Greenbrae, Ross & Kentfield Top 5
1 Half Day Cafe The place to chat with friends over a fresh fruit plate, veggie-tofu scramble or coffee-Kahlua-battered brioche French toast with orange butter. The house-baked cinnamon buns and scones are delicious, too. halfdaycafe.com
2 Cafe Marmalade Hands down, the best iced drink—on a hot day or not—is the Arnold Palmer here. It’s a perfect concoction of ginger peach tea and minty lemonade. You’ll order a second to take with you. 415.461.2205
3 Marché aux Fleurs The Provençal menu takes its cue from the seasons and local offerings and the wine list is excellent. Try the appetizer of cheese-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in smoked bacon. marcheauxfleursrestaurant.com
4 Woodlands Market Customers make a beeline for the wine department, where wine manager David Curtis has assembled his superb handpicked selection. Wine tastings on Friday and Saturday evenings cost $5. woodlandsmarket.com
5 Bar Method at Bon Air Center It’s pricy, but regulars are addicted and swear by the results. And their long, lean bodies prove their point. Work up to an advanced class. barmethod.com
Get up early and take a Bar Method class at the Bon Air Center. You’ll inspire yourself. Browse the stores’ window displays. Solaria’s Toys is a good one-stop shop for playthings; Secret Garden has beautiful classic children’s clothes and Bloomworks has bouquets to go.
Stop in for a piece of fruit at Mollie Stone’s or splurge on a danish at Victoria Pastry. Then follow the path behind the shops through Greenbrae and Kentfield to Kent Avenue, where the charming cottages of Ross make way for leafy drives and luxe addresses.
Ross homes may be large, but the shops are small and the goods are chic. Gala has cool women’s clothing, Number 5 has designer handbags, and Nene Shoes has European footwear for children. Sam the Butcher, an art gallery, exhibits contemporary works.
Rent a bike at Breaking Away Bikes and ride to Lagunitas Road for the trailhead of Phoenix Lake, an easy loop that will take you over bridges and through aromatic trees.
Pick up a picnic lunch at the old-fashioned Ross Grocery and head for the Marin Art & Garden Center. Eat lunch on the lawn, and then wander through the shops and various gardens of the 11-acre site. Exit onto Laurel Grove for a leisurely ride, past manicured landscapes and lovely homes, back to College Avenue in Kentfield. Locals love Pacific Cafe for its excellent seafood, attentive staff and easy parking. If there’s a wait, owner Bill Booth makes it more enjoyable with a complimentary glass of wine. Wind up the evening back at Marin Art & Garden Center with a performance by the Porchlight Theatre Company or the Ross Valley Players.
Take a two-hour introductory course at Marin Rowing Association or sign up for a golf or swim class at College of Marin, where use of the tennis courts is free. Pedal your bike, tackle the par course or walk your dog along the multiuse path; sail or kayak on Corte Madera Creek; or windsurf in the waters just past the Greenbrae Boardwalk. Join a coed soccer team and play on Saturday mornings at Redwood High School.
Did You Know?
• The mystery antique rose behind the Ross Police Department is believed to be the variety called ‘Gold of Ophir’.
• The Coldwell Banker “castle” was the original sales office for Greenbrae Co.
• The Greenbrae Boardwalk homes were once hunting shacks.