Check Out Mill Valley, California!
Mill Valley is known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for its
charm, natural beauty and cultural events. Located in Marin County, just
north of San Francisco, it is a special place to its friendly residents and
Life in Mill Valley is surrounded by national parks, San Francisco
Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The natural wooded areas bordering the Pacific
Ocean attract visitors from around the world.
Located at the base of Mount Tamalpais, this beautiful mountain is
a dramatic backdrop for the rolling, hilly terrain and canyons that are so much
a part of the landscape. From its 2,600-foot peak, Mount Tam, as it is
affectionately called, plays an important role in the lifestyle of residents
and visitors to the area. It is a favorable place for hiking, bicycling,
horseback riding and picnicking.
The residents are proud of Mill Valley's excellent schools, low
crime rate, strong economy and community spirit which characterize this
town of 14,000 people with the city limits..
Mill Valley offers the quality of life desired by those who want
to raise a family in a nurturing environment, and by entrepreneurs who want
to start a business in a growing economy and creative community. Mill Valley's
caring residents, thriving businesses and active service organizations help
make it a very special community.
1970, "Mill Valley, That's My Home" became a national hit song, selling over
100,000 records. Teacher Rita Abrams and her third grade class from
Strawberry School became an overnight sensation when they sang about a place
"where people aren't afraid to smile".
Residents and visitors enjoy mild temperatures year-round and no
one seems to mind when the fog rolls in. The cooling action of the ocean
fog in the summer months keeps the average high at 76 degrees and the average
low at 43 degrees.
Beginning as a logging community with the railroad depot in its
central area, Mill Valley flourished during the 1890's. In 1889, Joseph
Eastland convinced the North Pacific Coast Railroad Company to bring a spur
line into the area. In 1990, the town was incorporated as Mill Valley and
celebrated its centennial year in 2000.
Mill Valley, by 1900, already had about 500 homes and an estimated
population of 1,000, but many of these were cottages for summer residents.
For those residents who worked in San Francisco, there was a narrow-gauge steam
commuter railroad that connected with the ferryboats to Sausalito.
1902, a group of concerned women joined together to work for the preservation
of outdoor beauty, founding the Outdoor Art Club, and the Bernard
Maybeck-designed Outdoor Art Club building was completed in 1904.
Mount Tamalpais, known as the "Sleeping Maiden", provided a
special allure to visitors, who could ride a scenic train up to the summit,
then glide back down in the "gravity cars". Muir Woods, located to the east,
was a popular tourist attraction on the rail line more than 100 years ago. The
railroad was discontinued in 1929 due to declining revenue and the increasing
popularity of automobiles. Mount Tam and Muir Woods continue to be popular
among locals and visitors alike.
One of the old gravity cars can still be seen in Old Mill
Park, located within walking distance of the center of town. The old depot
was brought back into the town square, Lytton Square, and now houses a
bookstore, café and the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce
The area's earliest inhabitants were the Coast Miwok Indians, who
called themselves "the first people". They had a wandering life in the lush
forest of vegetation and seacoast environment. Food was in such abundance, it
is said that they could go for 5,000 years without experiencing famine. Many
artifacts still exist as a reminder of those early settlers, who eventually
moved north to escape the developing civilization in Mill Valley.
With logging starting in the 1830's, John Reed built his sawmill
from redwood timbers in 1835. Recently rebuilt, the Old Mill is considered
Mill Valley's most important historical structure (State Landmark No. 207). The
Mill Valley Lumber Company, founded in 1892, is located on Miller Avenue at the
approach to the town square. It still uses some of the original mill buildings
and provides lumber to many San Francisco Bay Area communities.
Horse Hill is a very special place on the border of Mill Valley
and Corte Madera, adjacent to Highway 101 in Marin. Fourteen privately
owned horses graze freely. The horses are able to graze on this land thanks to
an arrangement between the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) and the
Alto Bowl Horseowners Association (ABHA). ABHA is a non-profit coalition of
horseowners that work in close collaboration with the County to remain in
compliance with the Open Space regulations.
The herd on Horse Hill is a social unit. Just as any wild herd
on the Montana plains, each horse holds a place in the unit. They roam the Hill
as much as 18 hours a day, grazing and moving to find the most favorable
conditions, seeking out the shade and drafts on warm, sunny days and searching
for the protection of the trees and hills in chilly weather.
Just like all Open Space in Marin, people are welcome on Horse
Hill with little interference from the horses. When not under saddle, the
horses have little interest in the trails. They are mostly interested in the
grass. People walking with their canine companions are also welcomed. The
horses simply ask that the dogs stay with their human companions, either on
leash or by voice control, just as they would around other wildlife.
Mill Valley has a thriving economy powered by a dynamic business
community. There are more than 1,000 small firms that offer professional
services and a variety of retail shops. Businesses are primarily located within
the central downtown area, along Miller Avenue and just off Highway 101-near
East Blithedale Avenue, Shoreline Highway and across the freeway at the
Strawberry Village Shopping Center.
addition, an estimated 600 businesses offer professional services from their
residences. With all the electronic and technical conveniences available
today, this segment of the business community is prospering and enjoying the
flexibility of working from a home office.
The Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce reminds residents to shop
locally through their "Shop Mill Valley" campaign. When tax dollars stay
local, the city can afford services that are important to the health of the
Mill Valley is proud of the strong partnership between businesses
and local schools. Many businesses financially support programs within the
school district. Businesses are also active in sponsoring programs and events
throughout the year.
One of Mill Valley's most unique aspects is the variety of its
residential environments. The community includes cottages and bungalows in
the Sycamore neighborhood. Communities like Eucalyptus Knoll grace the tops of
promontory-like hills and scores of individually designed homes are tucked into
groves, canyons and hillsides. Appearing much like a European village, many
homes in the downtown area have an old world flavor.
Mill Valley's desirable location and emphasis on maintaining the
community's size and uniqueness combine to keep home prices among the
highest in the Bay Area. Median price of a home in Mill Valley for 2003 was
addition to the shops providing for the daily needs of Mill Valley's
residents, its exciting mixture of gift shops, galleries, boutique and
specialty shops draw visitors from throughout the Bay area. Visitors find a
delightful variety of retail choices in each of Mill Valley's shopping areas
including downtown, Miller Avenue, Camino Alto, Tam Junction and Strawberry
Village. The Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce is proud of its efforts to
encourage residents to patronize local businesses and "Shop Mill Valley" when
choosing goods and services.
Mill Valley is also known for its many outstanding
restaurants. Fine dining choices abound, whether you're looking for a quiet
bite or a multi-course meal. The Chamber of Commerce regularly recommends
member restaurants and caterers.
The Chamber also responds to inquiries for hotel
accommodations. Visitors have a variety of stylish and comfortable
accommodations from which to choose, as well as facilities for meetings,
conferences, parties or other special events.
Dedicated to natural beauty and recreation, Mill Valley has open
space areas as well as 14 municipal parks, a nine-hole golf course and several
tennis courts. Local parks are host to many local sport leagues year-round.
Hiking trails, playgrounds and picnic areas are enjoyed by residents and
visitors alike. The bike path that runs along Richardson Bay from Mill Valley
to Sausalito is used by those who love to bicycle, rollerblade, walk or run.
The Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department also provides a
wide variety of programs for every age group. In keeping with the spirit of
the quality of life and leisure, Mill Valley has established a park system in
which residents take a great deal of pride and enjoyment.
Marin County is host to many beautiful scenic monuments and
recreational facilities. Ten minutes north of Mill Valley on Highway 1,
Muir Woods is home to spectacular Coast Redwoods. Their natural habitat is the
fog-shrouded, salt water coastal areas. Muir Woods encompasses 560 acres with
six miles of trail.
The popular seven-mile Dipsea Race has been a popular June event
since 1905. Some 1,500 runners begin in downtown Mill Valley and race over
narrow, winding trails, eventually climbing the dreaded 671 Dipsea Steps,
ending up on the other side of Mount Tamalpais in Stinson Beach.
For almost 90 years, during May and June, the Mountain Play has
been drawing audiences to the top of Mount Tamalpais for top-notch musicals
staged in an historic outdoor amphitheatre. Shuttle buses bring audiences up
the mountain for an afternoon of picnic lunches and entertainment with San
Francisco Bay as a dramatic backdrop.
The Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival that started in 1956 has
been held in many locations over the past 44 years before coming to its current
location at Old Mill Park. Every September, artists from throughout California
converge on the shady redwood grove to display samples of their jewelry,
woodwork, ceramics, sculpture, leather, fiber, mixed media and graphic
October since 1977, the Mill Valley Film Festival draws international
attention to Mill Valley as the town becomes host to premiere films,
celebrities and audiences from around the world. The two-week event
incorporates a variety of screenings, panel discussions and
Founded in 1966, the Marin Theater Company offers
professionally staged productions in its 250-seat main stage theater. Its
five-show season begins each September and entertains audiences totaling 30,000
each year from around the Bay Area. Youth acting and production classes are
offered in the summer.
Co-sponsored by the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mill Valley
Market, the Gourmet Wine and Food Tasting event hosts more than 70
wineries, 35 gourmet food purveyors and a sampling of local restaurants. Held
on the 4th Sunday of June in Mill Valley's downtown plaza, Lytton Square, the
event has earned national attention.
Mill Valley Business Expo is the premiere business trade show
in Southern Marin. Held in April, Expo hosts more than 50 exhibitors and from
1,000 to 1,500 visitors each year. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors this event
and it is in its eighth year.
The Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade is guaranteed to bring a
smile to everyone's face. Beginning in downtown Mill Valley and winding its way
up Miller Avenue, the parade gives a terrific "hometown" feel to the
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What is a Balloon Mortgage?
A balloon is a short-term mortgage which requires the entire balance of the loan to be re-paid at the end of the loan term.
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