Opinions on Marin County, CA?

I’ve been doing some research on Marin County California - I may be looking to invest in the area, specifically Tamalpais Valley…does anyone know anything about the area as a whole? Is it as cosmopolitan as San Fran or is it fairly laid back? Not that people out there are high strung per se but what is the general attitude out there? Good, bad, granola, hippy, skippy, conservative, liberal?? Ok maybe not skippy, but what is the general feel of the area? I love the red woods and would love to find out more about this area… We aren’t giving up CT that easily, but it may be a place where we chose to have a vacation home. I’ve heard great things, like some little nooky places are artsy and fun…

Anybody know?

Marin has a legacy of being hippie-ish and cool, as well as being the Land of the Hot Tub. I grew up in the South Bay (e.g., Redwood City, just above Silicon Valley) and we thought of Marin types as easier going vs. Silicon Valley. Now, however, real estate prices are insane and traffic has moved up towards San Rafael, San Anselmo, etc.

But the scenary is downright beautiful and if you pick the right town, it can be incredibly charming. Nothing cooler than visiting our friends in Mill Valley and walking down to the Depot to get some coffee and food to hang out…

Great! Thank you…Once the time get’s a little closer perhaps I’ll email and find some specific names of places not to miss. We have friends in Mill Valley - I’ve been to the Depot bookstore…Peet’s is right next door - great little cafe.

It’s fantastically beautiful and very liberal. It’s got Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods, Pt. Reyes, and Stinson Beach. Many of the towns are charming and funky. If you can live near one of the ferry terminals, it’s a quick jaunt into San Francisco.

Traffic is a bitch going up the 101 and it is ridiculously expensive.

Folks have summed it up just about as well as possible. I went to the College of Marin in Kentfield for two years.

However, if you’re looking for a vacation home, I’m not really sure Marin is what I’d suggest. It’s a great place for many reasons, but it just seems to me that if one could afford a place in Marin, you might do a little better getting a place somewhere like Monterey or Lake Tahoe, which are a little more vacation-y. (Not that Mt Tam and Stinson Beach aren’t lovely places, of course, I’d just suggest places that are a little more of a getaway.)

It is gorgeous. Depending upon your outlook on weather, it also has the big advantage of being a heck of a lot warmer than San Francisco. You can see the fog rolling in to the City many times while anywhere in that County the sky is blue and it is vastly warmer.

As Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever saw was one summer in San Francisco.”

It depends. West Marin is like being in the boonies. The more populated areas- Sausalito, San Rafael, Mill Valley, etc- it helps to drive a Volvo. It’s filled with ex-hippies turned yuppies. Still, I wouldn’t mind living there.

Hope you’ve got lots of money… The San Francisco Chronicle did a story on median home prices in the Bay Area recently, and Marin County’s median home price was $886,500. I’m not sure if that’s just single-family homes or includes condos and townhouses as well.

It’s a bit less liberal than San Francisco, but that’s not saying much. George W. Bush managed to get 25% of the vote in Marin County in 2004, and 28% in 2000 (as opposed to 15% and 16% in San Francisco).

Me, I’d rather buy something in Napa or Sonoma county- the weather’s nicer (much less fog and rain) and the wine country is closer (but then again, I don’t particularly like hiking, and I do like wine). Plus you’re more likely to be able to get a decent real-estate deal there. Home prices are falling in the Bay Area in places that are too far to commute to San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose, but holding their values in the core of the Bay Area.

Lifelong Marinite checking in. It’s definitly one of the most beautiful places to live in the country, and the weather is generally excellent. Politically, it’s very liberal, but that’s offset somewhat by also being very wealthy, so the region does tend to skew conservative in some unexpected ways. There’s a fairly nasty streak of elitism, for example. I’ve a lot of friends who work in restaurants, and they all mostly agree that the worst customer experiences they’ve ever had have been working in Marin restaurants. But, they also get the biggest tips here, so apparently it balances.

Culturally, there’s quite a bit going on. We’ve got a good crop of museums, festivals, farmer’s markets, and the like, but the scenery is the biggest draw. Mount Tamalpais is visible from just about anywhere in the county, and hiking it is a great way to kill an afternoon. Muir Woods and Stinson Beach are both easy drives, too. Napa County and Half Moon Bay are both close enough to make a day trip out of, and L.A. and Humboldt County are good weekend excursions. And, of course, you’re never more than thirty minutes away from this.

Okay, thirty minutes, or two hours, depending on traffic. You will need a car. Public transportation around here is absolute shit.

Paraphrasing Robin Williams:

“A white shark beached and died on the coast of Marin, yeah you guess it: all the people in Marin just said “Thank god it was white!!” Those people don’t get the crabs, they get the lobsters!!” :wink:

Still a nice, if very pricey, place overall.

I grew up in Sonoma County, which borders Marin to the north, and we basically thought it was Snooty McSnooterville down there. (They seemed to think we were all hicks, which was not inaccurate, actually.)

There’s a fantastic yarn store in San Rafael, though.

I can’t really imagine buying a vacation house there, though. Unless you like suburban vacations. If I wanted a vacation house, I’d look up in the mountains. One of my dad’s best friends from high school lives in Twain Harte, CA, in the Sierras by Yosemite. It’s my dream in life to live up there. Absolutely gorgeous.

Robin Williams went to Redwood High School in Larkspur. Three of my friends are alumni.

Beautiful place, great weather. Full of hippie-oids. An expensive as hell—you might find a good deal on a house if it was built on the grounds of a haunted insane asylum that the air force tested nerve gas on. Maybe.

Beautiful countryside, though. In Marin and Sonoma, you can go from what looks like English Moors, to Mediterranean farmland, to the forests of Endor in about an hour.

Thanks all, we have friends who live in Mill Valley and are just tossing ideas around. Nothing in stone.

I’m definitly not into the suburban holiday getaway, I’m more into the treehouse in a nice location in the middle of nowheresville. We’ll keep looking

You won’t get that in Tamalpais Valley- it’s about 12 miles from San Francisco, and is pretty close to the 101.

I worked for Cala/Bell supermarkets for three years, at stores all over SF, and the customers I helped in Mill Valley were the absolute shittiest, snobbiest, and rudest I ever encountered.

I know that’s kind of the running joke about Marin, in the same vein as Robin Williams’ bit, but it was true for me that day.

Edit: Er, sorry, I didn’t mean for that to look like it was directed at you, Phlosphr, or anyone else.

It’s becoming increasingly more interesting what I am learning about this place I hear so much positives about…where in fact it’s quite the opposite. Our friends are well off but not snobby - sort of millionaires next door types. But doing this research from Connecticut when I can’t just go check it out is not easy…

Yeah? What years?

Phlosphr, it’s not all negatives. Like every place, it has it’s good sides and it’s bad sides. I think the good definitly outweighs the bad, by a fair margin.

Most of them would’ve graduated around 1980. Looking at Wiki, Redwood High has more than it’s share of celeb alumni.

Well before my time, then. I graduated in '94.