Swinging at the Hippie Tree

Hppie Tree Tiburon, Marin

I finally had a chance to visit the Hippie Tree this weekend. Hippie Tree is a hidden secret treasure located in Tiburon with one the most beautiful views of the Bay Area. Some locals also refer to this place as Tick Rock.

We had a little bit of trouble finding it since it is not easy to see from the road and it is located on the top of a hilly neighborhood.

We walked 5 minutes on the unpaved path to the top of the hill and found a majestic old eucalyptus tree with thick and strong branches perfect for an old fashioned rope swing. There were some kids relaxing and enjoying the view on some branches of the tree and a young couple having a photo engagement section… yes, this is a perfect photo spot!

Hppie Tree Tiburon, Marin

Other kids were climbing some rocks nearby, just be careful, as you can find glass bottle fragments on the ground.

At the peak to the hill you can appreciate the most spectacular view of the community of Belvedere, the Golden Gate Bridge towers, Richardson Bay , Mount Tamalpais  and San Francisco.
Hppie Tree Tiburon, Marin

Hppie Tree Tiburon, Marin

We had a lot of fun during our swing time and we spent part of our lazy morning relaxing under the tree….I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful area!

…A lovely Sunday morning to have a fun happy adventure!!!

How to get there:
The Hippie Tree in Tiburon, is located off of Gilmartin Drive,
on public land owned by the Town of Tiburon.
Limited Parking is available below the double yellow
lines on Gilmartin Drive.

Note: Swing is high from the ground…so, I would not recommend it for younger kids.

Have a Smiley Day!!!

Victoria 😉

Italian Street Painting Marin returns to downtown San Rafael June 29 & 30, 2013!

If you enjoy outdoor family festivals, music, cuisine and wonderful art, the Italian Street Painting Marin is the perfect combination of all of it. This colorful festival turns the streets in front of the Mission San Rafael Arcángel (Fifth & A streets) into a 30,000-foot huge concrete canvas. It is one of the largest chalk drawing festival in the country and have brought millions of visitors since 1994 to downtown San Rafael. (located just 25 minutes north of San Francisco)

This wonderful event is returning with a new name: “Italian Street Painting Marin”, formerly known as “The Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival”. which was cancelled in 2011 due to insufficiency of funding. Luckily it is back thanks to the efforts of Sue and Joe Carlomagno residents of Mill Valley and now we can appreciated the roads of San Rafael transformed into breathtaking masterpieces again!!!

Italian Street Painting Festival

Below is one of my favorite work of art at the festival back in 2008. “JULIET” (Olivia Hussey/1958) by Artist Cuong Nguyen. I remember coming back about 10 times to see how this talented artist progressed during the day 🙂 Since I have a little one I usually go to the festival on Sunday to appreciate the finished pieces of art but Saturday is the official “Family Day” and it is less crowded.

Italian Street Painting Festival

This cow piece by Allison Snopek was my daughter’s favorite in 2010.

Italian Street Painting Festival

My daughter always enjoys becoming a street painter (known as Madonnari in Italian).  For $10 children up to 12-year old are welcome to design their own street paintings at “Children’s Avenue”. A 2’x2’ square and a box of chalk are provided. Lots of fun!!! By far, they are the most valuable pieces of art! 😉

Italian Street Painting Festival

Fifth & A streets are renamed Via Leonardo & Via Michelangelo for the weekend!

Italian Street Painting Festival

Website: https://italianstreetpaintingmarin.org/

Location: Italian Street Painting Marin is held in downtown San Rafael – Fifth & A streets near Mission St. Raphael.

Dates: June 29 & 30, 2013, Saturday 10-7pm – Sunday 10-6pm

Tickets: Adults and children 13 and older: $5 – Children 12 and under: Free.

A great way to spend an afternoon of art, music and Italian food!!!  I’ll be there, come find me and say hello.

Have a Smiley Day!!!

Victoria 😉

Hiking Mt. Tamalpais’ East Peak

Yesterday we hiked the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Weather couldn’t be better, warm 70 degrees. It was a clear day perfect to enjoy the most stunning 360-degree views of the Bay Area. Just a beautiful spring day!

We drove up to the East Peak of Mt Tam. We took Highway 101 to the Stinson Beach exit and followed the signs to Mount Tamalpais–East Peak. As you drive up to the top you’ll see stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay Area and if you roll down the windows you’ll catch the eucalyptus and pine aromas.  It is a very curvy road, our dog got pretty dizzy and we had to stop for her to get some mountain fresh air.

Mount Tamalpais

There are two main trails. You can hike up to the Fire Lookout on the Plank Walk Trail or walk on the Verna Dunshee Trail. We did both of them since there are short.

First we took the Plank Walk Trail up to the to the 2,571-foot East Peak fire lookout station at the very top of the mountain. It is a .3 miles hike that starts with a wooden boardwalk and continue with a steep rocky path for more experienced hikers and older kids.

Mount Tamalpais

Stunning views!!! I felt at the top of the world!!! 🙂

Mount Tamalpais

Once we finished the Plank Walk Trail we then walked the Verna Dunshee Trail.
Mount Tamalpais

The Verna Dunshee starts in front of the restrooms. You can easily see the sign. This is an easy, 0.7 mile paved trail that loops around the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. No bikes are permitted on the paved trail but you can bring a bike lock and leave your bike in the designed areas. This trail is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Even though it is an easy path keep an eye on your small children at all times since some areas are not fenced and there is wildlife around.

Mount Tamalpais
There are benches available through the trail.  From the viewing platform on a clear day you can view the Farallons Islands out to sea, the Marin County hills, Mount Diablo, San Francisco, and the hills and cities of the bay.

Mount Tamalpais

Websites:
Friends of Mt Tam: http://www.friendsofmttam.org/
California Parks Website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=471

Directions:
From Highway 101 take the Highway 1–Stinson Beach exit and follow the signs to Mount Tamalpais–East Peak..

Hours: The park is generally open 7am – Sunset.
Fees: There’s an $8 ($7 for seniors) per car parking fee at the summit parking lot. Bring some cash.

Visiting the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito!

Looking what to do on a rainy day? Yesterday, we visited the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito. We have been there before but this was our first time after last year’s re-opening. The renovation project took 2-years and $15.5 million dollars in improvements.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model (1.5 acre model ) was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950’s. Until about ten years ago this 3-dimensional hydraulic model allowed scientists and researchers to test water quality issues, to study how water flows through San Francisco Bay and Delta and also to simulate the effects of everything from oil spills to upstream dams and from water diversions to floods caused by global warming. Now these calculations are done by one computer and the model is used for educational purposes.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Inside the main building you will find stunningly beautiful hand-painted murals, a short introductory video, interactive reading rails and displays, phone banks with information in English and multiple other languages. We did a self-guided tour but ranger guided tours are available for groups with advanced reservations and can be tailored to the technical level of the group. Tours  are approximately 1-½ hours in length and it is preferably to call three weeks in advance.  You can also do a pre-recorded audio tour if you pay three dollars each.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model offers a great opportunity to learn about the geography, topography, ecology, and the human and natural history of the San Francisco Bay and Delta.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Lots of hands-on activities. Science is Fun!!!

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

There’s a small gift shop in the visitor center that sells books, maps and toys.There’s no food available but you can bring your own lunch/snack and eat on the picnic tables in front of the building.

Location:
2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
Website: http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/BayModelVisitorCenter.aspx
Winter Hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays 9am – 4pm. Closed Sundays & Mondays
Admission to the Bay Model is FREE  (Donations Welcome). FREE Parking.

See in Google Maps >

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

After our visit to the Bay Model Visitor Center we explored the beautiful Sausalito waterfront and had lunch and coffee at the Taste of Roma Café. Delicious coffee, tasty lunch, friendly service, and you can bring your dog to the outside seating. 😉

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito is the only one of its kind in the world. This is definitely one hidden gem in Marin!!!!

Enjoy the April showers!!!