Welcome to Bolinas
In a region dominated by communities determined to remain geographically isolated and progress resistant, Bolinas somehow manages to be the most steadfast in its isolationist beliefs. Bolinas isn’t interested in progress or development. The area hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years, and the residents work hard to make sure it stays that way. That\’s not to say that the citizens of Bolinas are rude or unwelcoming to visitors. They just have a particular attitude when it comes to development and what outsiders consider progress.
Lay of the Land
Located in the western edge of Marin County, Bolinas is one of the most geographically isolated locations in the continental United States. It is bordered by the Bolinas Lagoon, Bolinas Bay, and Pacific Ocean, with the final edge of the town backed against the Point Reyes National Seashore. Bolinas is just 30 miles north of San Francisco though it lacks any significant local neighbors. However, with just a single road into town, Bolinas is practically an island, in fact if not in attitude. The area is unincorporated, relying on the county board and local initiatives to pass laws and decide policy. Bolinas has a steady population of approximately 1,620 residents. The average household income for the area is $70, 358 and the median home value is $790,920.
Bolinas intentionally enjoys almost nothing when it comes to private or public transportation infrastructure. Horseshoe Hill Road is the single roadway in the area. It connects to State Route 1 in the north which provides access to the remainder of Marin County and the Bay Area. The area is serviced by the Marin Stagecoach, a shuttle service designed to connect the isolated regions of the county. Stage Route 61 eventually leads from Bolinas into Marin City in the east. Local Highlights
The community of Bolinas is fanatical when it comes to natural preservation, the spirit of self-sustainability, and community togetherness. The protective attitude of the region’s residents can easily be misconstrued as hostility when it comes to strangers or visitors. However, as long as visitors embrace a similar belief system and respect the residents and beliefs of Bolinas they can be expect to be greeted with warmth and openness.
The spirit of sustainability and community togetherness is manifested in the variety of small commercial ventures and service providers within the community. Many of these locations, including the local gas station, are operated as nonprofit ventures in order to help the community maintain economic viability without sacrificing the local ambiance. Additionally, the area supports a thriving community center for such a small population. The community center offers the traditional array of adult and youth educational classes as well as cultural projects. However, the community center also serves to organize numerous outreach and economic support programs. This includes operating the local foodbank and providing free clothing for the neediest members of the community.
The Coast Cafe is the only restaurant of note within the area. Like the rest of the community, the primary focus of The Coast Cafe is to provide quality, affordable meals while maintaining a strong sense of independence and sustainability. The vast majority of the menu features items produced locally. This includes locally grown fruits and vegetables, seafood captured locally, and organic, locally raised protein.
Finally, Smiley’s Saloon and Hotel is the oldest and most notable of the several tiny, locally, owned hotels. Smiley’s features a total of seven rooms, all furnished with ecofriendly furniture and organic linens. Smiley’s has a fully functional bar and accompanying stage. This makes it the premier location for regional musical talent and aspiring local performers.