As we approach one of the most desperately needed long weekends of the year, I’ve been thinking about where I would ideally like to spend Presidents’ Day. It turns out that the answer was right in front of me—or rather, just a few years behind me. After giving recent billing to my adopted home of Portland, Oregon, I turn this week’s focus to my first home, the natural wonderland of Marin County, California.
It’s hardly a secret that Northern California has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. With its hairpin curves, blankets of spring wildflowers, and hills that shine golden in the sun, coastal Highway One is a showcase of natural wonder. Lesser known, however, is the quiet allure of the Sea Ranch, a 5,200-acre refuge of private homes, oceanfront trails, and some of the state’s most dramatic, unspoiled scenery.
For much of this blog’s life, I’ve written about the virtues of living and traveling in the San Francisco Bay Area. From towering redwood forests to a ruggedly beautiful coastline, the natural splendor of Northern California has made it one of the most alluring destinations in the United States. So what happens when you add in a world-class wine region and some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the nation?
Some people are just born lucky. They’re blessed with a creative mind, a unique talent, or the ability to learn—and retain—foreign languages. They have model good looks or always win raffle prizes. But in my case, luck (and some very wise parents) would give me the opportunity to grow up on the edge of an extraordinary city—a lovely confluence of hills, fog, arts, culture, and cuisine, all packed into a seven-by-seven-mile square.
“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.” —John Muir