Mill Valley

Overview

Introduction

Mill Valley is a shady, artsy community in Marin County populated by millionaires and famous names. Located at the base of Mount Tamalpais (known affectionately by locals as Mount Tam), it's about a 30-minute drive north from San Francisco. The downtown area is filled with boutique shops, yoga studios and some of the best dining in Marin County.

Mount Tamalpais State Park is 6,300 acres/2,550 hectares of California hillside dominated by Mount Tam's distinctive triple peak, which is said to look like a sleeping Native American girl when viewed from the south (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=471). There are hiking and mountain-biking trails, and a visitors center at the summit with amazing views. For overnight lodging in the park, hostel-style rooms and rustic private cabins are available at the old West Point Inn. http://www.westpointinn.com.

Theatrical productions (usually tried-and-true musicals) are performed annually mid-May to mid-June at the Mountain Play, an outdoor amphitheater high on the mountainside. The amphitheater was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Mountain Play theatergoers (often armed with picnic baskets and California wine) are picked up by shuttle buses in Mill Valley and taken to the amphitheater. Some choose to hike the lovely 6-mi/9.5-km trail back down the mountain into downtown Mill Valley after the show; others take the shuttle back. If you go, be prepared for either blazing sunshine or cool, misty weather. http://www.mountainplay.org.

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