Best of Marin 2018: Everyday

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Illustration by Boguslaw Mazur.

“Everyday” sounds a bit boring. But the winners on the pages that follow are anything but. They represent the services that we use on a regular basis, but should never take for granted—things like getting a tire changed by someone who wants to keep our families safe on the road; or picking up flowers for a friend who could really use them, from a florist who truly cares about the small but meaningful moments in life.

Floral Fantasy

When strolling in downtown Mill Valley, you can’t help but notice the colorful array of flowers displayed outside the charming, old-fashioned-looking brick building that houses Mill Valley Flowers, this year’s readers’ choice for Best Florist. It’s hard to pass by without wanting to pick up a bouquet. Founded 25 years ago by “a tiny, mighty woman and a tall, blonde Swede” who fell in love and bought the flower shop, it’s become the go-to place for weddings, special occasions and holidays in Marin. With three trips per week to the San Francisco Flower Mart, Mill Valley Flowers prides itself on offering only the freshest seasonal flowers, including a selection of leafy plants and dazzling orchids. Expert design and local delivery can be counted on seven days a week, and this place has everything you need to make someone’s day—or just your own.—Lily O’Brien

54 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley; 415.388.7781.

Budding Biz

With things getting more cannabis-friendly in California every day, The Mighty Quinn, this year’s winner for Best Vape Shop, is strutting its stuff in a more mainstream way. Founded in 1979 in Santa Rosa (there are now four locations), Quinn prides itself on selecting the most beautiful functional art glass—including painted pipes and pendants—from artists and companies around the world. Papers, lighters and assorted vaping accessories can be found here, and The Mighty Quinn offers sales that celebrate holidays like 420. So whether you’re smoking tobacco or ganja, San Rafael’s shop has you covered.—L.O.

mightyquinnsmokeshop.com.

Young at Heart

How did the years catch up with us so fast? The good news is, we’re still living in Marin, and many of us are still pretty spunky. But the kids left home a long time ago, we’re aging and it’s time to downsize. The Redwoods, chosen this year as the Best Senior Living Facility in Marin, is looking good. With a recently renovated campus, The Redwoods is located on 10 acres in Mill Valley, and has glorious views of Mt. Tam. Programs cover everything from music and the arts, to nature, to spirituality and relationships to movement and exercise, so life is never dull. You can choose a studio or one-bedroom apartment, with or without a meal plan, and skilled nursing and assisted living are also available. A transportation program offers shuttles that take residents on special excursions, to the doctor or on a loop to various places all over Marin. Who said that getting old is so bad?—L.O.

40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley; 415.383.2741.

WRITER’S PICK

Digging the Vibe

When you want to “get out of town,” but not out of Marin, West Marin beckons, and Point Reyes Station is the Best Place for Feeling Like You’ve Left the Hubbub Behind. The drive there—during which you’re surrounded by forests and rolling hills—is inspiring in itself. And the town is a lovely place to stroll—slowly. The main drag is lined with gift shops, bakeries and cafes, restaurants, a bookstore and an art gallery with ever-changing shows. The bustling Toby’s Feed Barn, a general store and working feed barn that’s been around since 1942, offers coffee, yoga, a farmers’ market, author talks and more. A mecca for bicyclists and hikers heading to nearby trails and beaches, Point Reyes Station has a hip, friendly and rustic vibe, and it’s managed to maintain its small-town charm.—L.O.

pointreyes.org.

WRITER’S PICK

Nevertheless, She Persisted

It’s very heartening to see women of the world becoming more empowered every day. And sometimes, the only thing holding them back is the tools they need to strengthen their work and their voices. Enter Marin’s YWCA’s Fifty+ Program, the Best Place for Women to Get Back on Their Feet. The San Rafael nonprofit has been helping women 50 and over gain financial independence since 2000. A group of selfless women offers free services that include beginner and advanced computer classes in Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel, skills for interviewing and networking, drop-in resume and interview coaching and advice on how to choose a career direction, to those who have either never worked, or need to work now, but don’t have the skills necessary to do it. Employment Specialist Nancy Richardson is a warm and caring person who goes above and beyond to help women find their way, and Administrative Assistant Gretchen Dean is always ready to help anyone who walks through the door. Truly dedicated to helping other women, this program is a gem.—L.O.

4380 Redwood Highway, Ste. A-1, San Rafael; 415.479.YWCA.

WRITER’S PICK

Aesthetic Ace

Grocery shopping can be one of those dreaded things that you have to do in between all of the other things on your list. And walking up and down the aisles of a large supermarket, with harsh overhead lighting and chilly temperatures, makes it even less appealing. Except if you choose to shop at the family-owned Nugget Markets, the Best Place for Grocery Shopping That Doesn’t Feel Like a Chore. They have a dozen locations in California, and the Novato store is pleasant as soon as you pull up and see the fresh produce arranged in bins outside. When you walk inside, you’re greeted by fresh flowers and a large selection of always-fresh and neatly displayed fruits and vegetables, many of them organic. The lighting is warm, the aisles are not too long or wide and everything seems to have a gourmet-but-homey feel to it, which makes it fun to browse for new things to eat. And you will find a lot of unusual, tempting items. But the best part of this market is the service. From the deli, to the bakery, to the meat department to the checkout, everyone serving you does so with a smile. The store is well-managed, so you’ll never have to wait long, and the cashiers always ask, sincerely, if you’ve found everything you wanted. At Nugget Markets, shopping is actually a joy.—L.O.

Nuggetmarket.com.

WRITER’S PICK

Wheels & Wildlife

When it’s sunny in Marin, there’s nothing better than getting out in nature. My first choice is always to head out on my bike to the Bay Trail at Hamilton in Novato, which ends up at Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds, the Best Place for Biking and Birding in Marin. The trail is mostly paved, and perfect for walking or riding—but a bonus is the birds. As you weave in and out on the pathways that crisscross the ponds, depending on the season, you can spot swans, egrets, ducks, geese, herons (including the great blue), northern harriers, finches and sparrows. Pack some binoculars, and you just might spot some newly hatched babies. For a change of attitude, this place does not disappoint.—L.O.

lgvsd.org.

Full List of Best of Marin 2018 Everyday Winners

Best Accountant

Gary Winston

Best Antique Shop

Laurel House Antiques

Best Art Supply Store

RileyStreet Art Supply

Best Attorney

Roger M. Vosburg

Best Auto Body Repair

Blake’s Auto Body

Best Auto Dealer (new)

Toyota Marin

Best Auto Dealer (used)

Toyota Marin

Best Auto Detailing

Matt & Jeff’s Car Wash & Detail Center

Best Auto Repair

Easy Automotive

Best Barber

Barber Lane

Best Body Art Place (tattoo, piercing, etc.)

Spider Murphy’s Tattoo

Best Bookstore (new)

Book Passage

Best Bookstore (used)

Rebound Bookstore

Best Business Bank

Bank of Marin

Best Camera/Photography Store

Seawood Photo

Best Car Audio

City Car Radio

Best Chamber of Commerce

San Rafael

Best Clothing Store—Men’s

Gene Hiller: Fine Menswear

Best Clothing Store—Women’s

The Store

Best Consignment Store

Knimble

Best Consumer Bank

Bank of Marin

Best Costume/Festival Apparel Shop

The Belrose

Best Credit Union

Redwood Credit Union

Best Culinary Store

Dvorson’s Restaurant Supply

Best Digital Creative Services

Anna Trueman, Lotus Live Design & Social Media

Best Eco-Conscious Business

Bellam Self Storage & Boxes

Best Ethnic Market

Mi Pueblo

Best Event Production Services Company

Steve Restivo Event Services

Best Fashion Jewelry Store

Marin Jewelers Guild

Best Financial Advisor

Andrei Jigalin, Alpha Wealth Management & Planning

Best Fine Jewelry Store

Sofia Jewelry

Best Florist

Mill Valley Flowers

Best Framing Shop

Ringseis Designs

Best Furniture/Home Furnishings

Sunrise Home

Best Gift Shop

Columbine

Best Grocery Store

Mollie Stone’s Markets

Best Home Audio

World of Sound

Best Hotel/Resort

Cavallo Point

Best Hydroponic Supply Store

Marin Hydroponics

Best Judge

Roy O. Chernus

Best Law Firm

Kelley & Farren, LLP

Best Local Food Product

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

Best Locally Made Retail Product

Miyoko’s Kitchen

Best Motorcycle/Scooter Shop

Motopia

Best Musical Instruments Store

The Magic Flute

Best Natural Foods Store

Good Earth Natural Foods

Best New Retail Business (opened in 2017)

Baba Yaga

Best Nonprofit

Whistlestop

Best Optical Store

20/20 Optical

Best Phone Repair

Gadget Pro

Best Pipe Shop

Telford’s Pipe & Cigar

Best Psychic/Medium

Kay Fahlstrom

Best Record/CD Store

Mill Valley Music

Best Recycling Center

Marin Sanitary Service

Best Senior Living Facility

The Redwoods

Best Senior Services

Whistlestop

Best Shoe Store

San Francisco Running Company

Best Tire Shop

Cains Tire

Best Tow Service

Redhill Towing & Auto Repair

Best Town Other Than Your Own

Larkspur

Best Transportation

SMART Train

Best Travel Agency

Dimensions in Travel

Best Vape Shop

The Mighty Quinn

Best Vintage Clothing Store

Baba Yaga

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