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Pauline's Travel Notes for Marin County

Pauline Kenny

Marin county is the first county across the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco, to the north. Mountains divide the county down the middle. The area to the west is more wild, with open range land, many protected land areas and the coast. The area to the east is the most populated, with small towns along the base of the mountains. This area has grown incredibly in the last few decades, but still retains much of its original charm. The Redwood belt goes down through this county. This is a very expensive part of the country to live in.

Hotels

Mill Valley Inn: www.millvalleyinn.com
165 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, CA. 415-389-6608, reservations:800-595-2100

1999: We have stayed here several times, the last time in 1999, but we can no longer stand the heavily scented air freshener they put in the rooms. The main building is a modern building in amongst the older buildings in the center of Mill Valley. They have a separate older building behind (Victorian House). Great location - steps away from restaurants, shops, coffee places, movie theater.

All rooms carpeted. In the Victorian house upper rooms are better, lower rooms get stairs noise. Creekside bungalows are small and not private - not worth the extra expense. Best rooms on top floor (4th) in main house at the back, looking to the Redwood trees. Some 2nd floor rooms look onto the stairway - don't get those. Front rooms are probably nice.

Gerstle Park Inn: www.gerstleparkinn.com
34 Grove St., San Rafael, CA 94901. 800-726-7611, 415-721-7611

February 2000: Recommended. Stayed 4 nights in Sunrise suite with kitchen. Small, but good, TV. phone and modem connection (but modem charges are by the minute - why?). Also spent a few nights in one of their regular rooms in the main building. Also very nice. Good breakfast served in a very pretty breakfast room.

Restaurants

Mill Valley: La Ginestra, 127 Throckmorton, 388-0224

Winter 2000:  Recommended. Italian, not fancy - home cooking style, come early because it fills up, no reservations, fabulous Italian food, pizza too. I had an incredible pasta with zuchini.

Mill Valley: D'Angelo, 22 Miller Ave, 388-2126

Winter 2001: Recommended. Owned by owners of Mill Valley Inn (they provide room service), a little upscale, but good Italian.

Mill Valley: Jennie Low's Chinese Cuisine, 38 Miller Ave, Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner every day

Winter 2000: Not recommended. Dishes are huge, last time we ate there I wasn't that happy with the meal, but in other years we had good meals here.

Mill Valley: Sunnyside Cafe, breakfast until 3:00, only open for breakfast and lunch, real maple syrup.

Winter 2000:  Recommended. Great breakfasts.

Mill Valley: Depot Bookstore and Cafe, 87 Throckmorton Ave., bookstore and cafe.

Winter 2000:  Recommended. The Mill Valley hangout, crowded, good food, lots of outdoor tables.

San Rafael: Royal Thai, 610 3rd St., 415-485-1074

Winter 2000:  Recommended. Fabulous Thai food. Open dinner and lunch. Enter parking lot beside restaurant from 4th (under freeway).

San Rafael: Starbucks on 4th St. downtown (at A St.?)

Winter 2000: Recommended. A great hangout.

San Anselmo: Bubba's Diner, 566 San Anselmo Ave., 415-459-6862, On main street at west end, breakfast M-F til 2:00, S-S til 2:30, real maple syrup

Winter 2000:  Recommended. Small restaurant, mashed potato pancake and fried egg is great, waffles are great.

Stores

Natural Foods Stores

Whole Foods, Miller Ave in Mill Valley and 3rd St. at Union in San Rafael

Good Earth Natural Foods, 1966 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Fairfax, 454-0123

Other

Heath Ceramics, 400 Gate 5 Road, Sausalito, 332-3732, Factory store 10am-5pm

Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, 927-0960, Travel books.

Things to Do

Osmosis: www.osmosis.com
209 Bohemian Highway, Freestone (Sonoma County), 707-823-8231, spa, enzyme bath.

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, 1601 Shoreline Highway, Sausalito, 415-383-3134

The movie theatre off the freeway in Corte Madera is great - one theatre, big seats, good sound.

The Dipsea trail goes through Mill Valley neighborhoods all the way to the ocean. Steps start in Old Mill Park off Throckmorton.

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