 4 to 5 hours; Level of Difficulty — Moderate)

3. SKY — BEAR VALLEY LOOP. A varied hike that features mixed Douglas fir forest, open grassland, coastal views, and beach access. Climb Mt. Wittenberg Trail (1350’ elevation gain in l.4 miles) and then continue out Sky Trail to Coast Trail. Continue south on Coast Trail to Arch Rock. Enjoy your last coastal view here, before returning via Bear Valley Trail, through beautiful buckeyes and mixed Douglas fir forest and along Coast Creek. (Distance — 10.5 miles; Time — 5 hours; Level of Difficulty — Moderate/Strenuous)

4. COAST — LAGUNA LOOP. An easy walk through coastal scrub and grassland offers breathtaking ocean views. Begin on Laguna Trail, a slight climb, then descend to Coast Camp on Fir Lane Trail (turn left on Coast Trail for beach access at Coast Camp). Complete the loop by following Coast Trail northwest, a flat, open stretch of trail along coastal bluffs and then through a riparian zone, and back to the Youth Hostel. (Distance — 5 miles; Time — 2 to 3 hours; Level of Difficulty — Easy)

5. MT. WITTENBERG AND SKY CAMP FROM LIMANTOUR ROAD. This route provides an easy access to the highest point on the Point Reyes Peninsula, with a 750-foot elevation gain. Climb Sky Trail, with views of the ocean, and continue through meadows and woods to Horse Trail. Follow Horse Trail to Z Ranch Trail, which brings you to the trail to the summit of Mt. Wittenberg. Views from the summit are limited due to thick regrowth of trees after the Mt. Vision Fire in l995. Continue to the junction of Sky and Meadow Trails, and then back through Sky Camp. Begin with l0 minute drive from Bear Valley Visitor Center, at Sky Trailhead on Limantour Road. (Distance — 4.3 miles; Time — 3 hours; Level of Difficulty — Moderate)

6. BOLINAS RIDGE TRAIL. The best trail with views of Olema Valley, especially on a sunny day or a night with a full moon. Enjoy the expansive feeling of this open space. If you choose to continue beyond the first few miles, you will enter a redwood forest and eventually chaparral. Trail begins after a 5 minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center, above Olema on Sir Francis Drake Highway. (Distance — 2 to 22 miles; Time — 1 to 4 hours; Level of Difficulty — Moderate)

7. ABBOTTS LAGOON. The Abbotts Lagoon Trail, an easy stroll through open grasslands and coastal scrub, features a colorful display of spring wildflowers and excellent bird watching, especially in fall and winter. Continue on to the Great Beach, an additional .5 miles, before returning via the same trail. The trek begins with a 25 minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Take Bear Valley Road, left from the visitor center, turn left on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, and then right at Pierce Point Road. Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead is clearly marked on the left. (Distance — 3 miles; Time — 2 to 3 hours; Level of Difficulty — Easy)

8. MT. WITTENBERG LOOP. The loop features a steep l,300-foot climb to the highest point in the park (l,407-feet), with panoramic views of the seashore and Olema Valley. The loop passes through mixed Douglas fir, oak forest and several open meadows. Climb Mt. Wittenberg Trail all the way to the top, then return to Bear Valley via Z Ranch and Horse Trails, or via Meadow Trail. The Mt. Wittenberg Loop begins 0.2 mi. up the Bear Valley Trail, from the end of Bear Valley parking Lot. (Distance — 5 miles; Time — 2 to 3 hours; Level of difficulty — Strenuous)

9. CHIMNEY ROCK TRAIL. A spectacular hike with views of Drakes Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Great for spring wildflowers. Rocky cliffs drop off steeply to the water and there is no beach access. From December through April, look for migrating gray whales from the point, and elephant seals from a spur trail and lookout point near the parking lot. Fog and winds can make this hike challenging. For tide pooling, at a minus low tide, walk down the paved road to the right past the parking lot, past the Life Boat Station, and continue along the rocky beach. Tide pools are inaccessible from December through April, while elephant seals are in the area. Trail begins at the Chimney Rock Trailhead, near the Lighthouse, a 40 minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. (Distance — 1.6 miles; Time — 1 hour; Level of Difficulty — Moderate)

10. LIMANTOUR SPIT — BEACH TRAIL. This hike provides spectacular views and lots of birds. Start at Limantour parking area and head down toward the ocean. Just after passing the marsh area, turn right and head north along the trail in the dunes. Look for egrets, herons, willets, and plovers especially in the winter. At the end of the road head across the dunes to the beach, then to left again. Option: To add to the hike, continue northwest l.8 miles to the end of the spit, where you will find colonies of harbor seal. Return via the same trail or along the beach. (Distance 2 – 4 miles; Time – 2 – 3 hours; Level – Moderate)

About the Black Heron Inn

November 12th, 2010 by swigert

The Black Heron Inn located adjacent to the magnificent Point Reyes National Seashore is an hour’s drive from San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Napa-Sonoma wine country. The Black Heron Inn perched upon a gentle bluff provides guests with sweeping views of the majestic Inverness Ridge and Tomales Bay.

Located one mile north of Point Reyes Station and five miles from the villages of Inverness and Olema, each guest room at the Black Heron Inn provides breathtaking panoramic views. Sunsets are spectacular!

New Website for Black Heron Inn!

November 12th, 2010 by swigert

We have a new website by InsideOut Solutions!