WELCOME TO LARKSPUR
Population: 12,204 (approx)
Downtown Larkspur is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is typical of a small town at the turn-of-the-century town. Larkspur residents have been quite successful in preserving the small-town ambience. A medley of specialty shops, boutiques, Queen Anne Victorians, cafes and first-class restaurants can be enjoyed by taking a relaxing stroll down Magnolia Avenue.
Larkspur offers special places to play, relax, shop, dine and enjoy many things Marin County has to offer. There are world-renowned restaurants, stylish stores, intimate coffee houses, and unique shopping centers. There are lush redwood groves, winding trails and waterways. There are ten parks and every sport from horseshoes to windsurfing.
Larkspur is divided into two distinct areas adjoining Highway 101. Its historic downtown is west of Highway 101, and an old quarry area, now known as Larkspur Landing is to the east of the highway along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. The Landing is a rambling outdoor shopping area with outdoor eating areas, such as the popular Marin Brewing Company and spectacular bay views. Larkspur Landing hosts live music on Friday evenings and a Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings during the summer months. A foot bridge over the highway allows visitors to access the futuristic Golden Gate Ferry terminal, a departure point for travelers going from Marin to the San Francisco Ferry Building. The 30 minute ride offers spectacular views of Mt. Tamalpais, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. Just across the way is the Marin Airporter shuttle to San Francisco International Airport.
With high public school scores and low crime rankings this family oriented community is among the most sought after place to live in Marin County. School scores in the Larkspur Elementary District, which serves both Larkspur and Corte Madera, rank among the highest in the state. Redwood and Marin Catholic High Schools are within a few miles of downtown, and the College of Marin is just minutes away by car or bike.
Do not miss the Escalle Winery, built in the 1890's by the young Frenchman, Jean Escalle, who planted the northern hillsides of Larkspur with wine grapes. The exquisite Murphy mansion constructed in 1888 and now home to the world famous restaurant, the Lark Creek Inn. The old Blue Rock building (home of the popular Left Bank restaurant) and the newly restored Lark Theatre, one of California’s few remaining art deco movie theaters, are worth a peek.
THE HISTORY OF LARKSPUR...
Larkspur is located on the and that was once part of vast Mexican land grants. Larkspur is situated on what, was once part of Rancho Punta de Quentin, granted in 1846 to Juan Bautista Cooper, brother-in-law of General Mariano Vallejo. Neighboring to the south was Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio granted to John reed in 1834.
The redwood forests growing here provided lumber for the developing city of San Francisco. The mills brought the earliest settlers, but it was not until the railroad was built in 1890 that the population began to grow.
San Franciscans enjoyed coming here in the summertime. By the early 1900’s, this region became popular with vacationers from all over the Bay Area.
In 1887 the town site of Larkspur was laid out by developer O.W. Wright. In 1888 he advertised a 600 acre residential subdivision as “beautiful town sites on the west side of the North Pacific Railroad in a gentle rolling valley surrounded on the north by Mount Tamalpais”. Mrs. Wright selected the street names. She also helped pick the town name of Larkspur. She mistook the abundantly growing lupine on the hillsides as Larkspur.
The population grew and more and more vacationers arrived in the summer months and Larkspur became a town in 1908
The barn doors of an early- 1900’s blacksmith shop remain at 450 Magnolia Ave., even though the building, now known as the Silver Peso Bar, has been a tavern since the 1930’s. Corbet’s Ace Hardware, a family-owned operation in a Home Depot era, has been in the business for 50 years at the west end of town.
Approaching the 100th anniversary of its incorporation in 1908, Larkspur looks much the same now, as it has for decades. The fire department horn blasts twice a day from City Hall, just as it has for 70 years.
WHERE TO STAY...
|Courtyard by Marriott
2500 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939
800-321-2211 or 415-925-1800
|Marin Suites Hotel
45 Tamal Vista
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Phone: 415 924-3608
Larkspur’s main street boasts some 15 eateries,including three- the Lark Creek Inn, the Left Bank,and the Italian pasticcerie Emprio Rulli- that are national dining destinations.
The restaurant that started it all, the Lark Creek Inn, was launched by award-winning chef Bradley Ogdenin 1988 in a gracious 19th centuryVictorian at 234 Magnolia Ave.
The Lark Creek Inn company also opened Larkspur’s seafood restaurant, the New England-Style Yankee Pier at 286 Magnolia.
You can taste the sweetness of Italy at Emporio Rulli, an authentic Italian pasty shop at 464 Magnolia Ave that also offers coffee, gelato, wines, Italian foods and kitchen products.
Or go Parisian at the Left Bank, in the historic Blue Rock Inn at 507 Magnolia, and sample its affordable French “cuisine