Labor day is a bittersweet holiday. Yes, it’s a three-day weekend, and who doesn’t love that. And yes, the weather is usually nice this time of year. But it also signals the end of summer and… what? another summer come and gone?.. with days getting shorter and cooler and the rains of winter around the corner. So I’m usually inspired to get out of town on this weekend and do something beyond the typical street fair, enjoy the last of summer with a bit of nature involved.
The town of Point Reyes Station is always a delightful place to escape to, with its quaint downtown that includes shops like the Bovine Bakery, Cowgirl Creamery and Station House Café. You’re also close to some beautiful coastal beaches and waterways, and on Sunday the Point Reyes National Seashore is the setting for an annual sand sculpture contest. The contest is more an excuse to make the drive up to this west Marin area, but keep driving through rolling hills, or on Hwy 1 along Tomales Bay, up to Bodega Bay and Sonoma Coast State Park. You can stop for a picnic of fresh oysters along the way, at Hog Island or Tomales Bay Oyster Company and reaffirm your reasons for living here. If you come up this way on Monday, stop by the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre west of Fairfax. It’s a beautiful setting, and on Monday the always compelling teacher and author Jack Kornfield conducts a class on the practices of awareness and compassion.
To the south, Half Moon Bay is another great coastal getaway town. Drive south to Pescadero and stop at one of several beaches between, or up to Skyline Blvd and the King’s Mountain Art Fair in the redwoods. Or sit back at one of HMB’s beachside bar/restaurants and watch the sun fade into the Pacific.
If you just want to stay in the city, make a day of it in and around Dolores Park. Start out at a nearby café for coffee and pastries, like Ritual Coffee or Tartine Bakery, then stake out a spot in the park for some live theater from the San Francisco Mime Troupe. If you have little ones, the refurbished playground is a wonderland of slides and sand. End the day with ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery, or, a few blocks south, Mitchell’s.
Otherwise, host a barbeque and invite your friends. Unless you go way out of town, it’s not always easy to fill up three days with solid activities, so an afternoon get-together is always appreciated.