Point Richmond is a little-known, charming enclave within the far rougher city of Richmond, Calif., nestled a few blocks from the 580 Freeway and a massive Chevron oil refinery. It’s a cool find for anyone looking for a mellow Bay Area weekend, with Marin County, the East Bay, Napa Valley and San Francisco all easily accessible. Many of the buildings in the cute downtown are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tab: Rooms at the Hotel Mac are $ 135 to $ 225 a night; my husband and I spent $ 130 for meals and drinks.
The Hotel Mac (10 Cottage Ave.;  235-0010, hotelmac.net), built in 1911, has been nicely restored. Each of the seven rooms in the original three-story brick building is unique, giving it the feel of a homey bed and breakfast (minus the breakfast). We stayed in Raffles, an immaculate room with a queen bed and a floral bedspread, plastic flowers, white shutters and bookshelves. (Grandma would have approved.) Next time, I’ll choose a suite with a fireplace because they don’t cost much more. There are a few rooms in the Annex across the street and studios with kitchens in the recently opened Carriage House.