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"During the 60's this area was considered the hotbed of the sexual revolution and the hippies.."
- Linda Jenkins

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Marin County - the other side of SF
by Linda Jenkins, Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area
August, 1999

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I live in San Rafael, California, just 15 miles north of San Francisco. This city is a bedroom community and one of many small towns located through out Marin County.

Marin County

Marin County is known for it's high priced homes and beautiful country. However, it was not always thought of in this manner. During the 60's this area was considered the hotbed of the sexual revolution and the hippies.

Mill Valley

One town, Mill Valley, and the small bar known as "The Sweetwater" helped many of the bands get started. Santana and Huey Lewis and the News played in this bar when they were beginning their careers.

"The Sweetwater" is still located in Mill Valley and has not changed over the years. The seating capacity is only 30 or so. But on Friday and Saturday nights, you can find Maria Muldaur or many other famous artists playing there. The sounds reverberate so loud, through the quiet town that many of the local residents have tried to shut down "The Sweetwater" , but without success.

Today Mill Valley is considered the home of the YUPPIES. Houses ramble along winding roads that hug the sides of the hills in and around the downtown. The houses are perched precariously on stilts on the sides of these hills, with views that stretch forever through eucalyptus groves.

Downtown Mill Valley has a redwood forest surrounding it's central district. A downtown bookstore and coffee shop are constantly filled with locals out for a stroll. Shopping in Mill Valley is always a unique experience because of the usual and unique boutiques and art galleries that are a part of downtown this city.

San Rafael

San Rafael is one of the larger towns in Marin County. It is 15 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge and therefore considered as being on the outskirts. It has remained relatively quiet in comparison with some of the other town. Seemingly alternating between providing a commercial area or preventing business from enjoying working in this area.

Although, San Rafael is considered a town, we still have many of the rural attributes. At nights, I have seen small foxes scurrying down the streets. Racoons invade my porch searching for cat food and I have a pet opossum that comes to visit. Deer ravage the neighbours plants and are sometimes considered a pest.

Many of the houses that have been built here were constructed back in the early 1900s. And people have left them as they are. Shingles on the sides and often no air-conditioning or even garbage disposals. And to think this is one of the highest priced communities in America.

San Rafael has recently been experiencing growth in many areas. The local theatre has been renovated and shows many independent films and is part of the Mill Valley Film Festival. Opening night at the newly renovated theatre had Nick Nolte and other stars coming into town. What an event for this sleepy town.

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