Charmed by Point Richmond
Bay Trips: Take a Trip Without Crossing a Bridge
East Brother Light Station
Get away this weekend without crossing a Bay bridge with a trip to Point Richmond.
This quaint, picturesque Richmond neighborhood, on the eastern side of the San Rafael Bridge, is surrounded by more than 30 miles of shoreline, presents lovely Bay views, has a vibrant historic section, and can delight both daytrippers and overnighters.
The East Brother Light Station, now a beautifully restored Victorian bed and breakfast on a small island in San Pablo Bay, started out as an active lighthouse in 1874, and makes a noteworthy spot for an overnight stay. Also noteworthy is The Hotel Mac, the onetime Colonial Hotel built in 1911 that accommodated oil refinery workers in its early day but retains popularity for its pub-like restaurant and bar. Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, either can serve as a base for exploring Point Richmond, which manages to hold onto its original charm, though permeated by an added allure of subtle funkiness.
The Point Richmond Historic District, the 1890s downtown development also recognized by the National Register, is perhaps the most charismatic section of the hamlet. The Richmond Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (www.rcvb-ca.com) produces a handy, downloadable walking guide that touches on the area’s early history, such as the influence of railways, World War II manufacturing, and the oil companies, on the area. Independent mom-and-pop stores and eateries populate the district—locals have banded together to keep out most franchises. For noshing, two cute, independent eateries worth checking out are Little Louie’s, a casual dining choice for loading up on American-Italian-style sandwiches piled on handcrafted, local breads, and the German-inspired Baltic Joint, where German beers and käsespätzle proliferate. On the shopping front, Point Richmond scores points for eclectic, offbeat boutiques such as The Art Lounge, a vintage consignment shop full of jewelry, beaded bags, ties, and an even extensive selection of uniquely decorated mannequin heads.
The shoreline and beaches of the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline are the most majestic and scenic portions of Point Richmond, and this area offers everything from a cove for swimming and unhindered views of the Bay Area to a fishing pier and a model railroad museum.
From island lighthouse B&Bs to beach trails and views of the Bay, Point Richmond is worth rising to the top of the getaway list for those who want to get away from it all without ever having to cross a bridge.
Discover Pt. Richmond
Little Louie’s, 49 Washington Ave., Point Richmond, 510-235-3108, www.LittleLouies.com.
Hotel Mac, 10 Cottage Ave., Point Richmond, 510-235.0010, www.HotelMac.net.
East Brother Light Station, 117 Park Place, Richmond, 510-233-2385, www.ebls.org.
The Baltic, 135 Park Place, Richmond, 510-237-1000, www.BalticJoint.net.
Miller Knox Regional Shoreline, 900 Dornan Drive, Richmond, 888-327-2757, www.EBParks.org.
The Art Lounge, 145 Park Place, Richmond, 510-232-0084, www.TheArtLounge.com.