Archive for the ‘Why I love Marin’ Category
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.
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
I almost hesitate to write about this place because I would hate to see it get overrun with crowds. Where else can you sit by the pool in Marin and have dinner and cocktails while watching your kids swim? Have dinner at Ricky’s Restaurant at Inn Marin and you don’t have to stay at the motel to use the pool. It’s great on a hot day and is perfect for birthday parties. The early evening we were there they had live music by the pool and people were dancing. Such a cool vibe and just what Marin needs, and the food was really good too. There’s a large grassy area for kids to run around too, right next to the pool. Hawaii in Marin? Don’t tell too many people about it:)
You may not have heard about Outstanding in the Field, but it’s an exciting culinary adventure that I am just itching to experience. The creators have a mission to reconnect people with the food they eat. They call them restaurants without walls and set up long farm tables in unique places, like in the middle of a vineyard, on a ranch, in a cave, or right by the ocean. We just discovered this but it’s been going on for 20 years. The aim is to bring people as close as possible to the ingredients on their plate–literally so close that they may be grown just a few feet away.
Take a look at the schedule and see if there’s an event for you. Tickets run in the $200 price range and they have been selling out fast. If you missed the one you want (we missed the Michael Minna event at Devils Gulch – bummer!) then sign up on the email list so you are sure not to miss out next year.
Outstanding in the Field does many events here in California, but they also travel. How about dining in a vineyard in the Rioja region of Spain? Or sampling some Mahi Mahi, taro, and starfruit at an organic farm on the island of Hawaii? Honey, I think it’s time to plan a vacation!
Like a lot of people who love music and would hate to see Marin lose the flavor that makes it so unique, we were disappointed when the Sweetwater closed a while back, but we’re happy to say it’s risen from the ashes in a new location, in the old Masonic Hall just off of Throckmorton at the other end of downtown. Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead is involved and it should be a nice addition to Mill Valley. In fact it’s looking to be quite a year for new live music venues in Marin, with two much anticipated clubs opening soon in San Rafael as well. Tickets for upcoming shows are on sale here, and there’s more info on their facebook page. It’s at 19 Corte Madera Ave.
Mountain bikers won’t want to miss this year’s annual Turkey Ride in Fairfax. It’s a 3-4 hour Thanksgiving Day ride out along the Pine Mountain Loop. Started in 1975 and celebrating the birthplace of mountain biking, this ride is an epic way to work up an appetite before you stuff yourself with all that turkey and mashed potatoes. Meet at Java Hut between 8-9 am for the start, and then end the ride at the Gestault Haus and top it off with a frosty pint of German beer. Last year we had something like 1,000 riders. Gobble, gobble!
Trying to find the perfect place for a kid’s birthday party can be a challenge if you want to avoid the crowds or the cost of an indoor space. Our favorite outdoor spot is at Marinwood Park in San Rafael. It has a large open lawn area to throw a football or frisbee around and there’s a small grassy hill that the kids love to roll down. Talk about instant entertainment! The play structure area is nice and has a separate section for smaller kids, and there’s a concrete path that surrounds the park which makes a perfect loop for little ones to ride their bikes around.
You can reserve a spot near the play structure area for a private party, but we like to be out in the grassy area, which has picnic tables and BBQs. Bring your hot dogs and burgers (or tofu dogs), start up the grill and make it an adult party too. In the summer they have a great community pool which you can also make part of the party for a fee. The best part is the secret path along the side of the play structure area that leads to a year round creek. Kids love playing in it, especially when the weather’s hot. One important tip: get there around 9:00 am to claim your table with a cooler and table cloth so when the party starts later in the day you will have a primo spot.
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.
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.