Spotlight on San Anselmo: Day Trip

San Anselmo is known for its small-town charm. Eclectic shops, boutiques and cafés line its creekside location, and surrounding hilltops make it particularly scenic. Though not a “hot” destination for nightlife, it can be a lovely place to spend a day, and quietly unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Read on for our suggestions.

Start the day at M.H. Bread and Butter, a café and bakery that features a wide selection of homemade breads, and breakfast and lunch menus. M.H. was co-founded by two master bakers: Nathan Yanko, who baked bread for many years at San Francisco’s popular Tartine, and Devon Crosby-Helms, who ran Fast Foodie, her own personal chef business, for many years. Selections range from Ricotta Brioche Toast, to Baked Eggs to Rosella Iced Tea (mhbreadandbutter.com).

The San Anselmo Theological Seminary, perched on a hill overlooking the town, Ross Valley and Mount Tamalpais, is a beautiful place for a stroll. The 14-acre campus is made up of historical buildings, Victorian homes and two stone castles, complete with stained glass windows (sfts.edu). Bring a picnic from Comforts Café, a local favorite “famous” for its Chinese Chicken Salad (comfortscafe.com).

If you have a kid or two in tow, a visit to Doodlebug is a must. Art workshops, classes and an open studio (on Saturdays and Sundays) await, and you and the family can create your very own works of art using pottery, paint, decoupage, mosaics and more (doodlebugmarin.com).

By now, you may be in need of some “chill time,” and it’s hard to beat the outdoor soaking at Shibui Gardens Outdoor Spa. Tucked away on a side street, this little rustic sanctuary features hot tubs in a garden, massage, bodywork and a sauna (shibuigardens.com).

The restaurant scene in San Anselmo is quite happening (think Marinitas and Insalata’s, to name a couple of favorites) but for something new, try the recently opened Creekside Pizza & Taproom. Local resident Pat Townsley and chef Janet Abrahamson offer comfort, quality and a menu that includes pizza, salads, pasta and small plates (creeksidesa.com).

To top it all off, enjoy a glass of wine (Friday and Saturday nights) at EV Lounge, a modern wine lounge that offers bi-monthly live music (evloungemarin.com).