Staycationing in Sausalito

Beautiful Sausalito

By Jessica Rogers

Sadly with the pandemic, many of us are traveling a lot less than in 2019. I used to be on a plane multiple times a month for work (or using travel points for vacations), but I haven’t gotten up the courage yet to head to the airport. On the positive side of things, it’s given me more time to explore the bounty of the Bay Area. One of the gems in its crown is charming Sausalito.

The city of Sausalito has waterfront end-to-end on its eastern side and is framed by the gorgeous hills of the Marin Headlands on its western side so there are plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed here (perfect for social distancing!). One of my favorite activities is kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Bay. Sea Trek makes it easy with year-round rentals. You can spend hours exploring the Sausalito waterfront and its quirky houseboat community.

SUPs on Richardson Bay

If you prefer to have someone do the boating for you, SF Bay Adventures is your go-to resource for a whole fleet of boats, either for public or private sails. The Matthew Turner tall ship is a 132’ classic vessel built right in Sausalito. This impressive ship offers various opportunities to get out on the bay, including a 3-hour sunset sail with reserved seating areas so you can stay distanced from others. The Schooner Freda B also offers unique options, including a Full Moon Sail or private charters if you’d like to take the family.

A quick drive west will bring you to Rodeo Beach with plenty of parking and options to either lounge on the wide beach or take a hike along the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Go as far as you like along the endless trail system in the Headlands.

View from the Rodeo Beach coastal trail

Of course, all this activity will make you hungry. Food options abound in Sausalito, and most take advantage of the gorgeous waterfront setting. Le Garage, a French bistro set on the water in the Schoonmaker Marina, is a standout. The tables are widely distanced and heat lamps and umbrellas are available. Their brunch is amazing … get ready to feast on their decadent quiche, and wash it down with a delicious Peach Bellini (my fave, although my friend adores their Kir!).

Le Garage’s delectable Dungeness crab salad and Kir

In downtown Sausalito, I am among the many local fans that adore the Italian food at Angelino, which is run by the lovely Ancona family. Tables here face directly onto the Bay with a clear shot of Angel Island and San Francisco. Plus points for COVID – they recently installed some outdoor heaters so you can linger longer. If you’re looking for the quintessential Sausalito experience, this is it.

For something more casual on the water, The Joinery is a neighborhood favorite. Order at the bar and find a table outside overlooking Richardson Bay. They have a rotating menu of beer and wine and the food is delicious and well-portioned. I dream about their crispy fried chicken sandwich, balanced perfectly with a nice arugula and fennel topping and a spicy aioli. The fried brussel sprouts are also amazing … I think the pandemic has me craving comfort food!

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Stores are currently open at limited capacity in Marin, so if you’re in the mood for spending, Sausalito has you covered here, too. My favorite new store in town is Salty on Caledonia Street, which carries a broad range of well-designed goodies from the local area and beyond.

Of course, a trip to Sausalito wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Heath Ceramics store. I could spend hours in here dreaming of ways to fill my kitchen cabinets with their dishes and serveware.

Heath Ceramics

To enjoy Sausalito for multiple nights, hit up one of the luxury hotels in the area. A favorite is the Inn Above Tide, which sits directly on the Bay. Perfect for a romantic getaway or just to get out of the same house you’ve been sitting in since March.

View toward San Francisco from one of the waterfront rooms at Inn Above Tide

The best thing about Sausalito is that it’s easy to visit … just a 10-minute drive from San Francisco, or 40 minutes from SFO, if you have the courage to fly. With most of the city based around outdoor activities and dining, it’s the perfect place to visit and imagine the pandemic away.

When she’s not planning a vacation, Jessica Rogers is the Chief Growth Officer at Turner Duckworth, a global design studio. The way to her heart is a luxury hotel and a dirty vodka martini.

Review: La Costa Resort and Spa

Family Travel Contributor

This week, Family Travel Contributor, Hillary Helsing, takes us to La Costa Resort and Spa for more stelllar family fun. No stranger to surf luxury, Hillary, an ex-pharmaceutical sales executive and one-time Quiksilver employee, resides in Huntington Beach and lives for luxe family vacations that don’t always have to cost a pretty penny.

A great family getaway that won’t break the bank, La Costa Resort and Spa, less than an hour from Orange County and 10 minutes from Legoland, is nestled in the hills of Carlsbad. Forget the beach on this trip. Drive, valet and stay. Bring the baby or the tween, and leave the nanny at home. Your family is well taken care of at this resort. There is a water play area, 7 pools, water slides (2 that are toddler safe), sandy beach pool that is 3-4 feet deep! Mom, this means you do not have to get in if you don’t want to. Sip a mai-tai and watch your darlings frolic in the shallow, huge kiddie pool.

I hear ya…Where is the luxury? First, ask for a renovated room or suite, they are beautiful. Second drop the kiddos off at Kidtopia. Kidtopia is a 6000 sq. ft. recreation center of indoor fun for ages 6 months to 12 years. It is adorable; slides, games, huge fish tank, lighted dance floor, and a bevy of young enthusiastic staff.

La Costa's Big Kid Slide

Grab your hubby and play tennis, golf, or go to the spa. They tout the spa is rated #1 in Southern California, I beg to differ. It is, however, newly designed and very nice.  I do agree with Travel Magazine, this resort is clearly #2 in Family Friendly Resorts! Last but not least, “Ask! Ask! ask!” Ask for discounts, vouchers, or upgrades. They are more than willing!

Rooms start at $229 and go up and up!

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

 Family Travel Contributor – Hillary Helsing

This week, we welcome our first Family Travel Contributor, Hillary Helsing, as she takes us to sweet SoCal for some stelllar family fun. No stranger to surf luxury, Hillary, an ex-pharmaceutical sales executive and one-time Quiksilver employee, resides in Huntington Beach and lives for luxe family vacations that don’t always break the bank. If a destination is going to cost a pretty penny, she believes that quality must reign supreme. After all, her little darlings are worth it.

Grilling with the Family

Location, Location, Location… with laid back luxury in kiddie heaven! A historic icon, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club first opened in 1927, but today still carries with it that classic clout. With newly renovated rooms and suites, I recommend the north end of the private cove and an ocean front suite. The suites all have full kitchens (make bottles, pb&j, butter noodles… because I hate paying for that crap), and living/bed rooms all have cruise ship views.

Don’t expect opulence or marble tubs – sandy feet are welcome. The club includes: kiddie pools, big pool, private beach, hot cabana boys, best tennis ever, pitch and put 9 hole golf, minutes to downtown La Jolla, a playground with swings and slides and all the other resort hoopla you would expect. Leave your Burberry bikini at home and save that for the Montage in Laguna when you’re on vacation with your nanny. To stay here you have money, but there’s no need to flaunt it.

Wear your kid friendly outfit, forget the bling because you’re going to want to hit up the complementary sand toy box and dig in the sand with your kids. Reserve a BBQ (they set it up for you on the beach) grill away and go buy the s’mores kit from the gift shop. Your kids will love it! If I am going to leave the OC with my kids it better be great, and this is, in one word, great!

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Rates from $339-$1629/night



Ms. Fitness Greta Blackburn


Oh Malibu… you sure do conjure up images of Pamela Anderson in her red hot one piece and Cindy Crawford  building castles in the sand with her gorgeous kiddies and hunky husband, Rande, don’t you?


How dare you? Well, if you want to roll with the taut and tanned, it’s time to tone up, slim down and learn the secrets of longevity with the one and only Ms. Fitness Greta Blackburn (check out those guns <–).

Along with leading scientists, physicians and fitness pros from around the globe, Blackburn, founding editor of Ms. Fitness Magazine and originator of the “boot camp” concept, will join forces for FITCAMP Malibu—a health and fitness experience from Nov. 17-21, 2010, at the Steven Breuer Conference Center in Malibu, California.

FITCAMP Malibu will build on the momentum of FITCAMP Cancun, held in April 2010, and will feature physical and mental challenges, which include the powerhouse Sprint 8 20-minute anti-aging exercise protocol featured in Blackburn’s upcoming book “The Immortality Edge” co-authored by Michael Fossel, MD, PhD and David Woynarowski, MD.

FITCAMP Malibu workouts will include:

•    Yoga for Stiffies: Hard-core practice designed to increase flexibility for new, intermediate and seasoned mat practitioners;
•    Pilates: Pioneer Mari Windsor will showcase her at-home system to help FitCampers develop a strong, sleek, toned body;
•    A mix of Hell Hikes, Power Walks, and Mixed Martial Arts-style workouts;
•    Ropes Course that will challenge entrenched fears, help with goal-setting and foster team-building; and
•    FITCAMP favorites: Butt ‘N Guts and indoor cycling with RealRyder bikes.

Physical offerings will complement FITCAMP Malibu’s “Nuke Aging” program, featuring seminars led by noted health experts recognized for their contributions to the field of anti-aging medicine. Presenters include Michael Fossel, MD, PhD, and author of Reversing Human Aging and The Immortality Edge; and David Kekich, founder and president of The Maximum Life Foundation.  David will outline his 7-step Life Extension Express program and give an insider’s overview of the conclusions from last fall’s Manhattan Beach Project.  Top Masters Athletic Performance Coach, Phil Campbell, of Ready Set Go Synergy Fitness; Fulcrum Adventures, which provides Transformational Learning Experiences; Mari Winsor, Pilates pioneer; Robert Martin of; and Taryn Bagrosky, Ms. Fitness USA, will also appear.




Together with Blackburn, this group of medical and fitness visionaries will declassify the secrets behind the science to help FitCampers change their physiology at a cellular level.

FITCAMP Malibu seminars will include:

•    Teleomere Basics and Beyond with Michael Fossel, MD, PhD;
•    Think and Grow Young with Dr. Kat Cotter, a certified clinical hypnotherapist; Look Great Naked at Any Age with Robert Martin;

•    Supplements That Work and Advanced Hormone Replacement Therapies, led by Dr. Kent Holtorf, Founder of The Holtorf Medical Group and a leading expert in the field of Endocrinology;
•    Life Extension Express with David Kekich;
•    The Genius Diet, a nutritional GPS to living a healthy 150 and beyond;
•    DETOX/Cleanse; an A to Z look at a process designed to fine-tune your metabolism; and
•    Meditation Secrets for the Hyper-Active Mind.

Rates for FITCAMP Malibu start at $1595 and include food, accommodations, classes, and camp-sanctioned events; previous FitCampers will receive a $100 rebate.

Airfare, airport transfers and extra nights at the resort excluded.  Registration fees are non-refundable.

So what are you waiting for? Pamela to swim out and save the beached whale?

To Nourish and Consume

Ryan O'Reilly, Author of Snapshot and To Nourish and Consume

Ryan O’Reilly is the author of the travel novel Snapshot and his latest book, To Nourish and Consume, which examines the awkward journey of returning home after a long period of being away. A freelance contributor to various newspapers and periodicals throughout the country, O’Reilly divides his time between his business in Austin, Texas and a small farm in Clever, Missouri.

-Why did you decide to become an author and world-traveler?

Like any good lifestyle change I just kind of fell into it. Prior to vagabonding, I was all about the conventional. In the summer of 2004, I was working in an office, had a fiancé, and a little house with a picket fence. I played golf on the weekends, had a few extra pounds and was heading towards a quiet existence as an everyman. Thus was the hour of my discontent. In August of that same year I visited a college buddy of mine, who was living in Austin, Texas and working for a touring band. After a weekend on the road with him, I went back home and within a month I had broken off my engagement, sold most of my belongings, quit my job and moved to Texas. Somewhere around the Oklahoma/Texas border, with a backseat full of books and suitcases, I stopped at a rest stop and cried for a half hour. At the time I thought it was regret, but now I think it was my body purging the illness of a long-lived life that hadn’t been my own. Since then, I’ve seen the entire country and many countries beyond, started two successful businesses, written two books and many articles and essays. Though I gave up a lot to live this life, I have never once looked back.

Frontier Rodeo Days - Cheyenne, Wyoming

What is the most thrilling place you’ve ever visited?

I don’t know about the most thrilling, but the most surprising has been right here – America. For the longest time I equated serious travel with going to Europe or Africa or the Far East. I thought those who restricted themselves to traveling in their own country were limiting their exposure to different cultures. Now, I see that I was wrong. Having been all over the world – and all over the United States – I can definitely say that the most thrilling and surprising thing one can do is to expose themselves to the separate nuances of their own country. Everyone knows that America is a melting pot and that our culture is about diversity. But until you see it, you don’t really understand the extent. I’m not talking about seeing the statue of liberty, hiking the grand canyon, or walking down Sunset Blvd. in LA.

I’m talking about having a beer at the Stockman bar in Walden, Colorado; going to the weekly farmers market in Livingston, Montana; Going to Frontier Rodeo Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming (the one Kerouac wrote about); or sitting front row at a Key West drag show wearing a pink stole. It’s all there, and it’s all thrilling.

Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming

-Where is the best place in the world to have a blast on a dime?

For me, the national park system, for sure. For $80, one can purchase an annual pass that includes admission to every spot in the park system (The daily use fee is much less, but I like to buy in bulk). My favorite, by far, is Yellowstone National Park. With YNP you have 33,000 square miles to explore. You can tour Old Faithful Geyser and the Firehole River with the multitudes in the morning, and by evening you can be in a place so far removed from the civilized world you think yourself on another planet. Plus, Yellowstone is a place covered with geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and other geothermal features. Nowhere else in the United States are you reminded of the temporary nature of the ground under your feet. At Yellowstone, the traveler is constantly reminded that the most stable thing we have, the earth, is a living, breathing and evolving thing. Perspective is YNP’s most valuable resource as far as I’m concerned.

-When was the last time you returned home thinking, “I probably shouldn’t have survived that trip”?

Most worthwhile adventures yield at least one come-to-Jesus moment. I have a short list of things I’m good at, and the ability to identify potential threats isn’t one of them. Whilst on the road, you’re more likely to find me adapting to a given situation rather than planning ahead to avoid it. One example of that would be a couple of years ago when I paddled all 2,341 miles of the Missouri River in a 16-foot canoe. The river itself isn’t technically challenging – the little whitewater it has never goes beyond Class III – but it goes on and on and on through some fairly sparse parts of the heartland. Once I was stuck on the side of an isolated beach for almost four full days while the wind blew at 40 plus miles per hour. There were no clouds, no trees and the temperature didn’t get below 80 at night. A weather radio probably could’ve prevented falling into this situation but it was ultimately one of the most cathartic periods of my life. On the second day, I went for a walk. Less than a mile from camp I heard a rattle, took a step back and felt a sharp, searing pain in the back of my heel. I won’t give away the end of that story quite yet, but I’ll simply say that I made some fairly extravagant promises to God.


Other than that I’ve contracted malaria, had a gun pointed at me, broken my ankle severely while alone in the woods, watched someone wave a knife in my face, ridden an out of control airplane off the end of a runway into some trees and fractured my scapula in a motorcycle wreck. If we’re given nine lives, I may have used most of mine already.

Which locale inspired your latest novel, To Nourish and Consume?

TNAC is set in the fictional town of Charleton, Michigan. Charleton is loosely based on the real town of Charlevoix, Michigan. Charlevoix is a town I’ve been to once, but have heard stories about for a long time. The first time I ever fell in love was in college with a girl whose family frequently summered there. Her descriptions of the town and of spending summers there could’ve been taken straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel – Possibly the most passionate descriptions of any town I’ve heard.

It wasn’t until years after that relationship ended that I finally went there myself. I spent a week just walking around the town and letting my imagination swirl around the beaches and the buildings. Of course, finally seeing the town brought the memories of that first love flooding back, so I hold a sense of nostalgic romance about Charlevoix that I’ve never felt anywhere else. And I’ve only been there once! I just knew, once I saw its lazy streets and quiet houses, that there was a novel there.

-What travel memoir are you working on now?

I mentioned my trip down the Missouri River. That’s the story I’m working on now. The first draft is finished, and now I’m heading across country to take a break before revision time. In 2008, I started at the Missouri River’s headwaters in Three Forks, MT with a canoe and paddled for two months and 2,341 miles to the river’s confluence with the Mississippi.

Aside from the tried and true travel motifs (adjusting to life outside the modern world, learning to live with the self, and adapting to the trials of the natural world) I tried to get into why a person is mentally and emotionally drawn to wander. To figure out why people are drawn to the adventure, and to the adventure story.

One of my favorite writers, Joseph Campbell, says that the adventure story is the symbolic expression given to our unconscious desires, fears and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behavior.

We have only to read it, study it’s constant patterns, analyze its variations, and come to an understanding of the deep forces that have shaped man’s destiny and must continue to determine both our private and public lives.

That’s why people are drawn to the adventure story. We are attracted to adventure stories not necessarily because of what they say about the characters in them, rather it is how those aspects relate to the reader’s own experience and journey. If we are all really drawn psychologically to the adventure story, and if the adventure is a lens that give us an alternative perspective through which to view our own lives, then perhaps travel stories and memoirs can act in part as a cloth to polish that lens.

Ryan’s book retails for only $9.95 and is available at: or through Amazon