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Monday, 01 May 2006

Bolinas, California - Page 2

Written by Richard Martin
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If you’re driving down Highway One north of San Francisco don’t look for the road sign to Bolinas, CA, because this quirky coastal hamlet is the only California municipality without a sign to lead you from the highway to the city limits. There used to be a sign that said “Bolinas, 2 miles”-- many of them in fact, but each of the signs put up in the last 20 years has enigmatically disappeared—the longest-standing sign lasting only 36 hours.


Across the street from Smiley’s is the Coast Cafe where one can enjoy a hearty brunch under an historic display of surfboards hanging from the ceiling. Every weekend, barbecued oysters from nearby Tomales Bay are available on the patio of the Coast Café.


The Blue Heron Inn and Restaurant is the town’s four-star eatery, housed in a Victorian home with lovely gardens in the heart of downtown. The changing menu features local produce, meat, and fish, and even local wine from Bolinas winemaker Sean Thackrey, made less than a mile up the road.


The Bolinas Museum at 59 Wharf Road ( is housed in five small rooms clustered around a brick courtyard that is also home to the Bolinas Gallery and several artisans’ shops. The Museum features changing exhibits by local painters and photographers as well as a permanent collection that includes Miwok artifacts and other memorabilia from Bolinas' colorful past. Downtown Bolinas is rounded out by one of the few remaining gas stations on the West Marin coast, a liquor store housed in an 1890’s barn, and several bed-and-breakfast inns.


The Bolinas Library, the Bolinas Community Center, and the Whole Earth Natural Foods Store constitute a kind of town square that is the hub for Bolinas’ active counter-culture community. Here, enjoy the street musicians serenades while you lunch on delicious organically-grown local delicacies and peruse the unique arts and crafts sold by street vendors. Leave an old sweatshirt at the ‘Free Box’ behind the Community Center, where anyone who wishes to can take selections from the donated clothing. Or, in front of the library, take part in one of the heated political debates that always seem to be in full swing.


ImageBolinas’ Brighton Beach is easily accessible at the ends of Wharf Road and Brighton Avenue in downtown Bolinas. Strolling along the shoreline, don’t miss the harbor seals that frolic in the waves with surfers and kayakers, and comb the shore for a wide variety of collectable shells that dot the sand. Don’t be surprised if you feel compelled to express yourself artistically by adding a thoughtful contribution to the magnificent giant driftwood sculpture that stands at North end of the beach.


Because of Bolinas' unique coastal position, the surf is protected from the winds and huge swells that make other beaches in Northern California too dangerous for beginners. In recent years, Bolinas has been discovered as one of the very best surf spots for beginning and intermediate surfers, and Bolinas has turned into a surf town. Most of the surfers in here are beginners themselves so everyone is accepting and helpful.


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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