Manka’s Inverness Lodge and Bolinas

  • Smiley’s Schooner Saloon – The heartbeat of Bolinas is Smiley’s Schooner Saloon (1851), still the home to fine beer and live music on weekends / Alison Reynolds
  • Manka’s Inverness Lodge cabin: The simple beauty of the exterior of the 100 year old hand crafted hunting cabin at Manka’s Inverness Lodge. / Alison Reynolds
  • Manka’s Cabin #1: The outside of our cabin at Manka’s Inverness Lodge, possibly the most romantic place ever / Alison Reynolds
  • Manka’s Cabin 1 interior: A fire roars in the hand hewn stone fireplace in the wonderfully appointed main cabin at Manka’s Inverness Lodge / Alison Reynolds
  • Fishing dock, Tomales bay – A fishing dock sits in Tomales Bay right across from Inverness, Pt. Reyes, and Manka’s Inverness Lodge / Alison Reynolds
  • Bolinas waterfront home – A beautiful waterfront home stands anchored in Bolinas Lagoon just around the corner from Smiley’s Saloon, in the lovely hidden town of Bolinas / Alison Reynolds

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2013 - Following the Marin County coast is an exercise in rejuvenation while rediscovering the joy of the unspoiled marvels that remain unchanged. It fulfils the desire to commune with and enjoy that which remains both genuine and timeless.

From the wonders of Muir and Stinson Beach through the charms of Bolinas, we continue on the road up the Marin County coast to the mystical and romantic Manka’s Inverness Lodge.

Just past Stinson Beach is an estuary, Bolinas Lagoon Preserve. Changing with the tides, the lagoon becomes a swampy wetland at low tide and a glistening pond at high tide.  The passing days are as dramatic as the scenery and abundant waterfowl around it.

Be careful not to miss the turnoff to legendary Bolinas, a hamlet barely as big as a postage stamp, a town so discreet the locals take down the highway sign to discourage all but the discerning from finding it.

But Bolinas is as real as the illusion of its past, a hippie hideaway that remains unchanged in many ways for more than 40 years.

Stop by Smileys Schooner Saloon, established in the whaling and gold rush days of 1851, is where bands still play every weekend to have a beer or two.  Walk the three blocks through the town, browse its shops and boutiques, its waterfront houses. It is a marvel how timeless it remains.

It may be a little ragged around the edges, but Bolinas will evoke smiles. 

Heading back out to Hwy 1, the journey continues up the coast. Passing thru farmland and national forest, through the town of Olema and its namesake restaurant and inn. Here it is genuinely little more than a crossroads. It is also the entrance to Pt. Reyes National Park and the tiny village of Inverness. 

Pt. Reyes is a wonder all its own, a towering spit of land that holds dozens of dairy farms, an epic lighthouse set at the top of a genuinely scary cliff, a herd of wild bison on its far pastureland, and a hidden beach that is as remote as it is serene. 

Manka’s Inverness Lodge is a former hunting lodge built at the turn of the 20th century that today remains one of the most romantic getaways in all of the United States.

Manka’s suffered a tragedy when the main lodge and dining room burned down in a fire several years ago, taking most of its storied wine collection with it. Three of the original cabins remained, along with a converted waterside boat house. Manka’s continued to operate and welcome guests while the main lodge and dining room are eventually rebuilt, operating their offices out of sleek Silver Stream trailers. 

Our cabin is a step back in time, hand hewn from 100 years ago, with a grand stone fireplace, and the air of a genuine hunting lodge.  At Manka’s, one simply relaxes and enjoys the ambiance. It’s the little touches, the sumptuous bed, the outdoor shower stall, the impeccable fixtures in the bathroom, that take Manka’s to the next level of uniqueness.

Light a fire in the large stone fireplace and settle in for an evening of extremely welcome cabin fever. The atmosphere is absolutely magical.

Our hosts, owners Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong, are more like welcoming relatives than inn owners, and lodge guests receive a wonderful hand cooked meal brought to their cabin and served in front of the fireplace on a steamer trunk with a selection of impeccable wines.

Enjoy a roast confit of duck, au gratin potatoes with fresh asparagus and a rich organic Greek salad served with an aged Sonoma Pinot Noir. It sets the mood for a night of fine romance in the cabin of our wildest dreams.

Manka’s Inverness Lodge exemplifies an exquisite retreat for the soul.


From the Golden Gate to the shores of Pt. Reyes, the whole of the Marin County coast is the very definition of paradise, a setting both beautiful and remote, all the more remarkable for the fact that it is literally minutes from San Francisco.  It remains a treasure trove of unspoiled beauty, a wonderland waiting to be explored, so close to civilization, and yet a world away

Go Box: Manka’s Inverness Lodge and Bolinas

Manka’s Inverness Lodge   415 664 1069

Smiley’s Schooner Saloon  415 868 1311

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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