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24 Hours in Sausalito

During my week in California this month, I managed to spend 24 hours in Sausalito, a lovely tourist town with Italian and shipping-industry roots located on the waterfront a short hop across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Wonderful dining, shopping and simply relaxing are what attract people to the community.

If you stay in the heart of Sausalito—Bridgeway Boulevard is the main drag—most places you’ll be interested in are within walking distance. Here are a few highlights from my jaunt:

Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa. Even though the staff were wonderful at Casa Madrona, I have to give the hotel an overall mixed review. However the spa at Madrona is well worth a visit. I managed to snag a one-hour massage appointment ($95) the afternoon I arrived. My therapist, Sean, was fantastic. He combined Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques to work out tension in my neck, shoulders and back—regular sore spots for us writers and editors. The spa has nine treatment rooms and is open daily until 9 p.m., but it’s recommended you book before your stay to ensure you get your preferred time slot.


Casa Madrona suite; Casa Madrona Artist’s Cottage room; Scoma’s.

Scoma’s. This seafood restaurant came highly recommended from a local, and it did not disappoint. The New England clam chowder was thick and chock full of delicious clams; the fish and chips were a hit—light, flaky and in a coating that was not at all greasy; the local linscott, a white fish, was perfectly sauteed and served with crisp green beans and buttered corkscrew pasta. (There’s a branch in San Francisco on Pier 47.) Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Try Il Piccolo Caffé & Art Gallery on the waterfront, where Bridgeway and Princess Street meet, for authentic Italian sandwiches and pastries. Excellent coffee and perfectly-sized homemade chocolate croissants (three bites) hit the spot. You can sit outside and watch the sailboats go by.


Il Piccolo Caffé; Winship Restaurant; shops on Princess Street.

For a heartier breakfast, we enjoyed the Winship Restaurant, located in a building that served as the town’s first general store in 1875. I devoured the Joe’s Special—ground beef, eggs, baby spinach and onions, served with potatoes and toast. The Poached Eggs on Grilled Salmon Potato Cakes and the Eggs Benedict were hits with my dining companions. If bringing children, parents are asked to monitor their behavior and make sure they stay in their seats so as not to disturb other diners.

Sausalito is packed with boutiques, children’s stores and the obligatory tourist shops. For a wonderful selection of local, New York and European designers and fashionable items, don’t miss Arlecchina on Princess Street. The owner carries the fun Stiletto and Beebop & Wally labels. For lovely culinary items there’s the Venice Gourmet Deli, (625 Bridgeway), where you can also grab excellent sandwiches to go. You can also shop for its goods online.

Or enjoy the deli’s food while chatting with the locals at the No Name Bar, a wonderful old dive bar on Bridgeway near the Casa Madrona which caters its meals from the deli. The bar has live music most nights and jazz on Sunday afternoons.


A harbor morning; jazz at the No Name Bar.

(All photos by D.M. Airoldi.)

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