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A holiday weekend getaway to Sausalito

by Staff

Sausalito’s colorful houseboat community emerged after World War II. (Getty Images)

Craving an escape from the holiday hoopla — the hustle, the bustle, the endless to-do lists? Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito may just be the most charming village on San Francisco Bay, and the perfect destination for a holiday day trip, winter weekend jaunt or destination for out-of-town guests.

With its distinctive Mediterranean flair and famous panoramic views of the Bay and San Francisco’s city skyline, Sausalito is also known for its elegant, Victorian-era homes, rising up woodsy, steep-sided hills, and historic storefronts, many dating to a more rough-and-tumble era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Massive marinas crowded with sailboats, yachts and colorful houseboats line the town’s waterfront, and a grand promenade with renowned seafood restaurants perched on piers beckon day-trippers with fancy food and sublime views.

It’s this charming storybook setting that has made Sausalito world famous over the years, drawing throngs of weekend tourists, who crowd the shops, art galleries and restaurants lining Bridgeway Boulevard, the town’s main thoroughfare.

With its stunning bay views and fun shops and eateries, charming Sausalito makes a great day trip destination. (Getty Images)
With its stunning bay views and fun shops and eateries, charming Sausalito makes a great day trip destination. (Getty Images) 

At night, however, when most visitors are gone, Sausalito changes personality and reveals an alluring inner charm, thanks to several superb inns, fine dining spots, some lively bars and an enchanting and — dare we say — romantic after-dark ambiance. That’s what makes Sausalito my top choice for a relaxing weekend getaway, especially during the holidays.

For a recent Sausalito weekend escape, we stayed at the luxe Inn Above Tide in the heart of downtown and a stone’s throw from the town’s ferry landing. My wife and I booked the inn’s one-night “Bump Bar” package, one of several enticing gourmet packages offered by the inn. Others include itineraries designed by chef and restaurateur Joanne Weir, for example, and novelist Laura Dave, author of “The Last Thing He Told Me,” which was set and filmed in Sausalito.

We checked into our spacious, ground floor room in the late afternoon. Perched just above the waters edge, the room offered mesmerizing (and you might say dizzying) views of the Bay, with Belvedere and Tiburon, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the East Bay and San Francisco shorelines and skylines in the distance. It was an astonishing and unexpected surprise.

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