Corte Madera is located in central Marin. Incorporated in 1916, the town extends from San Francisco Bay on the east side of Highway 101 to Mt. Tamalpais on the west. Home options include low-lying, level properties close to the water and fabulous outdoor malls, hillside properties overlooking the bay, or hillside homes tucked in amongst the many trees; all have access to a fabulous network of biking trails and excellent hiking nearby. Corte Madera occupies an area of four square miles of land, plus surrounding water tidelands. It is within hiking, biking and driving distance of some of the most beautiful vistas in the western United States. The town reflects the easy, outdoor lifestyle long associated with California, with open space, and parks in every direction. In Corte Madera you will find a magical blend of contrasts, from its rural, sprawling hillsides and bordering waterways to its cosmopolitan, fashionable homes and businesses.
Greenbrae is a small, though well-traveled area of Marin County. Located adjacent to U.S. Highway 101 at the opening of Ross Valley, this address encompasses parts of the City of Larkspur, as well as some unincorporated county land. Predominantly composed of either hillside or waterfront terrain, its homes and offices are known for their views of San Francisco Bay, Corte Madera Creek, and Mount Tamalpais. Greenbrae’s neighborhoods are bordered by Downtown Larkspur to the south, Larkspur Landing to the east, the unincorporated area of Kentfield to the west, and the City of San Rafael to the north. Straddling Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, its most frequented points of interest include Marin General Hospital, Bon Air Shopping Center, and the Marin Rowing Association Boathouse.
Because the town of Kentfield is unincorporated, it is governed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, who are known to pay close attention to the wishes of the residents, especially concerning development. An upper middle class to wealthy community, Kentfield is nestled at the base of Mt. Tamalpais, bordered by Larkspur and Ross. The name “Kentfield” is taken from the family of Albert Kent, a Chicago meat packer who, along with his wife Adaline, settled in the area in 1872. She donated twenty-three acres of land for a community recreation center; it later became the site for the College of Marin, which is part of the California Community College system. Their son William was a U.S. congressman and an ardent conservationist who donated Muir Woods as a national park. The homes in this area are generally set well back from the streets that meander among pine, redwood and Manzanita. The low-profile roofs of these spacious homes, mostly set on large lots, are designed to blend in with the natural surroundings and offer a wooded, country feeling.
The wife of a major developer, Charles Wright, named this beautiful area for the lupine she found there, mistakenly identifying it as larkspur. The downtown/Magnolia Avenue area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an irreplaceable American “turn of the century home town.” Larkspur residents have been quite successful in preserving the small-town ambience. Larkspur extends north to the unincorporated area of Greenbrae, home to the Bon Air Shopping Center, which offers boutiques, restaurants and gift shops. Greenbrae is well known for its tastefully landscaped custom homes, many of which have views of the bay, Corte Madera Creek and lowlands, and Mt. Tamalpais. A special effort was made during the development of this area to preserve the hundreds of majestic oak trees that grace the hillsides. Greenbrae residents enjoy a one-minute drive to the freeway and two minutes to the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal.
The history of Mill Valley began with John Reed. Subsequent to the acquisition of a large land grant in 1834, Reed built a sawmill in 1836 on Cascade Creek to provide wood for the construction of his house. The mill, which gave Mill Valley its name, is now restored and stands among the towering redwoods in Old Mill Park, a few blocks from downtown. Nestled at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais, only ten miles from San Francisco, Mill Valley became a favorite vacation spot for wealthy city dwellers. In 1896 a mountain railway, nicknamed “The Crookedest Railroad in the World,” carried passengers from town to the mountain’s summit and to Muir Woods. Although the tracks were removed in 1930, the Old Railroad Grade is currently very popular with hikers and bikers. Shortly after the town was incorporated in 1900, two town traditions began. The Outdoor Art Club was founded in 1902, a group whose purpose was, and still is, to preserve the beauties of Mill Valley. The Dipsea Race was first run in 1905 and has been held almost every year since. It is the second oldest race in the country, behind the Boston Marathon. The race is 7.1 miles long, from Lytton Square in Mill Valley over Mt. Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. The Fall Arts Festival is one of the cultural events that occur in Mill Valley each year. It is the longest running festival in the county, celebrating its 61st year in 2013. The Mill Valley Film Festival, also held in the fall, draws thousands of film enthusiasts and artists from around the world. Bordered on three sides by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, Mt. Tamalpais State Park and watershed, Mill Valley offers spectacular recreational opportunities.
In 1857 a Scotsman from San Francisco, James Ross, bought a large Mexican land grant named Rancho Punta de Quentin, which extended from what is now Corte Madera to Red Hill in San Anselmo. In the town that bears his name, Ross built his home on the property that is now the Marin Art and Garden Center; a beautiful ten-acre site that, in addition to housing several non-profit community groups, also offers many classes and activities. Shaded roads and lanes enhance this lovely town of grand estates and luxury custom homes. Large properties in park-like settings often have accommodations for horses, as well as tennis courts and swimming pools. Centered on the Ross Common is a small, very quaint commercial area featuring restaurants and shops. Until 2011, the same family operated one enterprise, the Ross Grocery, since Word War II. Residents are universally proud of, and offer support to, the local elementary school. In 1991, Child Magazine named Ross Elementary School as one of the top ten schools in the nation. The academic ranking is in the 99th percentile, the highest any school can achieve. Ross, often characterized as the suburban ideal, can easily be portrayed as a bastion of gracious living.
San Anselmo is a charming community of older homes amid diverse architectural styles, on shady, tree-lined streets. The downtown area is very “small town” in appearance, but offers a variety of shops and restaurants. In the 1870’s, what is now known as The Hub in San Anselmo was the spot where a spur track to San Rafael was added to the Sausalito-Tomales run of the Pacific Coast Railroad. San Anselmo was incorporated in 1907. The most visible landmark in town, a beautiful stone castle that overlooks San Anselmo, is actually the San Francisco Theological Seminary, established in 1892 to train Presbyterian clergy. San Anselmo Avenue, the town’s main shopping area, is a curving boulevard of awning-shaded shops, cafes, galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. The Annual Art and Wine Festival, the Antique Dealers Fair, and the Country Fair Day, are all very well attended by local citizens. San Anselmo also boasts one of the County’s most successful community volunteer programs.
Mission San Rafael Arcangel was established on Dec. 14, 1817, by Father Prefect Vicente Francisco de Sarria, three other friars, and an escort of soldiers. Although the buildings are replicas, a treasure trove of historical artifacts can be seen in the museum. Marin’s premier city San Rafael, is the oldest and largest city in the county and it is also the seat of county government. Marin’s second most popular tourist spot (after Muir Woods), the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center, was the last major structure and the only government building designed by the world famous architect. It is now a national historic landmark. Other notable places to visit are China Camp State Park, which rims a picture perfect shoreline and is wonderfully secluded, yet only minutes from town; the lovely Dominican College campus, founded in 1888; and the Falkirk Cultural Center, a handsomely preserved, 17-room Victorian mansion that is set on 11 acres of formal grounds just a block from downtown. San Rafael offers a wide assortment of housing; from Peacock Gap’s Golf and Country Club contemporary homes and condominiums overlooking the Bay, to spacious traditional homes in the prestigious Dominican section. San Rafael has 14 parks, yacht clubs, outstanding docking and launching facilities, tennis / swim clubs and bicycle trails. It is truly a community where families can enjoy an active lifestyle and partake of a rich historical and cultural heritage.
Beautiful and unique homes ornament wooded hills that fall steeply to Richardson Bay. Condominium apartments offer marvelous views of San Francisco and the Bay. Regular ferry service from San Francisco makes the town easily accessible for both commuters and tourists. Located on the southeastern tip of Marin, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Sausalito was first settled in the mid-19th century and incorporated in 1893, making it one of the oldest established communities in the North Bay region. Early Spanish explorers named the area “Saucelito” for the “little willow trees” they found growing along its streams and underground springs. The Sausalito of today, a colorful waterfront town framed by steeply ascending hills, reminds many of a Mediterranean fishing village. Bounded on three sides by Richardson Bay and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it has grown little over the years, still occupying a land area of just 2-1/4 square miles. This unique urban village has long been a popular visitor destination, known worldwide for its natural beauty, its incomparable arts community, the variety of unique shops and restaurants, and its easy accessibility from San Francisco by bridge and ferry. It is also a prized residential and business location, boasting temperate climate, old world charm, and some of the region’s most spectacular views.
What is now the Tiburon peninsula was, in the beginning, home to at least fifty Indian villages. Shell mounds, petroglyphs on the rock face of Ring Mountain, and the occasional find of mortars and cooking stones are testimony to this portion of Tiburon’s history. John Reed established his rancho on the lands where Mill Valley, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Quentin, and Corte Madera are now. In addition to his thriving cattle herds, Reed also established salt yards, a brickyard, and a stone quarry. In the 1880s, the coming of the broad-gauge railroad transformed the peninsula. The town was created as a result of the railroad, and a long line of ferries carried passengers and rail cars the six miles across the bay to San Francisco. The first elegant homes were built, mostly by wealthy San Franciscans, as summer retreats. Main Street Tiburon was rebuilt twice after being laid waste by fire. Incorporated in 1964, Tiburon is now a beautiful enclave of historical landmarks, parks, restaurants and shopping areas. The residential architecture is a mix of small cottages, many of them beautifully remodeled, contemporary showplaces located in the hills with spectacular views, and sensational examples of engineering that jut out over the water. The San Francisco and Corinthian Yacht Clubs provide berths for hundreds of sailboats for local yachtsmen; public and private tennis and swimming facilities are also available to residents.
Stinson Beach is 45 minutes northwest of San Francisco and just 20 minutes from Mill Valley, making its unspoiled sandy beaches and hiking trails a local Marin destination, as well as a hot spot for day and longer-term tourists. This tiny village is nestled between Muir Beach and Bolinas Lagoon. The beautiful white sand beach extends for 3.5 miles and offers the very best in beach-going activities from surfing, board sailing and swimming, to long relaxing walks or a barefoot run along the water’s edge with Mt. Tamalpais as a backdrop to the east. The town features several restaurants, a small grocery store, shops, galleries and a bookstore. Historically, the real birth of this beach community was in 1906 when the earthquake shook San Francisco and many of the displaced City people arrived in Stinson Beach and built the first hotel, shops, and restaurants. In 1977, Stinson Beach (apart from the privately owned Seadrift community) was transferred to the National Park Service. Stinson Beach is a popular “retro” seaside village with a thriving arts community. Indoor/outdoor living and the gorgeous oceanfront allure make this a popular high-end real estate destination.
Seadrift Community at Stinson Beach
Seadrift is a private and gated community located between Bolinas Lagoon and Bolinas Bay at the north end of Stinson Beach. It is comprised of about 300 multi-million dollar homes built on a sand spit either facing the ocean and the beach or on the Seadrift Lagoon. The community owns above the high tide line limiting access and assuring quiet and privacy to the owners and renters at Seadrift. The sunsets are breathtaking both from the beach and from the lagoon. Many of the ocean front homes have a view of San Francisco to the south or Point Reyes Peninsula to the north. Homes on the man-made Seadrift Lagoon enjoy a quiet, contemplative view with warm water in the summer, ideal for swimming, sculling and sailing. No motorized boats are allowed on the lagoon. Some of the homes on Dipsea Road enjoy both views of Seadrift Lagoon, Bolinas Lagoon and Mt. Tamalpais. Bolinas Lagoon is home to more than 30 species of birds that include the Great Egret, Blue Heron, avocets, cormorants & sandpipers. The Audubon Canyon Ranch is located just across the Bolinas Lagoon. A very special place indeed!