Welcome to Nicasio
Marin County is full of small cities and isolated communities that work hard to maintain their rural independence in the face of encroaching commuter zones and the nationally dominant economic centers to the south. Nicasio is unique among these locations in that it never had to work to preserve a rural atmosphere because it never stopped being full of functional farms and cattle ranches. While the residents work to maintain a sense of community and identity, they mainly deal with progress by ignoring everything and everyone outside of their little slice of Marin.
Lay of the Land
Nicasio is located in the northernmost edges of Marin County, close to the Sonoma County border. Like many of the smaller communities in this section of the county, Nicasio sits in the center of a valley dominated by open and wooded ridgelines as well as gently rolling hills. Further enhancing the geographic isolation of the community is the abundance of creeks and minor waterways surrounding the community. These include the main section of the Nicasio Creek and Halleck Creek as well as many of the smaller forks of both waterways. It also includes a border with the Nicasio Reservoir, a man-made structure that sits in a natural drainage basin to the northwest of the community. Despite the community’s isolation and tiny population (90 residents) it enjoys economic stability commensurate with the rest of the county. This includes average household incomes of $96,580 and average home values of $784,200.
Nicasio is one of the more isolated communities in a county known for a minimal amount of transportation infrastructure. This means that not only is the community removed geographically from most of the already limited public transit options, but it is also limited when it comes to traditional road travel. Nicasio Valley Road runs along the center of the community and down into the nearby San Geronimo Valley where it eventually connects to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Eventually, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard connects with Interstate Highway 101 in the eastern edge of the county. Public transportation is limited to the West Marin Stagecoach which operates small scale shuttle services to the distant edges of the county. The closest stagecoach stop is in the San Geronimo Valley.
The size and isolated nature of the community obviously severely limits the amount of commercial activity within the area. Essentially, the main street consists of a general store, a post office, and Rancho Nicasio. Rancho Nicasio is a combination bar and restaurant that also offers live musical performances. The restaurant serves a collection of regionally grown and produced items. However, since Marin County is a complete anomaly, this means a wide range of organic protein, beautiful fresh produce, and a wide selection of locally produced wines.
Aside from the aforementioned store and restaurant, commercial interests in the community are dominated by organic agricultural pursuits and cattle grazing operations. The exception of course is Skywalker Ranch. Skywalker Ranch is the movie ranch and primary workplace of director George Lucas. The ranch itself consists of a variety of post-production and sound facilities and generally houses several hundred employees at any given time. Despite the size of the ranch and its Nicasio address it remains gated from the public and sits in relative isolation in the center of its own small valley.
Finally, despite the small population of the community, Nicasio manages to support numerous local volunteer groups and committees. These include the Land Owners Association, Land Preserve, Design Review Board, Disaster Council, Volunteer Fire Department, Historical Society, and School Foundation. The various organizations and committees are aggressively active in shaping the philosophy and appearance of the community. This includes numerous spirited meetings and the maintenance of dedicated private websites.