Archive for the ‘Exploring By The Bay’ Category
For one of the the best brunch restaurants in all of Marin head out to the Two Bird Cafe in San Geronimo. What a great way to wake up on the weekend. The food is amazing and the service is top notch. We got up and went to breakfast there last Saturday with the kids and were blown away buy the yummy french toast and the best pancakes we have ever had. The ambiance is rustic and relaxing. We headed out to Point Reyes after that and spent half the day in West Marin. A great way to relax and start the weekend.
With all the rain we’ve had over the last month Marin’s waterfalls are roaring along. One of our favorite spots is Cascade Falls in Fairfax. It’s a 15 minute hike to get to the falls and the walk is beautiful. You walk along the river the whole way and it’s a good way to get the kids out of the house during the holidays. Parking can be tough at the end of Cascade Drive where the trail starts, so keep this in mind but there is usually some parking down the road a bit if it gets full at the end. One of the main reasons we live in Marin is our close connection and access to natural beauty, and there’s nothing like waterfalls in the winter.
Cornerstone Sonoma is one of the coolest places around to visit with the kids, have a picnic, and do some shopping all at the same location. The grounds have a bunch of outdoor art installations and are very inspirational. It’s like walking through a wonderland from each exhibit to the next. There’s a barn with tables to sit at and a great place to share a bottle of wine and just let the kids run wild. They do private functions there as well–a great place for a wedding reception or a kids birthday party. There’s a cool wine bar, a cafe, and numerous shops to browse in. And don’t forget to get a photo of yourself sitting in the big blue chair.
Wow, how cool is Oxbow Public Market in Napa! My dream would be to open up something like this in Marin…we have nothing like it. It’s an indoor marketplace with all kinds of super cool restaurants, butchers, cupcake makers, coffee houses, gifts, oysters, and cheeses from around the Bay Area. The atmosphere is awesome and the concept and food are amazing. Stop by here on the way up to wine tasting on the Silverado Trail in Napa. Very inspirational and another reason why we love living North of SF.
Oxbow Public Market. 610 & 644 First Street, Napa, California 94559
Looking for something fun to do and like the sound of getting out on the water? Head out to Schoonmaker Point in Sausalito (near the Bay Model) and rent a kayak or paddleboard from Sea Trek. Not experienced? That’s okay, you’re provided with a life vest and can stay in the protective cove. A little more daring? Head out of the cove and explore the Bay around Sausalito. You might run into sea otters or seals and beautifully colored jelly fish. You can also check out the boats along the docks and view the eclectic houseboats that line the waterfront.
On a warm day you can go in a bathing suit or shorts and t-shirt, while on colder days, as they are open all year round, throw on a windbreaker and sweats and hit the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
The paddleboards are pretty sturdy and you don’t have to fall in the water much, unless of course it’s hot and you just want to cool down. Balancing on the boards is a great core workout, and at an hourly rate you can’t go wrong. The ones that catch on quickly of course are the little kids, and you’ll see them zipping around the cove, sometimes with several of their friends sitting on the board with them. The kayaks can be rented hourly too and they are either singles or doubles, with an option of putting a fairly small child on your lap if they are not big paddlers. Also a great upper body workout!
You will be surprised at how many people go out there to enjoy the view. Whether you are renting or opt to just sit on the beach and read a book or play in the sand, this is a Sausalito must-do.
What a great way to spend a sunny September day! Limantour Beach, only 35 minutes from Fairfax, is perfect for going on a long walk or building a sand castle. Our kids love playing in the sand dunes and had a lot of fun creating a fort there. There are great hiking trails on your way in and a lot of bird watching in the lagoon just to the north, and sometimes we even see harbor seals resting on the beach. It can get a little windy, but it’s easy to find a wind break in the sand dunes to set up camp for the day. We love going into Point Reyes on the drive home for a late lunch, or just stopping for a treat at the local Point Reyes bakery. We are really lucky to live where we live, and West Marin is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Google Map of Limantour Beach
If you’re looking for a good place to get some friends together for a picnic in Marin, then look no further than the Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area, just eight minutes from downtown Fairfax. The kids can go fishing, play in the creek, or ride their bikes around in the parking lot. We like to bring our mt. bikes and ride around the lake with the whole family. We also like this spot because it’s set in a redwood grove with lots of shade, and has good sized picnic tables with large bbq/grill areas.
We usually reserve the large tables and grills when we know it’s a large group, but if you’re just going with a couple of families you might not need to reserve in advance as there are almost always enough tables to go around. A good hike is to make a loop with the kids around the lake…it takes about 30 minutes. In the summer when it gets hot this is the perfect place to hang out in the shade and be with friends. I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful places in Marin.
The picnic area is at the end of the road adjacent to the parking lot. You’ll find directions and info on reservations here.
With all the rain we’re having it’s a perfect time to check out Marin County’s waterfalls, and Fairfax is a good place to start. One of our favorites is easy to get to and just a 10 minute walk from the road. Park at the top of Sir Francis Drake on the right as you hit the summit out of Fairfax and before descending into Woodacre. It’s a big waterfall and a nice hike for the kids or dog.
Also in Fairfax, Cataract Falls is one of the most popular in Marin and a good hike as well. There are a couple of ways to access it, and you’ll find good directions here.
Also, check out the waterfall at the end of Mountain View Dr. in San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood. It’s handy as you don’t really have to hike to get there.
And at the north end of the county there’s the Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall on the trail at the end of Fairway Dr. in Novato. It’s also a nice hike and fun for the kids.
And if you’re really into exploring all the waterfalls Marin County has to offer you might want to check out Waterfallswest.com. It’s now a pay site but looks to be the most comprehensive resource.
Fort Baker, Marin County, California
I took this photo earlier this week while touring Marin with an out of state friend. I was surprised at how lovely it turned out with San Francisco nestled in the clouds across the bay. The photo was taken at Fort Baker, on top of the bunkers at the tip of by the bay.
I snapped this photo on a hike this morning of Mt. Tam from Crown Road in Baltimore Canyon. The colors were amazing after the evening rains. This hike is one of my favorites. You can take Crown Road to the left and down to Dawn Falls. We choose the trail head to the right, which leads you up on the ridge to view all of Marin’s gorgeous hills.
The Crown Road trail is accessible via Kentfield.
From Sir Francis Drake, take College Avenue into Kentfield. Turn right on Woodland, left on Evergreen. Follow Evergreen up the mountain. Turn left Crown Road and continue to the end of the road. Parking can be difficult on weekends.