The Mansion at Casa Madrona

A Modern Guide to Sausalito (Just for Tourists No More)

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It was 25 years ago when I first time I became aware of a place called Sausalito. Pepperidge Farm had just come out with a macadamia and chocolate chunk cookie named after the city. I never imagined that I'd eventually live in San Francisco, a 10 minute drive away from that mythic place.


Now, I we are just 10 minutes away from warm summer days, 10 minutes away from paddle boarding on calm waters, from the loveliest of lemon mousses, my favorite design shop, and an invigorating morning jog to the ocean. Don't get us wrong, the famous waterfront suffers from too many tourists, but can you blame them for making the pilgrimage to the namesake of the famous Pepperidge Farm cookie? It is a beautiful destination after all. —L.M.L.


STAY

The Mansion at Casa Madrona

This stately hillside Victorian, once a B&B, has recently been rehabbed into the exclusive, upscale wing of the Casa Madrona Hotel. Fresh coats of white paint, fluffy four-poster beds, deep blue textiles, and old brass maritime instruments give the rooms a subtle nautical feel, although the priceless views of the bay—with sailboats bobbing about, wet-suited paddle boarders dodging helms, and kayakers pausing mid-row to gaze at frolicking seals—really drive the point home. Large parties can reserve the luxurious, 5,000-square-foot Alexandrite suite, complete with professional kitchen, expansive outdoor patio (seen above), and private fitness center, for their shoreside revelries. Book a no-frills Swedish massage at the nice, but decidedly bare-bones, spa for a relaxing way to pass the late afternoon before heading to dinner just down the street. —L.M.L. // 801 Bridgeway (Sausalito), casamadrona.com


STYLE

(Ana Kamin)

John Wilmer

Treasure hunters will love this quirky antique shop, hidden on Caledonia Street and stuffed to ceiling with memorabilia like old vases, porcelain, flags, vinyls, books, paintings, and furniture. The owner, for whom the shop is named, also displays and sells his own paintings inspired by nature and his travels. You can take a virtual tour of his studio here. —A.K. // 333 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), johnwilmer.com



Heath Ceramics

About five years ago, I made a rather impetuous decision to stop living like a college student. I dumped all my Ikea dinnerware at the local Goodwill and stocked my shelves soon thereafter exclusively with Heath Ceramics. It cost me three freelance checks, but I've never regretted it. The brand's midcentury design heritage, plus the glorious heft of each lovingly handcrafted piece, elevate even burnt Pop Tarts. I often swing by the Sausalito factory to browse the seconds—priced at a 20 percent discount, whatever imperfections they may have are likely too small to notice. Just chalk it up to wabi-sabi. I do.—L.M.L. // 400 Gate Five Rd. (Sausalito), heathceramics.com/sausalito


(Ana Kamin)

Studio 333

Part spacious studio, part eclectic shop, and part events space with an outdoor lounge, Studio 333 is a good place to pop in for a cocktail party or trunk show and to admire work from local designers. Keep an eye out for works from local artists, including the colorful glass objects Kathleen Walbridge and mixed media pieces by Kerri Warner. Looking for a fab spot to host your next fete? Inquire about rates and availability here. Also stop by the downtown Sausalito outpost of Studio 333 for upscale souvenirs (hats, jewelry, soaps, candles) all made by local artists.A.K. // 333 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), studio333.info


(Ana Kamin)

Natasha Kolenko Flower Design Studio

While Natasha Kolenko's studio isn't technically open to shoppers, we recommend you take a peek at her website and Instagram for some serious floral magic. Kolenko arrangements, defined by their mix of modern and whimsical elements as seen in asymmetrical arrangement of delicate peonies above, are showstopping accents for any occasion. —A.K. // 225 Locust (Sausalito), natashakolenko.com


(Ana Kamin)

Sarah Swell

If you're in the market for a lovely piece of handmade jewelry, check out local designer Sarah Swell's shop for baubles with a sightly rugged feel inspired by California nature. Each creation takes up to four weeks to make, but a one-of-a-kindhammered band is worth the wait. Also shop a selection of fine home goods, including Brooklyn-made wall hangings and candles crafted in Maine. — A.K. // Tuesdays through Saturdays, 215 Caledonia St #102 (Sausalito), sarahswell.com


(Ana Kamin)

Driver's Market

Just around the corner from the crowded Bridgeway shops is Driver's Market, a local grocery store with well-curated products from small-batch olive oil to local cheese and handcrafted chocolate. Fresh deli menu features sandwiches (try the North Bay, with roast beef, melted cheddar, horseradish crème fraîche, red onion and roasted red peppers), wraps, and bagels, plus juices, smoothies, and kombucha on tap. Few indoor and outdoor tables make Driver's Market the perfect pitstop to have a peaceful break. — A.K. // 200 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), driversmarket.com


(Ana Kamin)

Gr.Dano

The atelier and showroom of fashion-design duo Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the process of making clothes. Gr.Dano's women's collection is "architecturally inspired," with mostly solid colors and cleans lines that guarantee garments will be timeless and suited for any occasion. — A.K. // 42 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), grdano.com


EAT


Munchies Candy

Our disinclination for touristy waterfront shopping notwithstanding, Munchies Candy draws me in with barrel after barrel of fresh (read: super soft) saltwater taffy in an eclectic assortment of flavors, from mango to molasses. There are other confections from which to choose—jawbreakers, circus peanuts, and Sunkist fruit gems (my childhood kryptonite)—so be sure to stock up. —L.M.L. // 607 Bridgeway (Sausalito), sausalitoshop.com/munchies


(Ana Kamin)

Scoma's

Don't be fooled by the row of rental bikes parked on the sidewalk outside Scoma's—this iconic seafood restaurant isn't just for tourists. This Sausalito classic has been a local hangout for decades. Come for the fresh seafood dishes—including a rich scallop risotto and a crab cake burger with creamy cole slaw—and stay for the view of the Bay. —A.K. // 588 Bridgeway (Sausalito), scomassausalito.com


Poggio

The exceptionally delicious Italian trattoria was something of an urban-tourist legend to my mind, that is until I had one bite of the luscious sweet corn custard. Until I marveled at the miraculously toothsome agnolotti. Until I almost asked, in my best Oliver Twist voice, for more lemon mousse, but then realized that even a trough full of the velvety pudding would not be enough. Best to leave the experience fully satisfied, but ready and willing to bust a gut for the pleasure of one more bite of absolutely everything. —L.M.L. // 777 Bridgeway (Sausalito), poggiotrattoria.com


(Ana Kamin)

Copita

Celebrity chef/author Joanne Weir's Copita has stepped up its game with a newly refined brunch menu courtesy of chef Daniel Tellez, who hails from Mexico City. Start your exploration of Sausalito with the Chilaquiles Montados, a basket of nachos smothered in smokey deep red salsa and topped with a fried egg, or the Enfrijoladas, scrambled egg fried tacos drenched in black bean sauce. Wash it all down with bottomless mimosas. —A.K. // 739 Bridgeway (Sausalito), copitarestaurant.com


(Ana Kamin)

Smitty's

With a classic name for a classic dive bar, Smitty's is the place to get your jug of ale amongst the locals. — A.K. // 214 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), smittysbar.com


(Ana Kamin)

Sushi Ran

If you're in the mood for some of the Bay Area's best sushi, Sushi Ran is a veritable landmark, serving more than 30 varieties of fresh fish for over 30 years. Chef Taka Toshi prides himself on expert slicing skills and artful presentations, but there is cooked Japanese and Pacific cuisine too for folks who don't love raw fish. The tuna tartare rice "crostini" with spicy aioli is superb, and the miso-glazed black cod is a must among the hot offerings. —A.K. // 107 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), sushiran.com


(Ana Kamin)

Sartaj

For a laid-back lunch that promises soft naan dipped in buttery masala sauce, this small Indian Cafe has a menu full of tasty classics such as saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, samosas, and hot lamb curry. — A.K. // 43 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), yelp.com


(Ana Kamin)

F3

Because a burger and fries is always a good idea, we recommend you refuel at F3, a casual eatery, from the owners of Sausalito's Le Garage, that serves American staples with a French spin. Don't miss the steak frites with sauce béarnaise and a French onion burger with soup and cheddar fondue. —A.K. // 39 Caledonia St. (Sausalito), eatf3.com


(Ana Kamin)

Bar Bocce

Beach club vibes rule the day at this Bridgeway hot spot where patio seating, a bocce ball court, and a swath of warm sand make for a fantastic mini-escape from the city on a sunny day. Grab a beer or a glass of rosé, order a crispy pizza (we love the spicy shrimp), and spread out your blanket for an extra-special picnic. Go early—space fills up quickly. — A.K. // 1250 Bridgeway (Sausalito), barbocce.com


(Ana Kamin)

Fish

Ask anyone where to find the best crab roll and they'll most likely point you toward Fish. The sweet Dungeness crab meat on a toasted roll needs nothing more than a bit of butter and a sprinkling of minced chives, but it comes with a huge portion of fries too. Don't sweat the line—it's worth the wait. —A.K. // 350 Harbor Dr. (Sausalito), 331fish.com


(Ana Kamin)

Salsalito

Mexico meets Natucket at this colorful snack shack where lunch means simmered pork or Baja-style fish tacos, as well as fajitas, chicken- and goat cheese-stuffed chiles, and other Mexican classics. Cool the spice with a cold Mexican beer or a homemade agua fresca. —A.K. // 1115 Bridgeway (Sausalito), salsalitotacoshop.com


(Ana Kamin)

Seahorse Sausalito

Located in the unassuming industrial part of Sausalito, Seahorse serves such Tuscan coastal dishes as zuppeta di Moscardini, octopus steamed in seafood broth, and their signature Cacciucco, a seafood stew that hails from owner Mauro Dosolini's birthplace of Viareggio. Go for dinner and join in as things heat up on the patio—evenings bring salsa and tango classes. Check the calendar for live entertainment. —A.K. // 305 Harbor Dr. (Sausalito), sausalitoseahorse.com


(Ana Kamin)

Cibo

This Bridgeway lunchtime staple is the perfect spot to grab a healthy salad—we recommend the Cibo salad with corn and nectarines—to go. Team it with a refreshing lemonade and cross the street to the marina for an al fresco lunch with a view. —A.K. // 1201 Bridgeway (Sausalito), cibosausalito.com


PLAY

Sea Trek

On most days, the bay is calm enough for a nice stand-up paddle excursion. While hardcore surfers sneer at SUPers, the leisurely sport is a great workout. If you attempt even the simplest yoga asanas on the board, you'll soon appreciate how much your core is at work. Yes, you'd rather be doing this on the warm waters off Maui's Wailea coast or on the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico, but trust us, Sausalito ain't too shabby. Rent boards or take classes from Sea Trek. — L.M.L. // 2100 Marinship Way (Sausalito), seatrek.com


Tennessee Valley

Granted, you could just walk across the street from the Mansion to stroll along the waterfront and cringe at the overseas barge-fulls of, um, crap that's being shamelessly peddled to tourists with vacation money burning holes in their pockets. Barring such relentless bad taste, it's a perfectly lovely stroll. But, for the winning combination of wilderness and walking (or jogging), drive just 10 minutes to Tennessee Valley, for a 1.7-mile hoof to the ocean, with nary a kitschy snowglobe or etched cheeseboard in sight. —L.M.L. // nps.gov/tennessee_valley


(Ana Kamin)

Floating Homes

If you haven't seen the floating homes, you haven't been to Sausalito. Perched on pontoons and connected with jetties full of plants and DIY art, Sausalito's famous houseboats comprise one of the most unique neighborhoods around. While some are gated off, several of the piers are open for a stroll to peepers—just be sure to respect the natives. For a closer look, mark your calendars for September 24, 2016, when the Floating Homes Association hosts its annual tour, complete with guided presentations and snacks . —A.K. // 1 Issaquah Dock (Sausalito), floatinghomes.org


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