Mill Valley’s population of 14,000 comes closer to 20,000 during weekends, when bikers and hikers from throughout the Bay Area descend on the charming mountain town. Named for mill workers who called it home, Mill Valley was almost called Eastwood. In fact, the remnants of the first sawmill in the county now reside in Old Mill Park. The town has long been home to progressive thinkers and doers, including engineers of the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway, whose famous gravity trains were built in 1896. While the trains have been replaced with the aforementioned hikers meandering up or down the now-dirt fire road, the downtown Depot and Lytton Square are busy as ever.
SHOP Whether you’re seeking a hostess or birthday gift or one for yourself, Mill Valley merchants have carbondioxide- munching, oxygen-producing options in every color of the rainbow.
1. BLOOMINGAYLES 129 Miller Ave, 415.298.4047, gaylenicoletti.com
2. GREEN DOOR DESIGN 231 Flamingo Rd, 415.381.1886, greendoordesign.net
3. GREEN JEANS 690 Redwood Hwy, 415.389.8333, greenjeansgardensupply.com
4. MILL VALLEY FLOWERS 54 Throckmorton Ave, 415.388.7781, millvalleyflowers.com
5. NATIVE PLANT NURSERY AT GROW (pictured) 254 Shoreline Hwy, 415.720.6253, cnlnativeplantnursery.com
6. SLOAT GARDEN CENTER 401 Miller Ave, 415.388.0365, sloatgardens.com
EAT Beets, kale, cumin and parsley have never tasted so good or been so widely consumed now that juice shops are the rage. And is there a more delicious way to flush out last night’s wine?
7. JUICE GIRL Newish kid on the block Melora Johnson was greeted with praise and relief when her healthy juice company took over the Jamba Juice location last year. juicegirlmv.com
8. NEKTER JUICE BAR A welcome addition to Strawberry Shopping Center, despite being a nationwide chain. The power to place our orders via smartphone app puts it on the list. nekterjuicebar.com
9. URBAN REMEDY (pictured) Mill Valley’s Neka Pasquale, a nutritionist and expert in Chinese medicine, hit a home run with her organic juice company, which offers cleanses, salads and more. Stop by her Miller Avenue location or have products shipped to your front door. urbanremedy.com
Running Around Town
PLAY While the entire county is a runner’s haven, Mill Valley just might be the mecca. On any given day, Dipsea runners-in-training can be seen catching their breath at Windy Gap or checking their split at Cardiac, while other sinewy types can be found hoofing the trails of Tennessee Valley, Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods. Routes like Sun Trail, Blithedale Ridge, Marincello to Miwok, Railroad Grade and those glorious 676 steps from Old Mill Park up to the Panoramic Highway become a roadway for runners during the weekends. These athletes don’t just tackle the Dipsea; they are often training for the next event on the other side of the planet and choose these hills to test their moxie and the flats to hone their patience. And if that’s not enough to bring in the legions of speed racers — let’s just say the cool morning fog is an attractive bonus. Want to join the fun? San Francisco Running Company hosts a run every Saturday morning from its retail shop on Highway 1. sanfranciscorunning.com