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HOW'S THE WEATHER?
Autumn in the Point Reyes National Seashore is clear and warm. When the gray whales run off our coast, December through February, (you can see them from the Lighthouse), it's bright and clear between rainstorms. On spring days, you'll often spy a whale off the wildflower-covered hills of Tomales Point or Chimney Rock. In summer, plan to swim in Tomales Bay. And there's almost no day of the year when you can't enjoy a hike - even if it's raining. The pleasures of coming home wet and chilly to a warm fire at Sea Star Cottage make rain look downright attractive!
Inverness is located on the west shore of Tomales Bay, which runs southeast along the line of the San Andreas Fault. Surrounded by Point Reyes National Seashore, it is primarily a residential community, with little industry other than tourism. It has a small downtown area with a general store, post office, library, restaurants, gift shops and a variety of lodging.
One aspect of the town is a concentration of recreational (and some commercial) boating. There is a small public marina, a few private piers, and the Inverness Yacht Club.
The town is a 15 miles or so from Drake's Bay on the Pacific Ocean, named after Sir Francis Drake, who explored the coast in the 16th Century. Although Drake's official log was lost, the ship's doctor's log described landing in an area that reminded him of the White Cliffs of Dover. Drake's Bay is backed by similar-looking cliffs, leading many to believe this is where the ship landed.
The region became the property of James Shafter, who began to develop the property in the 1890s. It became a summer resort where people from San Francisco and Oakland came to camp, hike and swim in Tomales Bay. Many built small summer cabins that still exist today. Small steamboats took day trippers down the bay to secluded beaches. They left from Brock Schreiber's boathouse, which has been preserved and is a prominent local landmark with its prominent sign "Launch for Hire".
Many old-timey traditions survive: swimming lessons at Shell Beach (at the end of Camino del Mar), a full calendar of sailing races in summer, foot races on July 4, and in early spring, the garden club's Primrose Tea.
For the visitor, Inverness marks the last settlement before entering the mass of the Point Reyes National Seashore, 72,000 acres of wilderness and beach and ranchland from which one can still see San Francisco.