Have you heard of the Hippie Tree? It’s a big eucalyptus tree up on a hill with a great swing hanging from it. It’s tucked into a little neighborhood in Tiburon, across the Bay from San Francisco. We were headed to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito (which is terrific for little ones, by the way) for a birthday party last Saturday, so we decided to stop at the Hippie Tree while we were up that way.
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After coming on Tiburon Blvd, you’ll turn onto Gilmartin Dr. and head up a little ways. There are a few spots to pull over on the side of the road near 100 Gilmartin, and then the pathway up to the tree/swing is across the street from there. There’s a chain across so you can’t drive up, but the walking path is perfectly accessible.
You’ll walk up and veer to the left when you get to a T, and you’ll see the tree and swing straight ahead. I’d say it took us (with a toddler walking) about 7 minutes to get to the tree, so it’s definitely a quick walk.
When we were there on a Saturday afternoon, there were a couple others hanging out and climbing on the rocks/having a picnic, but we had plenty of time on the swing to ourselves. We didn’t feel rushed at all, and it was pretty magical feeling like we were sailing over the Bay on a swing. A couple of reviews warned that the swing is high and we’d need to give each other a boost, but either the swing is now lower to the ground or those were very small children writing the reviews (our 7-year-old was totally fine getting on by himself, while our 5 and 3 year olds needed a bit of a boost).
After that, we headed over to the BADM, which is a gem for 8 and under crowd. I love how all the exhibits there are super spacious and there’s plenty of room to walk around since they’re all in different buildings with outdoor walking space in between. It makes it a bit tricky in bad weather, but it’s amazing when the weather is nice. Plus, there’s a fantastic view of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge!
We definitely needed some food at this point (we’d eaten lunch in the car on the way up), so we stopped at Sol Food, which I’d heard about for years from various friends who live in the area. The food was very good and definitely worth heading there if you’re in the area. Because we’re vegatarian, I don’t know that I’d make it a destination restaurant, although I suspect the meat is where their food really shines…rice and beans and plantains can only be so good. If you are vegetarian, though, the offerings were definitely solid and the tostones were fantastic (get them with cheese/avocado/tomato). The lentil soup was also excellent!
Where they really shone, though, was in their service. We were seated outside, and the tables against the wall are rather narrow. Near the end of our meal, I somehow managed to push down on my plate on the side near the edge just right, so that the entire plate flipped over and tumbled to the ground. Within seconds, multiple Sol Food employees were at my side asking if I was all right, and if they could bring me replacements of the food that was on there. They immediately brought out full portions of the food that had fallen (even though I’d already eaten a decent amount), along with assurances that it was no big deal and everyone makes mistakes. They were just SO NICE. They also came out to chat with us and various other customers throughout the meal, and were so helpful in providing anything we needed (even before we asked).
THIS is the kind of thing that makes me want to return to a restaurant over and over again. You can bet we’ll be back the next time we’re in Mill Valley.
On the way home, we stopped at Hawk Hill for the sunset, which is just across the bridge from SF and has a spectacular view. The puffy clouds and fog that evening made it even prettier. The parking lot was pretty crowded when we were there, but we did manage to find a spot. Since it was late and we had kids to get to bed, we decided not to hike up (since the view from the parking lot is almost identical to the one up higher), but it’s definitely a nice quick little hike up if you have time.
All in all, a very excellent day up in Marin.