Population: 12,000+ (Larkspur); 9,000+ (Corte Madera)
Mayors: Kevin Haroff (Larkspur); Eli Beckman (Corte Madera)
It’s generally believed that Larkspur’s name was bestowed by the wife of an early developer, who mistook the lupine growing in the area for larkspur. The area around Corte Madera was once known for producing redwood tree lumber, hence the name, which means “chop wood,” in Spanish.
“Twin cities” Larkspur and Corte Madera share a police department and a school district, and the area is a retail mecca, with plenty of shops located at the Marin Country Mart, The Village at Corte Madera and the Town Center Corte Madera. Larkspur and Corte Madera are linked by the NWP Railroad Trail, which was once a corridor for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, an electric line that shuttled passengers between Sausalito and San Anselmo until the early 1940s. The towns come together every Fourth of July for an Independence Day celebration (back this year after a pandemic pause!) that includes a parade, arts and crafts, live music, kids’ activities and food. Each town, however, has its own distinguishing characteristics and history.
Larkspur boasts a terminal for the Golden Gate Ferry that shuttles commuters and day trippers to and from San Francisco, and a downtown historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places featuring many notable buildings, including the restored Art Deco Lark Theater, while Corte Madera, located at the foot of Mt. Tam and adjacent to Shorebird Marsh and Ring Mountain Preserve, offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor pursuits.
For More on Larkspur and Corte Madera:
- Where to Eat: Larkspur
- Where to Eat: Corte Madera
- A Modern New Larkspur Library Goes from Dream to Reality
- Before and After: This Larkspur Split-Level Home Went From Dark and Cramped to Sunny and Breezy
- Marin History: Hotel Larkspur
- This Corte Madera Remodel is Cool on the Outside, Warm on the Inside
- Marin’s Famed Furniture Brand, RH, Opens a Rooftop Restaurant in Corte Madera
Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.