Last week, My Beloved and I introduced Naomi and Sam to the Tennessee Valley trail in Marin on the prettiest day of what has been a wonderfully sunny winter.
It is one of our favorite walks, just about four miles round trip. The trail winds through the hills with beautiful views on either side until you reach the high point of the trail, where you get your first glimpse of the deep turquoise of the ocean.
Then down to the coarse sand beach to hear waves crashing and gulls calling and children screaming with delight and freedom. You won't be alone on this walk - it's a popular hike - but exchanging oohs and aahs with your fellow hikers is part of the fun. Sometimes, they point out wildlife, too - a seal bobbing up off shore or a bobcat intent on hunting for lunch.
Back at the parking lot, you start to think about lunch, too. We contemplated going to the Pelican Inn a few miles up the coast but decided on such a lovely day that only Murray Circle would do. On a warm day, to sit on the porch there with the Golden Gate bridge so high and red and close is a fine afternoon's enjoyment after a good morning's workout.
At Murray Circle, they put a lot of thought into presentation. Potato chips served with sandwiches come standing upright in a little mound of dip. The stoneware is all from Heath ceramics a few miles away in Sausalito. The glasses are clear and thin, a pleasure to sip from. And lobster is served on a bed of ice with citrus wedges embedded, seaweed scattered, and the two halves of the crustacean placed nose-to-nose.
We all nibbled on the lobster while contemplating the magnificence of the bridge and the pleasure of relaxation after a four-mile walk. The whole day, from valley to ocean to bridge to table was the perfect presentation of a California winter day.