Summer Tales 2022 Day 2 | Point Reyes

I am recapping the wonderful time that I had with my family here in the States this summer. See all related posts under the category:  summer tales. (I’ve done these recap posts the last few times when I had family visit, and if you want to see how fast kids grow up, check out one of the previous posts from 2015.)

We did not waste any time. We started our vacation with a shorter, 5-day trip to the Bay Area on Wednesday. In hindsight, we should have maybe planned an extra day or two for everyone to acclimate to the timezone and heat, but hey, sleep is overrated and the Bay Area promised to be significantly cooler than the Central Valley. So there was that. 

As the Bay Area is notoriously expensive, we decided to stay two nights at the Inn Marin & Suites Ascend Hotel in Novato in the North Bay and take day trips from there. It was also a relatively short drive from Sacramento. We arrived around lunch time and were able to check in a little early, which left the rest of the afternoon to explore.

We had previously contemplated and decided that the Earthquake Trail in Bear Valley and the Point Reyes Lighthouse would be doable in the time window we had left for the day.

First, we drove about 40 minutes to the Bear Valley Visitor Center, where I was able to get the first stamp for my National Park Passport. Have you heard of the National Park Passport? It’s a small booklet (in dark blue, like the US passport) that you can use to collect “stamps” at every National Park that you visit. It also serves a good cause.

When you participate in the Passport To Your National Parks® program, you help support America’s national parks. All net proceeds from the program are donated to support vital educational and interpretive programs at sites managed by the National Park Service.

If that’s not a good reason to participate, I don’t know what is.

After that, we went on the short 1km Earthquake Trail where you can learn more about the San Andreas Fault that runs right through there. In case you didn’t know, I wrote my thesis about the San Andreas Fault, so I have a weird fascination with this particular geologic phenomenon. It’s probably why a lot of people think that I work in earthquake science (which sadly, I do not, although I have occasionally been involved with projects related to earthquakes).


My sister insisted that she remembered that we had already been there on her first visit to the USA (which for whatever strange reason I can’t seem to recall). She said that she remembered this trail, where these two offset wooden fences illustrate the 10-foot shift that occurred along the San Andreas Fault during the 1906 earthquake. (Fascinating, eh?)



We then drove on to the  Point Reyes Lighthouse on the very tip of the Point Reyes National Seashore. It was pretty cool and windy right on the water. Unfortunately both the visitor center and the stairs down to the lighthouse were closed when we arrived, but we still enjoyed the view.



Me and my Dad


My mom and sister


We were back at the hotel around 7 p.m. and had to decide relatively quickly what we wanted to do for dinner (a problem that was to accompany us for most of the trip), because of course we didn’t know any restaurants in the area and had to search for a few ideas on Google . On top of that, most of the restaurants here in the US close very early, sometimes as early as 8:30 or 9 p.m., so we had to find somewhere to eat fast.

We decided to check out the Mexican restaurant, Maya Palenque, right near our hotel. That seemed the easiest option for the evening. Since the place was kind of crowded indoors, we asked to be seated on the patio and we got a table away from other people. We weren’t going to take any (unnecessary) risks with Covid, even though it was a bit chilly and we had to keep our jackets on.

  1. Wow! What a lovely area of the country you’re able to show off to your family. It looks like you had so much fun and these recaps make it seem like I’m enjoying a small getaway to California, too!

    1. Thanks, D. – keep following along, more to come ;)

  2. Mexican is always a great choice – and patio seating can’t hurt.
    I keep telling people you work in the “earthquake field”, even though I know better 😂 It’s just your weird fascination of earthquakes ….

    1. Mexican is ALWAYS a good choice – yes!

      Haha, and you really DO KNOW better.

  3. Wow! That looks lovely (and surprisingly chilly at the lighthouse – it reminds me of Nova Scotia where it can be hot and sunny inland and FREEZING at the coast).

    The food looks yummy and must have tasted extra good after a busy day of outdoor adventuring. Side note: I HATE making decisions about where to eat. Some of this likely stems from the fact I have a terrible time with spending money and so I always, always think of how much cheaper I could make something at home. But I also hate choices and get overwhelmed in picking a place and then overwhelmed again when I have to order. It always shocks me how much some people enjoy finding and trying new restaurants because I LOVE returning to favourite places again and again where I know the food will be good and, more often than not, I’ll order the same thing I had the last time I visited.

    1. Yes! Northern California is very much like that – hot and sunny inland and freezing at the coast :)

      The eating out situation was really hard throughout the trip. We had a couple of places where we stayed for a few days and could cook at our rental place, but when that was not an option, it was always a last minute frantic Google-affair LOL

  4. It made me smile thinking the difference between us – 9:00 seems so late for me to have dinner! But then again, I’m a pretty early-to-bed-early-to-rise girl.
    Those photos look so lovely!

  5. What a beautiful area! I have not been there but the views kind of remind me of the Torrey Pines area of San Diego. I’ve been to the Bay Area a couple of times but there is still so much we’d love to see. My good friend lives in Oakland and loves to show us around so I’d love to go back out there when our kids are older!

  6. I did not know your thesis was on the st Andreas fault. So fun to learn something new after so many years reading along.
    Getting dinner at vacation (or food) in general is my stressor #1.

  7. Looks like a beautiful place!! I smiled so big when I got to the pic of you and your Dad. I love getting pics with my Dad (and my mom, of course!), too. I feel like it’s easy to forget to take those sorts of pictures when you’re an adult. Or in my case, we are so focused on taking pictures of the boys, that I sometimes forget to capture my parents! And those will be such cherished photos one day. :) Also, I smiled at the pic of is it your nephew, I think? Looked like you were traveling with one of my kiddos. Haha! (I know you said the kids’ ages in your last post, but I can’t recall the exact ages now, but looks around my boys’ age.) The kids look like great traveling ages, and hopefully they appreciate these travel opportunities here in the U.S.! That one picture made me think of the coast in Ireland- similar weather, in some ways! Foggy/ drizzly/ etc. I’m glad you’re still going back and writing these recaps. I was just telling my husband yesterday- I recapped all of our March Europe trip on the blog except the last ~4 days- which were the rest of Rome, plus Dublin! I NEED to finish those, because we saw some amazing stuff in those last few days! I need to make it a goal to finish before, I don’t know- December 1st or something. :)

  8. I love all the pictures of the family in different groupings, too. You did an amazing job documenting the visit and now will have so many visual memories to go along with those you hold in your heart. <3
    I totally get the Google-a-restaurant-quick issue! My parents and I confronted that earlier this summer when we were away together – and we are in broad agreement on where we like to eat! It's finding just the right place that's open and has the right set up and… yeah. :)
    Love reading about northern CA… one of my favorite places to live in my adult life. It was a wonderful time. Ah, nostalgia….
    Can't wait for more recaps!

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