Inns & Lodges: The Ark, California

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, October 1991

Inns & Lodges: The Ark, California
By Charlie Haas

Even without the framed photos of student-hippie carpenters at work, vibes from the seventies would flow right through the walls of The Ark, a tiny cottage in the woods outside Inverness, California. The stove burns wood. The kitchenette is stocked with granola, fruit, and organic coffee beans. There's a bed tucked away in a loft. And there's the opportunity for a bracing sociocultural reconnaissance of other people's books and records--in this case, a heavy dose of grooviness, including The Best of Buffy Sainte-Marie and the Neil Diamond soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The Ark comes by this time-capsule effect honestly: It was built in 1972 by a Berkeley architecture class, using redwood reclaimed from Petaluma chicken coops.

The mountain bike, though modern, is key to venturing out from The Ark. Single-track trails in Samuel P. Taylor State Park and Point Reyes National Seashore are an easy ride from the cottage, and biking Highway 1 to pick up a paper can be a spectacle of cloud-strained light playing on marshy Tomales Bay. You can also hike or ride horseback in the parks, or watch gray whales migrate past Point Reyes.

The Ark's rustic nostalgia doesn't come cheap: A double costs $150 on weekend nights, $125 on weeknights. For reservations, call the West Marin Network at 415-663-9543.

Copyright 1991, Outside magazine

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