Press & Accolades
Runners World Magazine
Running Motivation: BREATHTAKING
By Michael Lanza; June 2009
Four days, 42 miles, 8,000 feet of climbing, six seasoned guides, 300-count sheets, and one really clutch hot tub.
I’m here for an adventurous four-day, 42-mile run through Marin County, a place with a reputation for fearsome hills and arguably the country’s best trail running. More than 500 miles of footpaths spiderweb through 40 federal, state, and county parks covering some 170,000 acres. The parks contain forests of towering redwoods, a coastline where elephant seals bellow on secluded beaches, and hills harboring Tule elk and half the bird species in North America.
Adventure Sports Magazine
The Ultimate Urban Escape
By Lisa Jhung
Adventures abound a stone’s throw from San Francisco
Get lost on Mount “Tam”. Whether you do this on foot or bike, exploring Mt. Tamalpais’ 50 miles of trails offers some of the best riding or running of your life. Summiting the 2,600 foot mountain will reward you with views of the San Francisco Bay and beyond, not to mention some thrilling descents.
Marin County prides itself on its natural beauty, outdoor adventure possibilities (despite its closeness to metropolitan San Francisco) and the people who can afford to live there. The county boasts current and past residents like Jerry Garcia, George Lucas and Sean Penn. Marin’s main mountain, Mt. Tamalpais, serves as the hub of outdoor adventure.
Birthplace of Mountain Biking
There’s no denying that Marin County had a huge (perhaps the biggest) influence on the growth of the sport. In the early 1970’s, local road riders (including Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze and more) trained for cyclocross races on the trails of Mt. Tam, and began experimenting with “balloon” tires on one-speed bikes. The evolution of the sport continued from there, and by the late ’70’s, riding on dirt with newly engineered bikes had spread throughout the country, and the sport of mountain biking was here to stay.
As soon as you cross over the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco fog breaks over the Marin Headlands and the sun is often shining in Marin County. Made up of 600 square miles (water and land) and including low-key but yuppified towns like Mill Valley, Sausalito and Tiburon, Marin County also includes hippified towns like Fairfax, Stinson Beach and Bolinas.
The best part about the charming Mountain Home Inn—besides the views, the spacious, comfortable rooms with fireplaces and/or private decks, and the gourmet food—is its location.
Trails heading out in various directions are literally right out the door: to the top of Mt. Tamalpais, down to Muir Woods, across the mountain to Stinson Beach, down through a pine forest to Mill Valley. (Mountain Home Inn, 810 Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley; 415-381-9000).
National Geographic Traveler
By Lisa Hamilton
Mention the Mountain Home Inn, and most people even in its locality of Mill Valley won’t recognize the name. Roosting in the redwood wilderness of Mt. Tamalpais State Park, 25 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, this modern chalet has developed a faithful following among cognoscenti of the outdoors.
First Impression: An inside that’s all about being outside. Wherever windows can fit, they do, looking out onto a vast view of redwoods and over San Francisco Bay. Hikers break for hisbiscus tea on the eagle-nest deck, watching the breeze cradle hawks. As long-time hiker R.F. “Dad” O’Rourke said, “With these hills and the friends I love–I ask no other heaven.”
Telling Details: Skylights, Redwood-trunk columns in the lobby. Doors left open year-round to catch the breezes. Wood accented guest rooms (many with balconies) pairing hickory-branch bedposts and regally striped wallpaper-perfect for sharing a bottle of reserve Sonoma Chardonnay and a fireplace campfire against a million far-off city lights. Management spokesperson Nancy DuBois insists, “Once you’re here, it’s whatever you need.”
Guest Book: The buzz is there’s no buzz. “Everyone stays here,” Dubois says. “Celebrities, CEOs—but their privacy is more important than our self-promotion.
San Francisco Magazine
40 Dream Weekends
When summer evenings stretch long, take advantage of them by slipping out of the office and across the Golden Gate Bridge to this inn on the slope of Mt. Tam. Perched at the head of countless trails that twist up and down the redwoods and out to the ocean, the modern inn sits ready to give you fast relief from cars and buses and buildings. After plopping your bags down in one of the ten rooms, lose yourself on the trail, watching the approaching fog tease the treetops or reveling in the evening sunshine that clings to the mountain.
Back at the inn, clean up in a Jacuzzi bathtub and then kick back on the top balcony with a beer and a good read. After a homey dinner, settle deep down into the soft, comfortable bed and sleep the kind of sleep that comes only from the silence of the country–forgetting, for the moment, that it will take only a half-hour to get back in the rat race.
San Francisco Escapes
To really get away from it all and discover secluded hideaways, cross the blazing copper towers of the Golden Gate Bridge and disappear into Marin County. High up the flank of Mount Tamalpais, perched on a ridge 1,000 feet above the town of Mill Valley, the Mountain Home Inn offers sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, Mt. Diablo, the East Bay Hills, and the small wooded towns of Marin.
Rooms at the Mountain Home Inn are woodland elegant, the complimentary breakfast is sublime, and some of Marin’s best hiking and mountain biking trails are literally just outside your doorstep. Over 390 miles of trail wind around oak scrub or climb past tiny waterfalls and streams on Mt. Tam (as it is affectionately known by locals). The Inn also provides easy access to the secluded grandeur of California’s coast redwoods just minutes down the road at Muir Woods National Monument, a 550-acre preserve where majestic trees rise to heights of over 250 feet and date back over 1,000 years.
New York Times
Where Trees are Trees
By Harriot Manley
Growing up in Marin County in California, one of my favorite places was Muir Woods National Monument, the sky-scraping grove of 1,000 year old coast redwoods just north of San Francisco. Dwarfed by huge ferns and the trees I would feel like a Lilliputian in a giant’s landscape, exploring immense hollow logs and running across the forest floor.
I have often suspected there was another side of Muir Woods, just beyond the parking lot crush. Because we frequently have visitors at our home in nearby San Rafael and they often want to visit the park, I recently decided to ferret out the secret sides of Muir Woods.
Late afternoon is my favorite time in these woods, when shafts of honey-gold light shoot down from above like celestial spotlights. It’s a notable time not only for its beauty but also for its wildlife. Several types of bats roost in the deeply grooved trunks of the redwoods, whirring out at twilight to hunt. Native black-tailed deer, some remarkably tame, appear out of protected hollows to forage. Owls, including the endangered northern spotted owl, hoot and whistle as evening falls.
I could have walked on this mountain all day, but that would have meant stranding my kids at summer camp, so I retraced my steps and headed home.
Later that week, I returned with my husband, in two cars. We left one at the parking lot of the Mountain Home Inn, our destination for an early dinner, and took the other down to Muir Woods.
In late afternoon, we took a somewhat strenuous hour-long hike through a redwood and Douglas fir forest up to the slope-hugging, three-tiered Mountain Home Inn (several routes are possible from the base of Muir Woods). Nearly 100 years ago, the original inn opened on this site in the guise of a Swiss chalet. Over the years, despite various owners and a reputation of being rundown, it always had one constant: an incomparable view of the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Fortunately, the inn was refurbished and now has food to match the setting. Rough-barked log columns support the soaring ceiling just inside the entrance, while local artwork adorns the walls.
We went up the stairs to the main dining room, brightened with firelight. In between courses, we asked to check out the inn’s comfortably elegant rooms, all with eye-popping views of the bay or the redwoods. After dinner we drove back down to Muir Woods to retrieve the other car and headed home.
30 Great Escapes / 10 Romantic Retreats
By Krista Minard
Working up a sweat might not seem like your traditional start to a romantic getaway, but hiking the trails of Mt. Tamalpais exposes you to so much beautiful scenery that you can’t help feeling good about each other.
Load a backpack with energy bars and water, and head out on foot from the Mountain Home, located off Panoramic Drive on the rolling slopes of the mountain. Hike the Old Railroad Grade Trail, which follows the course of the an old railroad bed as it winds its way toward Mt. Tam’s peak. With 281 turns, the rail line was named “The Crookedest Railroad in the World” in the early 20th century when folks rode the rail to the top of Mt. Tam to take in the panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay Area. After your hike, check into the elegantly rustic inn. Stew your tired muscles in your in-room whirlpool bath before wandering to the candlelit dining room to enjoy a prix-fixe wine-paired dinner created with Marin County’s seasonal ingredients.
Food & Wine
A New Sport Each Day and A Great Restaurant Each Night
By Laura Fraser
In the evening we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamalpais, the 2,571-foot literal high point of Marin County, to check into the Mountain Home Inn. When we arrived, the sun was streaming down a big deck that overlooks valleys rambling down to the bay. Rob, a marathon jogger, took a couple of us hardy souls for a jog on one of the trails that start right at the inn. Afterward, I had a glass of Chardonnay on the private balcony off my room above terraced wildflower gardens filled with California poppies and lupine.
We dined at the inn’s restaurant beside wide windows, where we could watch the shadows lengthen across the surrounding green hills. We felt as if we were in the wilderness, but the menu, which included entrees like lamb shanks braised with tomatoes, sherry and herbs and served with garlic mashed potatoes was surprisingly urbane. I had a delicious grilled rainbow trout with a light dill cream sauce, tender young vegetables and Swiss chard. From the table we watched the lights of San Francisco shimmer through the fog.
The next morning we took a brisk walk through the mist down the flanks of Mt. Tamalpais. We hiked on trails under tall redwoods with ferns at our feet and streams rushing below. When we were halfway down, the sun began to break through the fog and filter through the needles of the redwoods, scattering sun splinters on the trail. We descended into Muir Woods, a popular tourist destination, which at this hour was as quiet and glorious as a cathedral.
An Italian Affair
By Laura Fraser
While enjoying Laura Fraser’s An Italian Affair—the book Condé Nast Traveler calls “both a grand travelogue and a thoughtful look at reclaiming independence” and the London Times said was “A deliciously romantic story, made even more captivating by the idea that someone actually experienced it”—we discovered the narrator took her lover on a truly romantic overnighter to the Mountain Home Inn.
Pacific Sun Magazine
2014 Best of Marin Awards
“Best Place to Stay the Night”
It’s no secret that in Marin there is a photo-op at the end of nearly every street. But, where do Marinites head when they want a quick getaway for the weekend? Mountain Home Inn isn’t far and once you see the view, you’ll understand why it was voted Best Place to Stay the Night. If you’ve made the drive out to Mt. Tam or Stinson Beach, you’ve probably driven past it. The property has been tucked along the side of the road for 101 years. “It’s a great place to stay because it’s a good place for hiking, but still has access to the city,” event coordinator Cecilia Jordan says. The inn is comprised of 10 rooms and offers the option to rent out the entire property for the night. “It’s a wonderful venue to host events,” director of operations Josh Sperry says. And you don’t have to stay the night; it’s also a great “place to hop off” for travelers or passerby. You can hike to the top of Mt. Tam’s East Peak and stop by on your way down the mountain at the inn’s restaurant for a cheese board and a glass of wine while you enjoy the sunset.