01 Aug Summer Fun in Sausalito
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
Summer Fun in Sausalito
BY JILL WEINLEIN
Sausalito waterfront has provided inspiration to painters, photographers, sculptors, movie makers, and musicians. Otis Redding wrote the song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” while staying on a houseboat in 1967. The harbor has over 400 sailboats, yachts and whimsical floating homes include a mini Taj Mahal and wooden shoe, with Mount Tamalpais as a backdrop.
Visitors can arrive either by car, bicycle or ferry boat from San Francisco. Along the waterfront, the Ferry Pier has boats arriving daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $26 roundtrip.
Stepping off the dock at the ferry landing, the scenic mid-town Vina del Mar Park is reminiscent of a Spanish Colonial plaza. Named after the town’s sister city Vina del Mar in Chile, the tree-lined square has a large fountain and towering twin elephant statues created in 1915 for the San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition. They were saved from demolition and moved in 1960 to this lovely park.
Across the street from the elephant statues is a concrete stairway leading uphill to a tree-lined walkway with bougainvillea and a 1909 church made of shingle wood and pretty glass windows. Across the street is millionaire row with preserved historic Victorian mansions and the old Alta Mira Hotel which is now a private rehab center.
Back down the stairs, visitors can walk south towards Old Town along the historic Southern Boardwalk. Built over 300 years by explorers, native Americans, Mexicans, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese, the street lamps have colorful floral hanging pots near art galleries, colorful boutiques, and local eateries. Napa Valley Burger and Sausalito’s Sweets are located in the first brick building in the town built in 1885.
The iconic waterfront Trident restaurant once had actor Robin Williams as a busboy and comedians Bill Cosby and Lenny Bruce performed here in front of a sell-out crowd.
Further down at Swedes Beach, Sally Stanford, the former mayor of Sausalito, had her brothel/parlor and pub above the pebbly shore. Residents bring their dogs for a run along the water’s edge while looking out to Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge, and city of San Francisco.
We stayed two nights The Gables Inn Bed and Breakfast, built as the first hotel in Sausalito. Guests staying in the upstairs rooms have beautiful bay views. Room number 3 is known as one of the most romantic with a king-size bed, fireplace, large whirlpool bathtub, and outdoor terrace offering unobstructed views of the sparkling blue bay to the city of San Francisco.
Wine and cheese are served daily during social hour at 5:30 p.m. and a nice breakfast buffet is displayed every morning starting at 8 a.m.
For sunset drinks and dinner we walked to the North end of town to Bar Bocce for sourdough pizza, salads, and shrimp sandwiches. It’s a popular local spot overlooking the harbor.
Other interesting sights include the historic Fort Baker near Golden Gate Bridge. The area was recently restored and several of the Fort Baker buildings and former officers’ residences, have been converted into the hotel Cavallo Point. This is also a Children’s Discovery Museum and working U.S. Coast Guard base.
Further away on the other side of the highway, about three miles from the Golden Gate Bridge is The Marine Mammal Center. It’s a free to the public educational center and nonprofit veterinary research hospital, dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals. For those who take the $10 docent led tour, you will learn more about California sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals, monk seals and sea otters. The tour ends at the upper viewing deck to see these mammals who have faced environmental challenges. Tours run daily at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.
Sausalito is a seaside city that appeals to all of your senses.