Kim's Travel Diary Part IV: No Sleep 'Til NoCal

Kim Hastreiter
Monday and it's the Fourth of July! Time to continue our road trip north towards Vancouver. This time I'm traveling with my dear friend Laura Wills (owner of NYC vintage staple Screaming Mimi's). We check out of the Clift hotel, pack up our bags and head north across the Golden Gate bridge towards West Marin which we are told is a secret, chic gorgeous spot with great surf and amazing beaches. The locals there supposedly keep tearing down all the road signs to keep the tourists away.

We were invited to celebrate the Fourth at a bash at the West Marin home of my friend, the industrial designer Yves Behar and his super-great lady Sabrina Buell. And what a glamorous, fun party they had on their huge back lawn high above the Pacific ocean. There were ridiculously yummy pizzas made by a fabulous local husband and wife team whose pizza oven sat on the back of a flatbed. We're talking toppings like nectarine and nettles and smoked salmon and potatoes. Best pizza I've ever had. Omg. And local rosé . By the way IT'S ALL ABOUT ROSE, FOLKS.  This is all anyone who knows anything is drinking since we arrived in Friscoland. For dessert, there were heaps of chocolate made locally by another couple, Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossetto (the original founders of Wired magazine who now are in chocolate business!) I met so many new friends like Alice Waters (who was singing the praises of Creative Growth), filmmaker Joel Coen and Davia Nelson, of NPR's "Kitchen Sisters." I also caught up with old friends like the great artist Barry McGee, who lives down the road, Bar Jules' Jessica Boncutter, Modern Appeal Clothing's siblings Ospital, Art Production Fund's Yvonne Force and hubby artist Leo Villereal, Creative Gowths Tom Di Maria, Palm Springs hotelier David Dixon, and at least five ex-PAPER interns who have gone on to flourish on this coast! What a FUN day.

We finally dragged ourselves away from West Marin drunk on pizza to head to Manka's Lodge where we'd rented cabins for a few days in Inverness. Manka's is another hidden gem, tucked in the woods with no signs, no cellphone service and nothing but an Airstream trailer plopped on a dirt road announcing you've arrived and a big glass of local red wine to greet us. I stayed in the beyond fabulous Manka's cabin which was like a Ralph Lauren fantasy with elk heads over a stone fireplace, Hudson's Bay goose down, 600-thread-count bedding, a bathroom that looked like a Restoration Hardware ad with a huge stone outdoor shower covered in vines and a jacuzzi on the Adirondack deck. Breakfast delivered to my door in the morning was fresh-pressed apple juice, polenta with porcini mushrooms, local heritage-smoked prosciutto and a New York Times. This was all plopped outside my door in a tin kettle with a haiku poem, linens and silver cutlery on Heath dishes (of course). This rustic, five-star place was crazy over the top. I've never experienced anything like it. We snooped around the Point Reyes peninsula and drove through dozens of dairy farms with huge, happy, fat cows everywhere to what seemed like the edge of the earth to the Point Reyes lighthouse. No wonder the cheese is so good here!

After leaving the Manka's woodsy vibe, we took a long, hairy coastal drive, finally arriving at the Sea Ranch Lodge. OMFG! This community called the Sea Ranch is totally amazing and gorgeous. Set high upon the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, the Ranch is an architectural wet dream that I've longed to see for the past 20 years. Today my dream came true as we snaked the winding paths of this awesome architectural colony set on one of the most magnificent pristine slices of ocean-front Pacific Northwest. Like an early '70s timewarp, these quirky windswept, 20th century wood and glass gems are American Modernism at its best. I'm TOTALLY inspired. The lodge is also in a ridiculous setting...the kind that no matter how many pictures you take, you can never manage to capture the beauty and majesty of. I slept deeply with open windows, listening to crashing waves. The next day I hiked a bit and saw big deer with horns. (Hopefully I'll spot some seals before we set off on our big trek to the Rogue Riverfront tomorrow in southern Oregon. Can't wait to drive through through the mother of all weed-land, Humboldt County, tomorrow for some amazing hippie inspiration. We are already getting so much California crazy/hippie architecture inspiration out here as it is that I think I'm getting a contact high. (Or it might be those super high-end, schmancy pot chocolates that my friends gifted me in San Francisco before I left. YUM. I love Northern California.) See you soon!

Subscribe to Get More