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California Dreaming, Part 5

Sausalito Street While Mizuki and Pi-chan shopped in San Francisco, I headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County. Besides being one of the wealthiest and most expensive counties in the country, Marin County is home to the cute little town of Sausalito. No, this is not the home of those wonderful chocolate macadamia nut cookies from Pepperidge Farm but a charming, waterfront town with interesting shops and excellent restaurants.

Sausalito Store And you know it is a quality place when you find a Crazy Shirt shop on the main drag. Oh, you do not know Crazy Shirts? They started in Waikiki (how did you guess?) at the International Market Place where Rick Ralston hand spray painted designs on t-shirts. I personally own probably close to 100 Crazy Shirts — don't know the exact number, I've never counted them. But I digress.

Sausalito Cafe This day, the weather was fantastic and, as you can see, I was not the only one enjoying it. Yes, Sausalito has many fine places to eat — indoors, outdoors, ...

Scoma's and even some that are built out over the water. This one is Scoma's — I ate there once many years ago and, as best I recall, the meal was great. And if you would like to check out their cuisine from afar, click here.

Sausalito Shoreline Restaurants are not the only structures hanging out over the water. You also find shops and residences there too. Sausalito is also home for quite a few houseboats — with people actually living on their boats. Sorry, no photos — I just ran out of time.

Sausalito Housing There are some residents who live on land — but even that is done a bit differently here. A quick search for homes in Sausalito gave me a range of $775,000 to $4,695,000 for a simple three bedroom, two bath home. A lovely place to visit but who can afford to live here?

Oh, I forgot — Marin County is home to many doctors, attorneys, executives, etc. I guess for them those prices do not sound so bad.

Sausalito Tree Just as I turned around, I happened upon a most unusual tree. My guess was some kind of Eucalyptus tree. Very strange but certainly worth a few photos.

Bottlebrush Flower Marin has a very mild climate and flowers bloom in profusion. If I were to share all the photos I took of flowers, this issue of LAHP would be nothing but flowers. So I chose to share this one from a bottlebrush tree. I find this to be one of the most interesting flowers I know of — and, in this case, one that also is commonly found in the Phoenix area.

Sausalito Elephant As I strolled through town, I spotted an elephant — two of them actually in a small park. They plus a nice fountain were a gift from their sister city in India. It was a nice touch and totally unexpected in Marin County.

Wooden Crafts Nearby I encountered an art and crafts show. This exhibitor immediately caught my eye with his beautiful teak custom furniture. Some of you many not know that I used to dabble in woodworking when I lived in San Jose — and fine hand-crafted wood furniture always catches my eye.

[Editor's note: digital photography has a real advantage over woodworking. Make a mistake in Photoshop, just undo. Make a mistake when cutting that koa wood board --- make a fire.]

This craftsman (standing back left) had designed the table that his wife (girlfriend? partner? associate? whatever?) was demonstrating. Usually in an expandable table, one must insert or remove a leaf to expand or contract the table. His table has foldable leaves that store under the surface of the table. Very clever.

Glassware There was lots of nice stuff but I tend to enjoy the people-watching even more. As I was wondering about and taking a few photos of the exhibits and exhibitors, I was surprised — when one of the artists jumped up in front of her booth with both arms outspread trying to prevent me from taking a photo of her painting. I surmised that she was afraid that I might steal her idea for the painting and soon cheap fakes would flood the craft shows all over the country. Oh well, I honored her sensitivity and lowered the camera. You know, I do not even remember what her paintings looked like.

Tiberon Street Time to move on. Sausalito is not the only cute little waterfront town in Marin. Just a short piece up the road is Tiburon. It feels a bit quieter than Sausalito, fewer people, fewer cars. And it is a great place to ride your bike with numerous bike trails to separate you from the automotive traffic.

Sam's CafeOf course, Tiburon also has the cute shops and fine restaurants to attract the tourists. The spot I always turn to is Sam's Anchor Cafe. This place has been here since 1920 so they must be doing something right. They have both indoor and outdoor dining — I chose indoor (outdoor had a half hour wait and I was hungry) but right by the window looking at the outdoor folks.

I had a fine meal of fish and chips (with malt vinegar, of course). The only surprise was that my soft drink cost $3.50 — and my refill cost $3.50 — and these were bar cokes with lots of ice. Oh, the price of visiting Marin, I guess.

Tiburon Housing And would you believe, parts of Tiburon look just like Sausalito? And a similar MLS search revealed 3BR/2BA homes here going for as much as $15,800,000. Phew!

Tiburon House on PIlings Some of the homes don't even seem to have one square inch of real property. I wonder if these folks have heard about global warming.

Museum on Pilings Next door was a museum on pilings. The museum honors William Henry Webb who was the premier ship designer of the mid-19th century. The structure was actually the Social Saloon and attached staterooms of the SS China which Webb had designed. When the ship was taken out of service and used for scrap, the structure was saved and placed on the pilings you see here.

Angel Island FerryIf you have the time, the trip to Angel Island is short and enjoyable. I have never been over there — I guess I have to put that on my bucket list.

View of San Francisco One of the delights about a visit to Sausalito or Tiburon is the view. Why else would you pay $3.50 for a soft drink at Sam's? Look carefully through the haze and you can see Alcatraz and San Francisco beyond.

And the girls would rather go shopping?

To be continued.

 Life is good.

 B. David