Five Fantastic Fall Family Hikes in Marin

September 22, 2015

Tennessee Valley TrailFall offers some of the finest weather of the year in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area, so make sure you take some time to hit the trail and take in a hike before the weather turns cold and (hopefully) rainy. The coastal areas in Northern California are particularly nice in the fall, and are often warmer and clearer than it is inland.

Here are five of our favorite fall outdoor excursions in Marin County that are perfect for families.

Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley trail is one of Marin's most popular spots for outdoor recreation, and a favorite with hikers, cyclists, and trail runners of all ages. This easy 3.4-mile out-and-back hike has its halfway point at Tennessee Cove, home to a beautiful beach that's a perfect place for a picnic or mid-hike break. It's manageable with an offroad jogging stroller, too. Go during the week or in the mornings to avoid weekend crowds in the parking area.

Petite Marin Turns Daddy's Old Shirts into Children's Fashions

September 21, 2015

Petite MarinPetite Marin is a new local mom-run business that creates children's apparel with a unique twist—they upcycle dad's old clothing to create new eco-friendly childrenswear, keeping old clothes out of the landfill and creating a precious keepsake, too. Send Petite Marin a cherished dress shirt and they will turn it into a child's romper or dress and matching cap or bonnet for sizes 6 months to 2T. All garments are handcrafted here in a California. This November they'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign and taking pre-orders for their unique sustainable children's fashions.

Marin Mommies asked Petite Marin founders Melina and Rachel a few questions about the business and their products and what they love about living in Marin. Learn more about Petite Marin at

Q: Please tell us about you and your background

A: I lived in Mill Valley as a child and attended Old Mill Elementary. I thought it was such a great place to raise a family and always wanted to return with my own children. I moved back shortly before my older daughter started kindergarten and met Rachel when our daughters were in the same class. They became close friends and so did we! Rachel moved here several years ago from the East Coast with her children and husband, an avid biker, who was thrilled to live within biking distance of his job in SF.

Celebrate Fall in Tiburon with Blackie's Hay Day

September 21, 2015

Blackie's Hay Day TiburonBring your family to come celebrate fall this Saturday, September 26, from 10 am to 4 pm at Blackie's Hay Day. This annual fundraiser and community tradition is reminiscent of an old-fashioned country fair and helps raise money for children's and youth programs at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library.

Blackie's Hay Day takes place, naturally, at Blackie's Pasture, which is located off Tiburon Boulevard near Trestle Glen. Blackie's Pasture is named after Blackie, a swaybacked horse who stood in the pasture for nearly 30 years and became a Tiburon mascot, after stints in the rodeo and the US cavalry.

The family fun on Blackie's Hay Day will include pony rides, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall, jumpies, a spa tent with face painting, nail and hair salons, and temporary tattoos carnival games, story time, and more. The event will also include live musical entertainment, including by Daffy Dave, Fur Tails and Scales, Redwood High's High Tide ensemble, and others.

Make Your Own Easy and Delicious Applesauce!

September 21, 2015

ApplesauceAs you're probably aware, it's apple season, and after a few apple-picking outings and gifts from our neighbor's apple trees, we've realized that we have a real surplus of apples in our kitchen. What's an easy way to use up some of the fruit? Applesauce, of course!

Homemade applesauce is very easy to make, and really beats that stuff you get in a jar at the supermarket.

Serve it to the kids as a snack, or as a side dish with potato pancakes, pork roast, and more. You can also use it as an ingredient to make other tasty treats like applesauce muffins.


Get Your Tickets Now for Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms

September 20, 2015

Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms In addition to producing healthy and sustainable local food, Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms also puts on fantastic family-friendly events throughout the year. This fall, their annual Pumpkins on Pikes event continutes this tradition. Come on out to the farm for Halloween fun with pumpkin carving, live music, dancing, a corn maze, and more.

Pumpkins on Pikes takes place on Saturday, October 24, from 2 to 10 pm. Bring your pumpkin carving tools, blankets and coats to stay warm after dark, a sheet to cover hay bales for seating, and favorite treat for the dessert potluck. Free pumpkins for carving will be provided with admission. The carved pumpkins are placed on pikes out in the cornfield, and when the sun goes down, the pumpkins are lit. It's an amazing spectacle! A BBQ dinner will be available for purchase at the event, too.

Get Ready for the Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

September 19, 2015

Goblin JamboreeCome get a jump on Halloween at the 29th annual Goblin Jamboree fundraiser at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky family event on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18 from 10 am to 4 pm. Come in costume and explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum transformed into a haunted Halloween wonderland complete with games, attractions and live entertainment.

Ride a spooky train or real ponies, make potions in the Witches' and Wizards' School, and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. New features this year include a kid-sized hay maze, end of day costume parades, and a chance to make colorful potions and dissect jack-o-lanterns! Make sure you also stop in the Bay Hall to experience the glowing trains, too!

Marin Weekend Family Fun for September 18, 19 & 20

September 18, 2015
Blue Fairy at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival
Family fun awaits this weekend at Mill Valley's 58th annual Fall Arts Festival in Old Mill Park.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, September 18

  • 51st Annual Fall Big Book Sale
    Fort Mason, San Francisco
    Friday and Saturday, 10 am-6 pm

    The annual Friends of the San Francisco Public Libary Big Book Sale features over 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media in over 100 categories. Everything is $3 or less, with a 3-2-1 scale: $3 hard cover books; $2 paperback books; $1 DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media. All items remaining on Sunday are $1. Location: Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason. For more info, visit their website.
  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–9 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun playing games, making crafts, watching a movie, and enjoying dinner. This event often sells out—register early! For ages 3–10. Cost: $23; $5 sibling discount. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 19

  • Farmers Market & Pie Baking Competition
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Show off your baking skills and bring your best pie to the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market on Saturday at 10 am at the tent. New this year is a special category for bakers 14 and under. Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm, children's crafts 10:30 am-1:30 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from noon–2 pm pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • California Coastal Cleanup Day
    Various Marin locations
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    On the third Saturday of every September volunteers all over the world converge on beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways to pick up trash and remove dangerous debris. Considered the largest marine-related volunteer event in the world, Coastal Cleanup Day is a wonderful opportunity to lend a hand and make a significant difference. There are over 35 sites in Marin to choose from. Check the list here.
  • Coastal Clean-up Day: Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands
    Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    On Saturday, September 19, 2015 The Marine Mammal Center will host a beach cleanup at Rodeo Beach on behalf of International Coastal Cleanup Day. Bring gloves, a bucket, and a friend! Make a day of it and head over to The Marine Mammal Center afterwards to view our patients and learn more about Ocean Conservation! After the cleanup you are also welcome to join all Marin County volunteers at the Bay Model in Sausalito for a free BBQ from noon to 3pm. Free. For all ages. Register here. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Marin Garage Sale
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Shop 'til you drop at the big multi-family garage sale in Novato's San Marin neighborhood. For more info, visit their website.
  • Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden Plant Sale
    College of Marin Indian Valley Campus, Novato
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Shop for plants and produce this weekend at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden. On Sunday, there will be family activities from 1 to 3 pm including a scavenger hunt, face painting, fall farm crafts, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Explore the Pioneer Tree Trail
    Samuel P. Taylor Park
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Bring the family for this WildCare exploration. A dense combination of bay laurel, douglas fir, and tanoak trees provide an excellent shady trail in Samuel P. Taylor State Park on hot days. We will start at the Redwood Grove. Aside from the diversity of flora, this area is habitat to gray foxes, northern spotted owls, stellar’s jays, acorn woodpeckers, and more. Join us for a fabulous made-in-the-shade hike in one of Marin’s most beautiful parks. There is an $8 parking fee per vehicle. RSVP required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 20th Annual San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
    Treasure Island
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the entire family for a weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, and fun-filled activities at the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States. There are over 130 dragon boat teams and 3,500 dragon boat paddlers racing. This two-day festival includes cultural activities, games, creative arts, crafts, exhibits, entertainment, live dance and music, performances, and immersive experiences for both kids and adults in a family-friendly space. Free admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    The 58th Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival will showcase over 140 fine artists from all across the country and offer live music and children’s entertainment under the redwoods. The juried works include prints, jewelry, paintings, woodwork, photography, and sculpture. See full schedule here. Cost: $10 general admission, $5 students and seniors, free for kids under 12. Location: Old Mill Park, Throckmorton Ave and Old Mill Street. For more info, visit their website.
  • Junior Chef Classes: American Girl
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Come build your own delicious lunchbox with American Girl. Recipes include bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato and turkey cranberry sandwiches; veggies with buttermilk ranch dip; and lemony-berry bars. For ages 8–13. $30 per child. Class size is limited to 12 students. Cost: $30 per child, 20% of the proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.

Infant & Child CPR Classes for Marin Parents

September 17, 2015

infant CPR trainingLearning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an important part of any first-aid training, and knowing how to properly administer this technique can save a life! Parents and caregivers in Marin County can learn how to administer CPR to infants and children through many different resources. Here are a few places to learn pediatric CPR in Marin. Most of these classes also cover other first-aid skills like automated external defibrillator (AED) basics and the Heimlich maneuver. If you know of a class that's not on the list below, please let us know and we'll add it!

The Novato Fire District provides CPR classes on the third Tuesday of each month. Classes cost $15, and cover adult, child, and infant CPR, AED familiarization, and the Heimlich maneuver. Certificate is valid for two years. For more information, visit their website or call (415) 878-2690.

All Aboard! Tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride on Sale Soon

September 16, 2015

The Polar Express

Get ready to believe! Tickets for the California State Railroad Museum's annual holiday Polar Express train rides go on sale to members only on September 22–24, 2015 and to the general public on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Members of the Californa State Railroad Museum and Railroad 1897 are eligible to participate in member advance ticket sales. The Railroad Museum's sister organization, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown will also be holding Polar Express train rides again this holiday season.

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