7.23.2010

A Change of Scenery

As summer wears on and the mercury climbs closer to the century mark, you might find yourself needing a change of scenery just as much as a tall glass of ice water. Time to pack a picnic, dig out some sweatshirts from the back of the closet, fill the tank with biodiesel and head out on a family adventure. Destination: the beach.

It's a long drive and the kids will ask about a zillion times if you're there yet, but you'll enjoy the scenery along the way.

sunflowers

Fields full of sunflowers and orchards ripe with fruit.

golden hills

Rolling golden hills dotted with cows and oaks.

long road home

Farmhouses surrounded by fertile fields where your dreams could easily flourish.

You're almost there when you reach the dairy farms and cattle ranches that are so close to the ocean and so far from civilization, you'll wonder if the people living there consider it a blessing or a curse. Roll down the window and take a deep whiff of pastures and salt water mingling with fog and eucalyptus.

Take only what you need from the car once you reach the end of the road and the beginning of the trail down to the beach:

here, have a beer

Beer, food, blanket, baseball, gloves, camera.






This certainly is not the California beach of songs and movies. No, this is rugged, stark, wild and gray. Not a palm tree or beach ball in sight. It's a natural and organic feast for the senses.

aidan at the beach

crab feast



avery at the beach

beach fiber



IMG_3613



Finish the box of chocolate pretzel bark you brought to sweeten your picnic lunch and fill the box with the treasures you found. The box is small, but that's OK.

IMG_3618

Your camera's media card and your memory will hold most of the treasures you discovered at the beach.

sand sculpture

On the way up the trail away from the beach, notice all the things you missed on the way down.

caterpillars

caterpillar

Look out for caterpillars, and don't be startled by the dried seed pods that rattle like snakes when you brush against the bushes lining the path. Make sure to empty the sand out of your shoes and use the bathroom, because as you know, it's a long drive home.

mt. tamalpais, for tara.mama.wendy

Stop by a brewery on the way home, because hoppy beer, salty peanuts and live music will provide the perfect ending for your adventure. Try not to let so much time pass before your next excursion. A change of scenery is good for the soul, good for the family, and exactly what you need.

54 comments:

  1. What a cool adventure. I cannot believe you all needed a sweatshirt. We are in our third week of temps in the high 90s and humiture ratings of over 100 degrees. I love your pics. I was so captivated, I had to roll back up and make sure I hadn't skipped any writing.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

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  2. This is just what I needed! We are new to California, and I have just been ITCHING for a beach excursion... Must do it soon!

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  3. You've made me nostalgic for Medocino and the drive up from San Fran is one of my favorites. I dreamed of living in Tomalas Bay. Years ago when we would drive up the dairy farms would have signs that said they were part of the Horizon Co-op. I thought that was so cool. You could see where your butter was coming from. The headlands are so beautiful and Redtail Ale is on my top 5 list for beers and the brewery rocks. Hopland is a gem, did you stop by the Real Goods store? Fetzer wine tasting? Ah, I am in serious need of a vaca.
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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  4. stunning photographs molly!
    the wild untouched beaches are the ones that i love too! and your sentiments about your camera taking home the treasures is just perfect. what a beautiful time with you family, i feel relaxed just reading about it! xo

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  5. Wonder of wonder's to behold. Your beach adventure a'la'natural was a splendid refreshment, even from a distance.

    Beautiful photographs too!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  6. your photos are ALWAYS my favorite. the story they tell...

    now i have this urge to pack my bags and get out of here. oh how i love summer and being able to just jump up and go.

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  7. A lovely country/beach outing - thank you. I feel better for it!

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  8. I love the coast of northern California. There is nothing else like it. We need to take a trip... (sigh)

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  9. Oh to the sea, to the sea! Dreamy.

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  10. i'm ready to jump in the car now!! how far is a long drive? we are 4 hours from the ocean. sigh.

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  11. I love Northern California beaches! There's so much to explore and experience that you don't have in the southern part of the state.

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  12. Oh boy, now I really need a northern ca roadtrip to the ocean. I'm missing it badly most times of the year, but especially in the summer and better yet, indian summer. I absolutely loved your photos and the way you combined them in this post. Beautiful.

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  13. beautiful, molly.
    thinking about a change of scenery.
    what a blessing to change how you think of something.

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  14. What a wonderful day trip! I did a double take when you said you had to get your sweatshirt from the back of your closet...I was like wait...what? But then I realized...west coast water is very very cold! I am really in need of a day trip with the family! I loved your post..every picture was so beautiful! I absolutely loved the sand sculpture!! And you are definately right...a change of scenery is so good for the soul!!

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  15. Love this. Love love love it.

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  16. This is exactly what this mama needs... and soon!

    Your photographs are amazing. Thanks for sharing this adventure!

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  17. I just started reading your blog and I love your photos. The idea of needing a sweatshirt cooled me off. Thanks for the little vacation.

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  18. what treasures you found...I need a visit to the beach. thank you for the inspiration

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  19. wow.
    your photos are amazing.
    how are you doing your diptychs?

    time to get to me to an ocean I think.

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  20. hi all! we went to point reyes, followed by lagunitas in petaluma.

    i made the diptychs using picnik.

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  21. All those sights are so familiar to this former Bay Area California girl. What a treat to retreat to the ocean.

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  22. I'm in the Pacific NW and your beaches are just like ours - the best kind of beach is the ones that you need a sweatshirt for in my humble opinion! Now, I'm thinking the beach could be a great day trip for us next weekend - thanks for the inspiration!

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  23. you are so flippin' good, my friend.
    xo

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  24. I knew I missed it, but seeing it... really seeing the beaches of my childhood and the roads I drove in my very first car... I can't thank you enough, Molly. What a gift. Your pictures transport us all, it seems. xox

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  25. uh, molly, I'm going to come see you.

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  26. Great advice! I love seeing all the awesome pics from your adventure. The face in the sand is great!

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  27. Absolutely fantastic pictures. I could smell the salty air and feel the breeze on my face. Looks like a wonderful outing and a great day of making memories!

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  28. Yesterday I watched the 'how to use your camera video' 18 months after I got it. I finished filled with such inspiration..and then seeing your photos today definitely made me pick up my camera and get shooting. What an amazing trip--I love finding fields of sunflowers!

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  29. we just hit the 104˚ mark. i'm so glad i came to take a peek at what you've been up to. i feel a little refreshed though i won't need the comfort of a sweatshirt for a few more months!
    beautiful photos, molly!

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  30. I love the face in the sand! What a cool find!! Kind of creepy!

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  31. "A change of scenery is good for the soul"...never were there truer words spoken :)

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  32. it IS exactly what I/we need. Luckily we have changes of scenery planned, but not soon enough! Thanks for letting us come on your excursion. I can't imagine the smells of the farm and of salt air converging. Beautiful photos, as always.

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  33. its winter here but i think that is just what we need too! great photos - i feel like i have been there!

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  34. can't wait to walk the trails of Point Reyes again!

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  35. i would have loved to have taken that excursion with you. loved the packing list...only the necessities!

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  36. We're getting our Northern California "fix" soon. We lived in the city during grad school and your "neck-of-the-woods" was our favorite weekend getaway. So many great excursions so close by. MISS IT!!! Loved the photos.

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  37. Oh Molly what a beautiful picture parade. Love the shot of your son in mid-air.

    Yes, trips to the beach are what fills the summertime soul.

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  38. I LOVE sunflowers! and that beach is AWESOME!

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  39. I was born in the Bay Area and lived in California until 1962. Someone just told me that all the lovely farms were gone, so I am pleased to see that it's not so.

    Petaluma looms large in my personal mythology - have never been, would love to visit it sometime.

    Stunning photos as always!

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  40. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    I live across the country now, but grew up in Novato and your pictures made me homesick!

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  41. Breathtaking! Love the sparse words and the sumptuous images! Not quite the So Cal beach withing walking distance of us, but it's making me long for the Central Coast! We're so lucky to live on the edge of the USA!

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  42. Great pictures! Sounds like a relaxing outing.

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  43. Heart's Desire?
    This is one of my favorite beaches...and there is a 1/4 mile hike down:)

    I love a good beach day, and grew up in Petaluma where beaches were just a short trek. Now that I live in Sacramento, my kids have only been to the beach a handful of times.

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  44. Amazing photos - a beautiful day - and such fun narration.

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  45. Love this post. And so glad your on habit this month!

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  46. What a beautiful post! I am also from the foothills of Northern California, but am now living in landlocked Colorado. When I tell my friends here that I want to take the kids to the beach, they envision palm trees and volleyball courts. That doesn't excite me at all...the life up there is amazing, it's everywhere. And it's such a harsh, unforgiving environment that the life that does flourish is all the more loveable.

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  47. i just cried, looking at these.
    (i need two lives. or three. there are so many places to be)
    thank you, sweet molly friend.

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  48. Where is this beautiful beach? I live in Los Angeles.

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  49. RhondaNCBuckeye4LifeJuly 04, 2011

    Love this post. Refreshingly beautiful! Thanks for sharing :D

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