West Marin

West Marin has some of the planet’s coolest communities, literally and figuratively, including Point Reyes Station, Olema, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Tomales, Dillon Beach and Inverness. Bordered by the wild Pacific Ocean and regular Marin, these towns are the definition of bucolic living, with pastures of grazing cattle and sheep and a landscape dotted with century-old farmhouses and blink-andyou’ll- miss-it main streets. Oh, and this is also ground zero for excellent farm-to-table cuisine. For geology buffs, the fact that Point Reyes lies on a different tectonic plate than the rest of the coast is proof enough that West Marin is where it’s at.

Bivalve Bounty

EAT While many of us are missing the freshly shucked Drakes Bay oysters, there are many other places to savor these briny treats or grab a bag to take home.

1. HOG ISLAND OYSTER CO. 20215 Hwy 1 (Marshall), 415.663.9218, hogislandoysters.com

2. OSTERIA STELLINA 11285 Hwy 1 (Point Reyes Station), 415.663.9988, osteriastellina.com

3. SALTWATER OYSTER DEPOT 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd (Inverness), 415.669.1244, saltwateroysterdepot.com

4. THE MARSHALL STORE, OYSTER BAR AND SMOKEHOUSE (pictured) 19225 Hwy 1 (Marshall), 415.663.1339, themarshallstore.com

5. TONY’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT 18863 Hwy 1 (Marshall), 415.663.1107

Bank Shot

PLAY It’s no surprise that some of the best (as in have seen the most action) pool tables in our county are in the dimly lit bars of West Marin. If only the felt could talk. Here are four of our favorite spots to kick back and break a few balls.

6. BREAKERS CAFE These tables are part of an übercool new beer garden. Breakers in Stinson Beach makes the list because it looks like a movie set for “best night ever.” Imagine, two bright new shiny tables in an open-air shed with a large well-stocked bar. stinsonbeachcafe.com

7. OLD WESTERN SALOON Situated in the heart of Point Reyes Station, the homey, dive-y bar has three tables in the back room. 415.663.1661

8. PAPERMILL CREEK SALOON This one-room local-favorite dive bar in Forest Knolls boasts two well-loved, well-used pool tables. 415.488.9235

9. SMILEY’S SCHOONER SALOON (pictured) Famously one of the oldest bars in the state, Bolinas’ Smiley’s has a movable pool table, which makes way for the band. smileyssaloon.com

Colorful Characters

PLAY Dinoflagellates (dine-oh-flaj-ehlets) are some of the most distinctive creatures one might bump into in West Marin. As these single-celled protists photosynthesize and are disturbed by a fish or a seal swimming by — or a paddle in the water — they create the magic glow known to us multicellular organisms as bioluminescence. This natural light show is best observed during a new moon, or in as little light as possible. While anyone can go out onto Tomales Bay with a boat or float, a few touring companies are prepared with stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and even after paddle s’mores to help you enjoy the spectacle and make a night of it. For the rest of 2015 trips will be scheduled August 3–16, September 1–14, October 2–14 and November 1–8. bluewaterskayaking.com, clavey.com, supodyssey.com, pointreyesoutdoors.com