We’re proud to say that Helena Price has been a friend of ONA for many years — you may recall her appearance on our blog a year and a half ago (a “Where ONA Goes” feature in San Francisco), and her cameo in the Palma video. This year, Helena and her co-pilot Martin are bringing us a special Valentine’s Day edition of Where ONA Goes, in which we join them on a romantic road trip through beautiful Northern California. From cute coffee shops to beachfront picnics to sunset spots, Helena and Martin’s itinerary has it all.
Helena Price: I carry my camera (and therefore my Chelsea) absolutely everywhere with me. In the last year alone, my Chelsea has joined me for meetings in New York. It’s road tripped around Michigan and explored the rain forests of Western Washington. It’s ridden on my bike handlebars through Mexico City, and cruised with me through the Caribbean. It’s seen the fjords of Norway, traveled miles of sidewalks through Paris and London, and it’s even joined me in Berlin clubs ’til sunrise. The bag has seen a lot.
When I’m not traveling, I’m still constantly planning tiny, one-day trips to pacify my need for adventuring. One of my favorite ways to get out of town is to drive up the California coast, just an hour or two north of my home base of San Francisco. It’s easy to do, and whether you’re a local or visiting Northern California, I couldn’t recommend this day trip enough as a way to spend your weekend.
“Tiny road trip” preparation is easy. I grabbed my Chelsea, my guy and his Leather Union Street, rented a Zipcar (Get a membership even if you’re visiting! Or renting a regular car works too), and we got on our way by 10 AM.
The Perfectly Romantic NorCal Tiny Road Trip
Stop 1: Trouble Coffee, San Francisco
Before you leave San Francisco, drive straight to the ocean and grab a coffee and toast at Trouble. Take it to go and eat it on the beach. You’ll have enough fuel in you to handle the roads for a couple of hours.
Once you’ve finished your toast, drive north. You’ll pass so many wonderful things on the first hour of this drive, starting with the Golden Gate Bridge, the hilly vistas of Marin, ice cream shops in Saulsalito, redwood hiking in Muir Woods, incredible views at Muir Overlook, seafood shacks in Stinson Beach, woody trails on Mount Tamalpais, and more. Do it all, or choose randomly from the list — you can’t go wrong.
Stop 3: Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Station
Your next destination is Point Reyes Station, a tiny town approximately 50 miles north of San Francisco. You are probably hungry by this point, and here you can get everything you need for a perfect road trip picnic. As the name implies, they have cheese (so much cheese), but they also have everything from roast chickens to salads to charcuterie to wine and coffee. Stock up on everything you want and take it to-go. If you’d like to kill a little extra time in town, go check out the farmers’ market and old saloon just up the street.
Stop 4: Picnic spot, Point Reyes
Your next stop is Point Reyes proper, a peninsula boasting over 70,000 acres of dairy farms, hilly trails, and cliffy beaches. It also happens to be a damn good spot to have a picnic.
We plopped down at Drakes Beach to eat our bounty, then drove to the end of the peninsula to hike around Chimney Rock and say hi to the deer and sea lions. I’d highly recommend grabbing a map, picking your own path, and exploring as much as you have time for.
If you end up exploring Point Reyes until dark, that’s A-OK. But if you do happen to be driving back down Highway 1 as the sun is setting, pick any of the tiny vistas along the road to pull your car over and enjoy the last minutes of sunlight while they last. You may be a little later getting back to the city, but it’s worth it.