At the end of September, the Sausalito Floating Home Association has an open house. It’s quite a party. Put it on your calendar for next year.
Visiting as many open houses as possible is a short walk on a couple of docks – but it is an amazing spot with some lovely homes.
In the post-Gold Rush 1850s, Richardson Bay, near San Francisco, was divided up for the dream of creating a West Coast Venice. Plans fell through, but the state still owns underwater ‘streets’ in the area. Arks existed on the bay and in the creeks in the 1880s mostly as summer recreational boats capable of resting on the mudflats and being pulled ashore in the winter.
After the 1906 earthquake, people adapted them to full-time homes. The counter-culture of the 1960s took to the place for its unusual living environment and its cheap cost. In the 1970s, there was a shot-firing battle between residents and various State and County agencies for the right to live on the water.
A few old relics remain – ones I might have nailed together in my youth – but most are totally remodeled. Today about 400 homes line five marinas. Not your normal houseboat – but floating homes with grand pianos, marble fireplace surrounds, and two to three stories.
Besides being on the calm waters with plenty of flowering plants dockside, I enjoyed the great views of the bay, Mt Tam or San Francisco. I got in a little walk and a few flights of narrow, steep stairs.
The day we went it was warm and sunny, but I reminded myself on a rainy day it would be a long walk down the dock to my house.
Words by Lynn Millar
Photos by Mike Millar
I never figured out which one was in Fletch. Anyone?