Fairfax Theater - Photo by Ben Davidson Photography, www.bendavidsonphoto.com
Posted in Blogging Marin on Saturday, June 15, 2013 by MCVB Staff
A cool little town and gateway to gorgeous West Marin
There aren't many "real" towns left in über wealthy Marin County these days, but Fairfax is one of them. This laid-back community, situated on the far end of the Ross Valley on the woodsy north slope of Mount Tamalpais, is a busy place: cyclists stream here by the hundreds each weekend to embark on road and mountain bike rides into surrounding hills and valleys. A newly-expanded natural foods market has added a suitably earthy face to the entrance of town on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard—the main northern route to bucolic West Marin and Point Reyes National Seashore. Downtown is visually anchored by the marquee of the recently enlarged Fairfax Theater (a favorite of Ross Valley resident filmmaker George Lucas). Stroll Broadway Boulevard and Bolinas Avenue and you'll find old-time bars, nightclubs, coffee cafes, a classic employee-owned hardware store and garden center, a new surf shop, a bakery, burger-and-brats joints and several upscale eateries.
A colorful history
Originally part of a Mexican land grant called Canada de Herrera, the town got its name from a Virginian, Lord Charles Snowden Fairfax, the tenth Baron of Cameron, Scotland, whose British ancestors were given the grant which became the province and then the state of Virginia. Fairfax and his wife, Ada, lured to California by gold fever, made Fairfax their home in 1855. The one-time working class burg on the stagecoach line to Bolinas and the Northwestern Pacific railroad line to Point Reyes Station, attracted early 20th century film studios, had a famed swim and country club that drew school groups and day trippers seeking summer and fall fun in the mid to-late century, and morphed into a hardcore hippy enclave in the 1960s.
Today, there's no better stop in Marin than Fairfax for food and drink after a road trip, hike or ride into the county's spectacular countryside.
Please also view Ben's blog in the Examiner.