A vacation doesn’t always require air fare and lodging. All you really need for a vacation is a day off and the words “let’s go a little further down this road”. Such was our experience on a warm and bright November day. We had planned on a short drive to one of our local hill-cradled reservoirs to get some sun and let our dog run until he was tired. Instead we kept driving up a windy road and found ourselves perched atop a ridge looking down onto the ocean. By this point the town of Bolinas was not to far away and so we decided to keep going a little further.
Bolinas is one of those places that doesn’t seem real at first. After all, farm stands don’t rely on the honor system for payment and kids don’t go to school in well kept schoolhouses. If you’re like me you might think you’ve snuck onto a movie set, possibly another Spielberg film set in a nostalgic portrait of an American town. However the schoolhouse is real, and so is the farm stand, which is owned by Gospel Flat Farms and resides in what is the extended front porch of a small white farmhouse. The farm stand’s honor system is simple: every morning local fruits and vegetable are harvested and brought to the stand where they are cleaned up and put out for sale. After that you are left to choose your produce, weigh it, write down what you bought and drop your payment into a slotted box. Inside the farmhouse beautiful light pours in through dormer windows and splashes against plaster walls and a well worn pine floor. This space functions as an art gallery and is currently showing the photography of Ethan Rafal. Like the produce stand, the gallery trusts the public and is left wide open.
After filling up a paper grocery bag with a little bit of everything at the farm stand, we got back into the car and drove down a road flanked by tall poplar trees. All the houses along this road sported white paint, sweeping porches, gingerbread details and like any good farmhouse they were surrounded by manageable plots of farmland. This road soon took us into downtown Bolinas, which consists of maybe three or four blocks. We parked our car when we arrived at a dead end that was defined by the waves of an incoming tide. As the waves pulled out, the beach was revealed long enough for Duke (our dog) to stretch out his stride in pursuit of thrown driftwood. We stayed long enough for Duke to make a mess of himself and decided we should make our way back.
The way we came was more circuitous than it need be so we went back down Highway 1, past Stinson Beach, through the shadow of Mount Tamalpais and met up with The 101 in Mill Valley. Our mission had been fulfilled – Duke was asleep in the back seat. When we got back home, shortly after roasting potatoes and sauteing some of the beet greens we bought, I opened up my web browser. I needed to find out how long the commute from Bolinas to San Francisco would be
To find out more about the Gospel Flat Farm please visit their website.