Posted Thursday, January 4, 2018 by MCVB Staff
By Joe Kukura
Sunshine and warm weather are the antidote to the post-holiday hangover, and the famed wine country destination of Marin County has plenty of both all winter long. The mild, Mediterranean-style weather of the “sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge” makes it an ideal destination for a winter getaway. You have a brand-new calendar ready to pack with plans and activities, and Marin County is waiting with outdoor fun and farm-to-table food experiences, all with the iconic backdrop of the area’s unbelievable scenery.
Golf at Peacock Gap
Much like your new year, San Rafael’s Peacock Gap Golf Club is refreshed, renovated and restored. While the 18-hole golf course is a Marin County legacy dating back nearly 60 years, the club has recently upgraded with multimillion-dollar improvements to add stunning modern architecture, ballrooms, a magnificent outdoor deck and a five-star restaurant featuring San Rafael’s renowned chef Mario Pampin Gonzalez.
But it’s Peacock Gap’s golf course—designed by Torrey Pines designer William F. Bell—that is indeed the main course, and a great place to improve your game. Recently renovated with a real grass driving range, this course offers beautifully laid-out chipping areas and practice greens to build your skills. Or better yet, schedule a personal lesson with one of the Peacock Gap Golf Club instructors, many of whom are current and former PGA Tour competitors. Junior classes are also available, so bring the kids!
Cheese tasting in Marin County is always a scrumptious endeavor, but the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company has an all-day, intensive artisan cheesemaking retreat in the new year that will really get your goat. The Giacomini family’s pastoral 720-acre ranch has a centerpiece culinary and educational center called The Fork, and cheeseheads will want to be there Friday, Feb. 2, for the Artisan Cheese Making at Home With Kirstin Jackson farm tour and lunch.
Spend a day with the author of It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese, as Kirstin Jackson leads a day-long cheesemaking retreat that also features a walking tour of the farm, cheesemaking lessons, a focused cheese tasting, and a vegetarian-friendly lunch in the middle of the day.
While much of the country slogs through a dreary winter, Marin’s lush, warm winters make for great winter wildlife watching. Whales, egrets, elephant seals and other wonderful migratory animals make Marin County their warm winter home.
The Point Reyes National Seashore will host an outdoor workshop on The Art of Wildlife Tracking on Saturday, Feb. 24. The seashore’s resident wildlife expert, Meghan Walla-Murphy, will unlock the secrets of habitat patterns and teach you how to track and find these magnificent animals in the wild.
Winter Paddle Racing
The placid and pretty waters of San Rafael Creek make for great paddleboarding and kayaking, whether you’re brand new or a pro.
San Rafael’s 101 Surf Sports hosts paddlers of all skill levels for great morning paddle parties with fun family races for all skill levels. At 101 Surf Sports’ winter paddle racing events on Saturday, Feb. 3, Saturday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, March 3, raceboards and race paddle rentals are available on site, and kids get to race for free.
Exploring the Arts
Marin County and wine country are well-known havens for artisans and their art, and San Rafael’s Art Works Downtown draws the finest in artists and instructors. There are always terrific art events scheduled at Art Works Downtown, so plan your Marin County getaway around its gallery exhibits, events and art classes for adults and kids.
Or for a fun Friday night, the 2nd Friday Art Walk comes to downtown San Rafael’s Fourth Street on Jan. 12, Feb. 9 and March 9, with warm treats, hot cider and, of course, plenty of great art to enjoy.
There are no winter blues in Marin County, just lush green landscapes and good times in the great outdoors. With a fresh new calendar and a fresh new year, make a resolution for a Marin County escape that will really lift your spirits.