August 21st, 2019

Your Travels: California’s Italian Riviera is in Sausalito

By Medicine Hat News on December 1, 2018.

Photo by Ernest Fode
Tourists and locals enjoy the open-air cafes along the Sausalito waterfront.

Ernest Fode

Arriving by ferry at the Sausalito Harbor, the waterfront and hillside homes reminded me of a village on the Italian Riviera shown in pictures one would see in glossy travel magazines.

Since I had a few days remaining on my recent summer road trip through Nevada and California, upon arriving in San Francisco I decided to visit Sausalito, the Mediterranean hillside resort town just across the Golden Gate Bridge on the Bay.

With a population of 7,000, Sausalito (Spanish for “little willow”) is a charming town with upscale boutiques, art galleries, gift shops, waterfront restaurants and has panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline.

Hopping on the Blue & Gold Ferry at Pier 41 Fisherman’s Wharf, my ferry passes alongside the infamous Alcatraz Island and arrives at the Sausalito dock within the hour.

During my walk along Bridgeway, the main street, endless shops, wine tasting establishments and sidewalk cafes all invite visitors to shop and dine.

The highlight of the afternoon was visiting the Marine Mammal Center. This centre is an animal hospital that rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured marine animals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and sea otters from the California coast. This hospital facility treats 600 to 800 animals a year. Admission is by donation.

Since noon was approaching I decided to stop in one of the many wine tasting stores to sample some local Napa Valley Cabernet and Pinot Noir wine. Then it was a lunch stop at an eatery called Sausalito Bakery & Cafe for a roast turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, brie cheese and delicious homemade apple strudel.

As I wandered back toward the centre of town, I decided to continue on and admire the floating home community at the far north end of this hillside resort. There, at Waldo Point Harbor, is a flotilla of houseboats occupied by local residents. This flotilla is so large that there is a daily guided visitors walking tour to admire all these collection of houseboats.

After a quick visit to nearby Fort Baker at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, my day ended as I hopped back on my return ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf.

I would highly recommend a day’s visit to Sausalito, either by ferry, bike rental or tour bus on your next trip to San Francisco.

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