Sausalito offers coastal charm close to home

BY TAMARA FOREMAN

There is nothing more refreshing than the ocean air. Most people flock to Monterey Bay, but what about Sausalito? Just miles from the 209 area and accessible by car, BART and ferry , Sausalito is on a stretch of shoreline and hills in Marin County right across the bay from San Francisco.

Short history on “Little Willow”
Over 300 years ago, Saucito (Little Willow) which it was called at that time, was home to the Coast Miwok. In 1775, a Spanish ship called the San Carlos arrived with the first European explorers. In 1838, William Richardson was given a land grant, which today is now southern and western Marin County. He built his hacienda near the area which is today’s Caledonia Street. In 1868, Richardson’s holdings were sold to the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company, which began the division of streets, the waterfront and hills into amazing view lots. The Sausalito Land & Ferry Co purchased a steamer named the Princess, which brought wealthy San Franciscans and upper-class British to the area to purchase Victorian mansions in the hills.

During prohibition, Sausalito was a base of operation for bootleggers, including Baby Face Nelson. In 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed and ferry and train service stopped. When World War II began a shipyard was constructed on the waterfront ,which expanded the population of Sausalito. After the war ended Sausalito began attracting artists, writers, actors, musicians, hippies and even a former bordello owner. Among all the new settlers a bohemian atmosphere was created. When ferry service began again in 1970 it again become a popular destination, which brings us to today.

Vacation destination
Sausalito is full of harbors and marinas that bring in yachts from all over the world. The coastal town is now home to many boutique shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants. Sausalito hosts many events including Jazz concerts by the bay, chili cook-offs, Fourth of July parades on Caledonia street , Christmas yacht parade and the Art Festival — which is my favorite and brings me to Sausalito every Labor Day weekend.

America’s Premiere Waterfront Fine Art Festival draws a number of talented artists who come from all over bringing their beautiful work to the annual three-day event that just celebrated its 64th year. In addition to the art there is music, food, beer and wine to enjoy and also a kids’ area to keep the little ones occupied.

During my annual trip to Sausalito on Labor Day Weekend I stay at the Gables Inn, which is a quaint B&B tucked away up the hill on Princess St right off Sausalito’s main street, Bridgeway. The Gables Inn has 15 rooms and serves breakfast every morning and also has a wine social hour in the evening where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine and hors d’ oeuvres while visiting with other guests if you choose to do so. A few other places to stay are Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, Inn Above Tide and Hotel Sausalito — all are within walking distance to shops, restaurants and the waterfront.

Sausalito offers a great choice of restaurants including seafood, steaks and pasta . One of my favorites —and my choice every time I visit — is Copita Cantina & Tequila Bar, created by restaurateur Larry Mindel and chef Joanne Weir. Copita serves the best Mexican food and margaritas in the area. Poggio Trattoria is a classic Italian trattoria and is considered one of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area. Also another great place to try is the Trident, which re-opened in October 2012. It was originally The Kingston Trio Trident in the 1960s and 70s. Their outside patio is a great place to go and enjoy the views while having a meal or beverage.

For additional information on Sausalito visit www.ci.sausalito.ca.us.
Also for more information on the Art Festival visit sausalitoartfestival.org

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