Sometimes it's hard to think of going on vacation just down the highway from where you live, but when that place is Cavallo Point at Sausalito's Fort Baker, it's not hard at all! Cavallo Point is right in our backyard but feels a world away, and you can't beat its amazing location right at the Golden Gate. With spectacular views, historic buildings, great dining, and plenty of things to do, it's an outstanding destination for a luxurious family "staycation", even if you're just getting away for a night!
Point Reyes Station is the social and cultural hub of West Marin, and a fantastic destination for a day out with the family. While the railroad that gave this small town its name is long gone, Point Reyes Station has become something of a tourist mecca in recent years, with a focus on sustainable agriculture, locally produced artisanal and organic foods, outdoor activities, and art. On weekends, the main street of this quaint and charming gateway to Point Reyes National Seashore bustles with West Marin locals, Bay Area day trippers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, hikers, and visitors from around the world.
Even though many of Point Reyes Station's attractions are geared toward grownups, families will find plenty to do here, making it an attractive destination for an outing in and of itself, or a worthwhile stop on the way to or from the beaches and hiking trails of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Most of Point Reyes Station's businesses are clustered around Highway One (AKA A Street, Main Street, or Shoreline Highway). A walk down Main Street's sidewalks takes you past art galleries, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants, as well as businesses more traditionally associated with small rural towns, like a feed store, tack and saddle shop, hardware store, and saloon.
This weekend we had the chance to take a tour of Windrush Farm outside Petaluma. This working farm, sited on 25 rolling acres of green fields, is home to a both variety of animals, including sheep, goats, alpacas, and chickens, and some fantastic family programs, like music classes, summer camps, and more. It's a beautiful place, especially on a sparkling clear and warm spring day. It's an amazing educational resource that feels like it's a world away but is only a 20-minute drive from Novato.
We met up with Arann Harris, who organizes the educational programs on the farm, which his mother, writer Mimi Luebbermann, founded over 20 years ago. Arann, a musician and former naturalist at Walker Creek Ranch, showed us around the farm and introduced us to the farm's animals, including some adorable lambs and baby goats.
Come celebrate spring by meeting some baby lambs on the farm! Windrush Farm, a working sheep farm in Chileno Valley, offers its final two Lamb Day events of the season on Saturday, April 1 and April 15. There are over 25 lambs available for viewing!
The gates open at 10 am for a meet-and-greet with the sheep, a spinning demonstration, milking the goat, and finding tadpoles in the pond. Make sure you bring a picnic to enjoy at the pond, too! Admission to Lamb Day costs $20 for adults and is free for children under 12. Advance registration required: register online.
Marin native Sarah Bradford is the founder and operator of LUNA Center, a unique pregnancy and postpartum fitness studio located at 1165 Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur. She took the time out to answer a few questions for us about herself, her business, her family, and why she loves working and living in Marin.
Please tell us a little about yourself, what’s your background?
My name is Sarah Bradford, and I am the Founder of The LUNA Center. I am a Marin County native and grew up in Kentfield, and my husband is from San Anselmo. Together we have a beautiful 19-month-old son and two dogs.
After having kids, Marin mom and mompreneur Leslie Dempsey went on a fitness journey that led her to become the owner and operator of GYMGUYZ Marin County, a mobile personal training business that brings the gym to you. Leslie answered a few questions for us about her, her business, and her family.
Please tell us a little about yourself, what’s your background?
My name is Leslie Dempsey and I am the owner and operator of GYMGUYZ Marin County. While it has always been a priority for me to be in shape and exercise, I am new to the fitness industry. My background is in psychology. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and I received my master’s in counseling psychology with a double emphasis in marriage and family therapy and school counseling from St. Mary’s College of California.
Who doesn't like Jelly Belly jelly beans? You probably knew that they come in practically every flavor imaginable, but did you know that they're made just up the road in the Solano County town of Fairfield? Did you know you can tour their factory for free? The Jelly Belly factory offers a fun, tasty, and informative tour daily that's a perfect outing for families and groups.
Looking for a unique gift? Local illustrator and cartoonist Michael Capozzola creates fun and whimsical hand-painted name art that's perfect for the nursery or a child's room. Each personalized creation is made with pen and ink and watercolor on cold-press paper. Inspired by vintage playbills and concert posters, they're bright and colorful, with each letter made out of different objects and shapes.
Michael is a San Francisco-based cartoonist whose work has appeared in Mad Magazine, McSweeney's, and WIRED. His cartoon, "Surveillance Caricatures," ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, for four years, too. He started creating name art as gifts for friends, and soon the commissions and requests came pouring in. You can see examples of Michael's name art work on his website. www.paintedbabynames.com, where you can order your own creation, too! While he refers to them as baby names, they're really gifts delightful for kids of all ages.
Here in Marin, we're fortunate to able to choose from many unique and often independent locally owned toy stores. A place where the person behind the counter is usually the owner, a member of the owner’s family, or a longtime manager who knows everything there is to know about toys. There are usually samples out and about—great for play-testing—and there are items guaranteed to bring back a major sense of nostalgia.
Yes, the toy store of yore still exists, despite the arrivals of gigantic big-box retail monsters in the neighborhood. We love visiting our local independent toy stores for birthday and holiday gifts or for a special treat, and a visit to one is usually a lot of fun for everyone in the family, too. Also, many of these stores offer gift wrapping, too, making getting that special gift even easier.
Five Little Monkeys
852 Grant Ave, Novato 94945
(415) 898-4411 www.5littlemonkeys.com
Starting at the northern tip of Marin, nestled in cozy downtown Novato is Five Little Monkeys and this shop means toy business. From puppets and dolls to dress-up and books, there is something for kids of every age. They have locations in Albany, Walnut Creek, and Burlingame, too.