by Carmel L. Mooney
The once sleepy little village of Mill Valley in Marin County, California has come into its own over the last decade and now provides vacationing families a great, low-key getaway.
Upon arriving, our clan felt immediately relaxed, and welcome after our two-hour drive from Sacramento.
Located in the heart of downtown, the quaint Mill Valley Inn with its unique architecture and open breezeways allows families a relaxing and tranquil view of the redwoods and neighboring properties.
Offering a nightly wine, cheese, tea, fruit reception, and a continental breakfast each morning, it fits the bill as the perfect hub from which to explore the environs. Exceptionally comfortable beds added to our already perfect stay in this lovely little gem. Natural, eco-friendly, toiletries were yet another nicety we all appreciated. What’s more, families staying at the inn get a free club pass to the lovely Marin Health Club.
Parking is cramped so take the smaller car if you have a choice. Better yet bring the bikes, or borrow the ones they offer to guests. You may want to consider the inn’s hiking package as nothing beats a breathtaking hike of famous Mt. Tamalpais. Our kids loved it, and it’s a no-brainer for all nature-loving families like ours.
Everything is within walking distance of this adorable little property. Less than a block away, a relatively new brewery, Mill Valley Beerworks offers some wonderful beers and a fun and eclectic ambiance for mom and dad to enjoy a brew or two together in a hip little joint where the kids are welcome.
So many fun and eclectic shops are all on the same block that you can even send the older kids and tweens out to window shop while mom and dad enjoy a brewski in peace.
Piazza D’Angelo is the happening family-run bistro two blocks from the inn, where two brothers have been serving up real, authentic Italian cuisine, for nearly three decades, the way mama used to make it. Excellent wines, delicious house-made pasta, pork medallions, and tiramisu were the perfect ending to our perfect day. The kids loved the ginormous pizzas. The place is packed with local families and for good reason; they know a good thing when they’ve found it. Kids have fun dining here; enjoying great food in a terrific atmosphere.
Local shops, boutiques, and theaters all add to the well-roundedness of this little getaway in Mill Valley.
For the perfect overnight-er road trip, for a family looking to recharge and relax together. Mill Valley…it’s quaint, cute, sleepy, family-friendly, and—well…perfect.
Carmel L. Mooney is a travel columnist and the editor of Road Trips for Couples.