Sausalito came into existence well before the era of love, peace and happiness. Since 1838, it has at times been called everything from Saucelito to Sauz Saulita. However, it is the location, not the spelling of its name that gives Sausalito its unique flavor. At its nearest point, Sausalito sits three nautical miles across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. Until the bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay was completed in 1937, the only way to reach Sausalito from San Francisco was by a short boat ride or the lengthy land route around the bay.

After the Gold Rush, the only two groups that had easy access to boats were commercial fisherman and wealthy yachtsmen, and Sausalito’s heritage became that of two disparate classes of society. That background served as the premise of the 1947 film noir movie, The Lady from Shanghai, starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles.

Today, Sausalito is not only a destination in its own right but the jumping off point for exploring the wine regions of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, hiking nearby Mount Tamalpias and walking through the groves of giant redwood sequoia trees at Muir Woods. Other day trips from Sausalito include Point Reyes National Seashore and the hot mineral baths at Calistoga.

While at the dock in Sausalito, visit the nearby waterfront shops that are home to art galleries, ceramics, glassware, antiques, clothing and fine fashion which will keep the most discriminating shopper busy for hours. A very pleasant way to round out the afternoon is wine tasting at Bacchus & Venus or the Madrigal Family Winery Tasting Room, and watching the fog roll down the Marin headlands to the bay.