Posted in Blogging Marin on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by MCVB Staff
By Joe Kukura
Whisking away for a weekend is rarely as rewarding as it is in Marin County’s Corte Madera. Nestled between iconic Mount Tamalpais to the west and the scenic San Francisco Bay to the east, Corte Madera combines an unforgettable mix of outdoor natural attractions with chic boutiques and shopping districts.
You’ll feel the Mediterranean vibe of Corte Madera in more than just the weather. The architecture, spectacular scenery and outdoor shopping bazaars will transport you to another land. Here are just a few of the reasons that a weekend in Corte Madera will help you relax, unwind and recharge your batteries.
Majestic Natural Attractions
You can’t miss Mount Tamalpais, the majestic mountain seen from all across Marin County. The highest point in Marin County, Mount Tam has more than 200 miles of hiking trails and offers panoramic views of the entire San Francisco Bay Area and sights you’ll never forget.
Even the biggest nature enthusiasts will never have seen anything like the Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve, home to many rare and endangered plant species. This designated open space also overlooks the whole San Francisco Bay, and its fascinating Petroglyph Rock still bears historic Native American carvings.
Rollerbladers will want to take a spin at Corte Madera Creek, where paved trails are embedded along the picturesque shores. If you’re more of a spectator, the Marin Rowing Association can be seen practicing on those waters daily.
And the bird-watching is unparalleled at the Corte Madera Ecological Reserve, where 204 wildflower-rich acres are home to a rotating cast of meadowlarks, egrets and sandpipers.
Eclectic and Chic Shopping
You’ll find two hip and distinctive shopping centers in central Corte Madera. Town Center Corte Madera, with its outdoor plazas and meandering passageways, also features free outdoor concerts on Sundays throughout the summer. The Village at Corte Madera is an eclectic collection of more than 70 shops, with a few recognizable names like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Williams Sonoma and the Apple Store.
For the foodie shopper, the Corte Madera Farmers’ Market is held every Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m. and is one of the best farmers’ markets in Marin County.
Fine Dining to Casual Eats
A few local legends highlight the Corte Madera culinary scene. Celebrities are sometimes spotted at Marin Joe’s, a 1950s-era steakhouse that still has the original retro look and feel intact. And Benissimo Ristorante & Bar has also been a favorite for decades, with home-style Italian cooking served at Corte Madera’s Old Town Square.
The above-mentioned Town Center is also full of fantastic dining establishments, most notably the five-star fine-dining Italian experience of Il Fornaio. For more casual eats, try the build-your-own burgers at The Counter, the decadent Vietnamese stylings of La Maison de la Reine, or the farm-to-table goodness of Blue Barn. There’s also the down-home barbecue of Pig in a Pickle, fresh-caught seafood at Pacific Catch, the all-healthy and vegetarian Veggie Grill, gourmet wraps by World Wrapps, and Mexican food at Baja Fresh.
Places to Stay
Cap off your Corte Madera days with a comfy nightcap. Marin Suites Hotel is super cozy and close to most local hotspots. Or experience the Corte Madera touch on some old reliables at Budget Inn or the Best Western Corte Madera Inn.
Just a few miles north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Corte Madera is a hidden gem that’s full of California treasures. Plan your next weekend getaway in Corte Madera, and stretch your legs at the foot of a mountain of activity.
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