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Tomales, Dillon Beach & Marshall - California

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Along Tomales Bay

The village of Marshall is hard to identify. As a collection of buildings -- oyster farms, homes, restaurants and stores scattered along Highway 1 -- it sort of sneaks up on you. You know you're near Marshall when you see Tony's Seafood Restaurant. Tony's has to be be the best casual seafood place in the region (some say the world) and it's mainly because of the atmosphere. When you get out of your car and try to find the entrance door, you have to run a gantlet of oyster shuckers and crab whackers, on the sidewalk, preparing lunch or dinner. Inside, the ambience is decidedly rustic, but the view of Tomales Bay is wonderful, the food is terrific, and your hunger will be well-satisfied. If Tony's has a long lineup, try Nick's Cove, along Hwy. 1 north of Tony's.

Tomales is a small village, but there are reasons for staying -- not the least is its Victorian charm. An old historic hotel, built in 1866 as the Continental and then re-built as the United States Hotel in the 1890s, has been rebuilt (again) and is again called the Continental Inn (707) 878-2396. It is a top-quality bed and breakfast operation, and the eight large upstairs rooms have their own private baths and are furnished with antiques. Tomales Country Inn (707-878-9992) is an old 1899 Victorian farmhouse, now a B and B home with an English garden and gabled guest rooms.

The William Tell House is a bar and restaurant, which has been in Tomales for a many years. There's a very long bar, and the dining room features prime rib, roast duck, seafood pasta and other filling items. The deli named Country Delights serves breakfast and stocks meats, cheeses and such for take-out. There's a bakery next door.

Off Highway 1, and north of Tomalses Bay, Dillon Beach offers excellent ocean fishing and crabbing, as well as clam digging, rock fishing and hunting abalone. The hill overlooking the beach has several winding streets on which small vacation homes are pitched. Lawson's Resort (707-878-2204) has housekeeping cottages for rent by the weekend or week. The beach is privately owned, with a charge for day use. Part of the dunes area is an RV park, operated by Lawson's Resort. To get to Dillon Beach, drive along Hwy. 1 to Tomales or Valley Ford and turn weat, toward the ocean.

For other places to stay and eat
along the Marin Coast,
Go to
Olema and Pt. Reyes Station, or Inverness.

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