Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday's walk...San Rafael to Fairfax and back

I have decided from time to time, I will bring you a little sample of walking Marin...off season.


I don't plan on being religious about my training for 3-Day #2 until early spring, but I would feel cheated if I didn't carve out some walks through falling leaves and chilly air.


Glenn had a busy day ahead of him trying to catch up with work. I had one open house, but a colleague asked to hold it open leaving me foot loose and fancy free. When I woke I went through every possible direction that I could head, estimated the length of the walks and decided it was time to walk west, to Fairfax. The ideal walk for me these days is a total of 10 miles or so. Longer takes A LOT of time, less makes me worry I will lose my edge. Fairfax from Glenn's office would be the ideal distance.


San Rafael is the county seat. Back in Father Serra days, the Mission of San Rafael was founded. The Mission was totally abandoned by 1844, and the buildings destroyed by fire. The buildings standing now are meant to be built in the style of a Mission, but are authentic.
The buildings that stand now, was built in the 40s and is still used for church services.
This Sunday morning I walked past as the bells chimed out, signalling the beginning of the 10 am service. Part of the originally Mission that does survives are three bells seen here.
On this sunny morning I tried to envision the Mission of days past. The Indians trying to understand the strange ways of these cloaked Spaniards. Watching as their world transformed in front of their eyes and being moved by a current of change they could not fight.
Things are always changing.
Walking further down Fifth Avenue, I passed the city hall, Marin Academy and some of the charming older homes that have been converted to businesses.

I passed a church that the girls and I attended for a short while when they were young. Maybe if I had seen the charming bear garden on the side of the church, I would have stayed on.


I have always thought the placement of these two signs would be the stuff Herb Caen would have enjoyed. Diet Center, next to Cake Art.

Marin Academy

Many of these Fifth Avenue homes are Victorian but there are modern buildings that are mixed among them. I like these little cottages and sometimes think it would be a fine lifestyle to live downtown like this. You could walk to restaurants, walk to movies, walk, walk , walk.... I passed 2 people I knew and I don't even live in this hood!

This building is on the corner of Forbes and Fifth. They recently did a lot of work here. I believe, but I am not sure, it has been converted to a private residence. I believe it used to be a private club, but I could find no sign today, thus.... I gather, it is even more private than it used to be.

Fifth Avenue at Forbes is the dividing line between the Forbes neighborhood and Sun Valley.
Forbes has been known as one of San Rafael's "better" neighborhoods for many years. There are many larger homes set on "city" lots with tree lined streets.
Eventually I was walking down the miracle mile a main drag between San Anselmo and San Rafael.

As I neared San Anselmo there is a beauty salon who's name is
"Peace Love and Grilled Cheeses".
It got my attention!

From the junction, I headed down Red Hill (also known as Sir Francis Drake). I passed the Community Center where they were having an open studio for local artists.

Some of the homes on this road are really darling. In a good market many people would over look the road noise and traffic to have a house like this.

Drake High School is one of the 3 major public high schools in Marin.

The school has a unique program of academies within the school that allow kids to customize their curriculum around their interests.
Communications Academy
Studies of the Environment Academy
Engineering Academy

When I crossed into Fairfax all of a sudden things got interesting! The police were there gathering statements after an accident. Maybe it was a hit and run, I only saw a truck sitting there in the middle of the road.

My friend Kelly's restaurant Pancho Villas wasn't open yet. Given that it was Sunday I was hoping she was enjoying the day with her family anyway....

I decide to walk on to the town hall. I have visited the building several times getting building resale inspections ordered..etc...etc...

This great old building is the Fairfax Pavilion. The downtown may have lost just a little bit of its hippy edge.
But it still feels like a town unlike any other.

In the window of a cafe there is this display of customers in miniature.

The town retains its vintage charm, even though the old B of A building is now a coffee roastery and the old grocery store is Grilly's.

The Barefoot Cafe on SFD seemed to have a line waiting to be seated.

Peri's is an long time haunt.

I decide to walk back a different way and followed Center. I took a turn to explore a bridge that was posted with several private property signs.

Never being one who would trespass (very far) when there is a sign posted the farthest I went was the middle of the bridge to take a photo of the creek. This creek in winter can be swollen to the point the road down stream are flooded and homes inundated.

The railroad used to travel on this route making a stop at Lansdale Station, halfway between San Anselmo and Fairfax, on the way to West Marin.

I walked along San Anselmo Avenue, enjoying the fall leaves and interesting homes.

Fall leaves. Who says there is no seasons in California. We have seasons, we just don't have the icky stuff like slush or mosquitoes the size of chevys.

Reaching the town of San Anselmo, it is hard to picture how high flood waters have gotten here on some wet winters....

I knew where I wanted to go... Taco Janes. Despite the relatively cook temperatures, I wanted to sit outside and have an enchilada! They lit the outdoor heaters and then....

I had my enchilada!

The San Anselmo City Hall

I headed back toward San Rafael through Greenfield Avenue. This street is full of charm and character. Little bungalows that have been lovingly care for.

Want a 1958 chevy? Try this lot.

The lunch time crowd at a San Rafael Cafe on 4th Street.

I walked past Irwin (where Glenn's office is) because I was coming up short on my 10 miles. After picking up the making of a dinner for Glenn's Dad,
I finished my walk at the magic 10....Mission accomplished for today.
On my way back I bough a special surprise for the 2nd 3 day walk... You will have to donate to see it... I will send you a sneak preview. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until the walk itself... and then maybe... we'll see. So DONATE and be the first to see the secret of the 2nd 3 day.