I love the water. I love mountains. I do not love camping. Being outside is great - swimming, kayaking, hiking, biking. I'm all about outdoor activities, but once the physical activity is over, I want to retire to a high thread count bed, citrus flavored shower gel and a nice glass of wine in proper stemware. Unfortunately the outdoor enjoyment doesn't always pair with civilized accommodation. Retiring to a campground or bunk filled cabin is a sure enough way to ruin a good time in the great outdoors for me.
So perhaps you can imagine my trepidation with booking a trip to the pristine coastline of West Marin. I was ready for hiking, eating and exploring, but where could I stay to maximize my time in the area? There's more than enough campgrounds in the area, but as discussed, that would not a good trip make for me. Then I learned about Nick's Cove.
Nick's had cottages on the water and with water views, but that could mean a lot of things. Bunk beds? Nope, they featured king size beds with plush down comforters. As old as the coastline? They actually took over 8 years to do a full remodel, complete in 2007.
There's wood burning stoves in each place to keep you warm as the night's get colder, in addition to heated ceramic tile floors in the bathroom. Oh yes, I had found nirvana.
After arriving at Nick's after our hike in Point Reyes National Seashore, my sister-in-law and I were greeted with freshly plucked and grilled oysters, a complimentary welcome for all guests. We enjoyed them at the bar with a crisp Albarino before taking a walk on the dock to watch the sun go down.
Another feature I always look for when traveling, and not camping, is a good restaurant in close proximity. If I'm enjoying a glass of wine, I want to be close to home. Nick's again to the rescue with a well sourced menu utilizing local vendors, in addition to their own hand grown garden.
Nick's garden, called the Croft, is open to the public for wandering. The greens were growing with wild abandon. They also have a small greenhouse where their micro-greens thrive.
Hens were happily clucking in the sun and getting ready to help prepare our breakfast eggs for the morning.
Nick's tries to feature one item from the garden on every dish in the restaurant. We went with the chef's 5 course tasting menu to try and get a good sampling of it all, and also chose the well-priced $25 wine pairing. The wine list is extensive with nice local selections, as well as an impressive Cellar list with higher end wines from names like Sea Smoke, Ramey and Linne Calodo (love their Problem Child blend). Try and time your visit for a wine Wednesday when you can get half off that Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve or other favorite wine.
The menu started with local oysters, BBQ'd, baked and braised. It was hard to pick a favorite, but the bacon braised oyster was definitely a front runner.
A hearty and warm tri-color cauliflower salad was perfectly dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and a house smoked bacon. I could eat this for dinner any night of the week.
I love a good seared scallop, but never thoughts about putting it on couscous like Nick's does. It works as did the carrot-coriander puree. The carrots were from the garden, naturally. An apple gastrique brought bright notes to tie it all together.
The wood fired angus flat iron was beautifully served, surrounded by pomegranates and topped with a creamy blue cheese-fig butter. I can never have enough mushrooms and the maitakes were simply and well prepared.
We finished our meal with a chocolate medley. There was a flourless chocolate base and chocolate mousse, as well as candied pecans. Rich and decadent, and the perfect ending to retire to my high thread count sheets and plush down comforter.
We were up early to grab a pre-breakfast walk along the water to soak in more of the unspoiled scenery. The pristine coastline is something I could never tire of seeing.
The in-room breakfast that they offered allowed us to continue to admire the view before we had to head back.
It was a perfect retreat from the busyness of city life. The scenery offered a great urban escape, while Nick's provided all the extra amenities for a special getaway, enjoyed in style.
Read here what else to see and do while staying in Marshall or West Marin, CA.
* I was a guest of Nick's Cove, but all opinions are always my own.