My Bodega Bay Weekend Getaway

Duncan's Landing, Bodega BayFor the first time in my life, I was on the road for three straight weeks for work. To George Clooney’s character from Up in the Air, I don’t know how you do it!

Needless to say, I was craving time with my husband after being away from home, so we escaped to Bodega Bay, a coastal town in northern Sonoma County with a population of 400-900 people (depending on who you ask), for the weekend.

We left early Saturday morning, stopping for breakfast at Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley. The cafe was bright and cheery – lots of families and children dining alongside us. I ordered the corned beef hash since, according to one review I read, it’s the second best corned beef hash ever eaten. I have to admit, it wasn’t bad!Bodega Harbor Inn

Back on the road, we drove the rest of the way up to Bodega Bay passing beautiful countryside and our fair share of cows, sheep, goats and horses along the way. We arrived at our accommodations, Bodega Harbor Inn, around 1pm and were able to check in early. The owner was really quite nice and helpful. He gave us two maps and drew out half a dozen mini adventures for us.

We decided to freshen up and hit the road again. Heading North toward Jenner, we drove along highway 1 past numerous stunning beaches. Stopping at Duncan’s Landing (see above photo), we got out to ogle the dramatic cliffs and beautiful ocean water. I was already beginning to feel more At Goat Rock Beachrefreshed!

Continuing North, it wasn’t long before we arrived at Goat Rock Beach, which sits just below the Russian River Estuary. I’ve never seen a rock as peculiar as Goat Rock – I honestly wonder what force of nature plowed through the middle of rock to form a flat plateau linking shore to such an enormous rock. After pondering that for a bit, we moved onto Goat Rock Beach, which is really a pebble beach filled with rocks from the Russian River. Here I am in front of another enormous rock on the beach (though not Goat Rock).

After having our fun at Goat Rock, we decided to return back to Bodega Bay for a late afternoon snack. If we had more time, I would have loved to head east and visit the redwoods. Perhaps another time.

We drove South past the beaches and past our inn to Gourment Au Bay, which we heard was recently rated the best wine bar in the Bay Area by We tried their “red wave,” which is a flight of three 4-oz. glasses of wine served in a wooden surf board:

Red Wave @ Gourmet Au Bayand a cheese plate with mini brie, local crackers, dried cranberry and marcona almonds.

Cheese Plate @ Gourmet Au Bay

Both were really amazing. While sitting outside, we were able to watch three sealions playing in the bay and various birds skipping over the water. We ate every bite of our “snack” and went back to the inn for a nap!

By dinner time, we decided to visit Terrapin Creek which was just down the road from our inn. The owners are super cute with a new baby they carry around the restaurant while serving guests. The food was absolutely delicious! Here’s my pan seared duck breast with butternut squash and brussel sprouts:

Duck Breast

For the rest of our meal, you’ll have to visit my Bodega Bay album on Flickr. My husband’s linguine with clams and chorizo was really tasty and provided just enough kick to justify ending our meal with a creme fraiche cheesecake. Yum!

We were done eating yet… Sunday morning, we grabbed some locally-baked coffee cake and headed back South to San Francisco. We made a quick stop at the Petaluma Outlets (where we found some really amazing deals!), then headed back to Mill Valley to stop for lunch at Buckeye Roadhouse. This place was really busy with people of all ages in nice Sunday attire. We saw several birthday parties and special family occasions from our table next to the big stone fireplace.

Butternut Squash LasagnaI ordered butternut squash lasagna, which was potentially the best lasagna I’ve ever had. The butternut squash was sliced thin and layered among the lasagna noodles, leeks and cheese. Marinara sauce was ladled outside with the lasagna placed on top. Surrounding the plate, diced butternut squash, sliced Portobello mushrooms and leeks.

My husband ordered the pesto encrusted salmon, which was served atop spinach and a creamy polenta cake, then surrounded by chanterelle mushrooms and pomegranate seeds. Another winner!

Pesto Encrusted Salmon

After lunch, we hit the road, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and arrived back home to reality and a food coma.

I have to say, I felt so refreshed and relaxed after just one night away from home and two full days of eating like a queen that I found myself totally recharged for the week. Of course now we’re thinking, where to next?


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