Posted in Blogging Marin on Thursday, January 19, 2017 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
While the holidays are a great time to reconnect with friends and family, don’t forget to pay extra attention to your special someone. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, now is the best time to start planning that romantic Marin getaway. Here are a few tips for making the most of your stay.
For a bit of rest and relaxation mixed with outdoor adventure, book a stay at Mill Valley Inn. The hotel is a short walk from downtown Mill Valley, with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries mere minutes away. That said, the hotel has a quiet, almost remote feel to it, with European sophistication mixed with the charm of a historic mill town. Best of all, it’s located at the foot of Mount Tamalpais and a gateway to soft adventures.
If you’re seeking a private, bed-and-breakfast experience, book a few nights at AppleGarden Cottage. Located just outside the historic town of Tomales, the cottage has all the modern conveniences we’re used to and is fairly spacious, with a private kitchen included. Best of all, the cottage rests on a farm known for its best-selling ciders. Guests are even greeted with a bottle and a cheese plate.
Another charming bed-and-breakfast is Panama Hotel in San Rafael. The historic inn is midway between San Francisco and California wine country, giving it quite the ideal location. Along with cozy accommodations designed in European style with shared baths, its restaurant features an elegant, historic dining room and an outdoor patio reminiscent of the tropics. Panama Hotel even has special rooms designed specifically for pet owners.
Feasts for Two
Marin’s culinary scene is very focused on farm-to-table fare, with restaurants like Vin Antico perfecting that craft every season. The San Rafael hotspot serves fine wines and creative cocktails along with fresh and flavorful food. The chef sources local ingredients for each dish, and as such, the menu changes every few months to incorporate in-season fare. Splurge on handmade pastas, oven-baked flatbreads, sustainable fish and more.
You’re in for a wild ride at Wildfox Restaurant, so strap on your seatbelt. The menu is as decadent as the ingredients on your plate. Serving up American comfort food with a twist, every dish is packed with flavor. Start off with a shared plate like the finger chicken pot stickers or tempura calamari before indulging in filet mignon, bistro steak frites and braised beef short ribs. To up the romance factor, dine on the outdoor patio.
Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and you can experience life on the Left Bank right in the heart of Marin. Left Bank Brasserie aims to bring guests to the Paris of an earlier era, where artists, writers and philosophers roamed. Headed up by chef Roland Passot, the menu is filled with classic French dishes with a few surprising twists. They source ingredients locally, coining the phrase “French-to-table.”
Get inspired with a night of gallery hopping as part of San Rafael’s Art Works Downtown. The galleries are open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but on every second Friday of the month the spaces stay open after hours for an evening of wine, cheese and chats. Mix and mingle with fellow art lovers and maybe even meet one of the featured artists. Stay for the live music or wander to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
For a romantic outing on the water with some of the most iconic and breathtaking views in California, SF Bay Adventures offers both regularly scheduled and special public sails on the classic, traditionally rigged Schooner Freda B. On February 10, experience the magic of the penumbral lunar eclipse during a two-hour excursion with views of the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Or cozy up with your valentine under a blanket on February 14 for an unforgettable sunset sail that departs conveniently from downtown Sausalito.
Up for a road trip? Take a scenic drive along the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail. Either follow the suggested route or carve out your own itinerary. Remember to plan ahead, as several of the cheese farms are appointment-only. That said, there are plenty of farms open to the public, no reservation needed. Swing by Bohemian Creamery to meet some of Lisa Gottreich’s Alpine dairy goats or stop at Bravo Farms for some fresh cheddar.
When you’re all wined out, head to Heidrun Meadery, a facility that creates naturally sparkling varietal meads using the traditional French méthode champenoise. The tasting room is open every day except Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (slightly later on weekends). The meadery also offers hour-long tours for small groups and couples, bookable in advance. Before leaving, enjoy a glass of mead on the outdoor patio or pack a picnic.