Judge James Shafter, whose sharp-eyed family wound
up with the Point Reyes peninsula following California
statehood, subdivided the wooded west shore of Tomales
Bay in 1889 to recover some railroading losses.
Inverness - Shafter was a Scotsman - served as a
summer town from the start, a magnet for many of
the Bay Area's comfortable set and later, refugees
from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake who unknowlingly
relocated atop the same, mischievous San Andreas
Fault. Over time, Inverness has also drawn its share
of artists and academicians.
high percentage of the homes remain with their original
families. One can find Shafter descendents, as well
as the grand-nephew of the last tsar of Russia,
plus heirs to this or that fortune that was gained
generations before dot.com Monopoly money.
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. To walk the shady lanes under a canopy
of bay, oak, and pine, is to sense a bygone era
of endless family picnics, with kids meeting up
to adventure in the woods or camp on the beach -
an era, observes local writer John Grissim, which
if it didn't exist, it certainly should have.
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.