A friendly town, if you can find it

Flickr photo by Vards Uzvards. http://www.flickr.com/photos/uzvards/302486391/

Perhaps you’ve heard how unfriendly the residents of the small Marin County coastal community of Bolinas are to outsiders. True, a group known until earlier this year as the Bolinas Border Patrol, tore down highway directional signs so many times (30, by one count) that CalTrans finally conceded defeat.

“Well, it’s a long story,” sighs Elia Haworth, Assistant Director of the Bolinas Museum. Yes, there was protectionism, especially in the 1970s. And yes, many people frowned on tourists and land speculators disturbing their small town ways.”

“But,” she adds, “you have to remember, we have a very small beach, no parking, no public facilities.” And they like it that way, especially after observing what happens to more-welcoming neighbors. “If you go on a really sunny day to Stinson Beach, with all their facilities and parking, it can take you 45 minutes to get through that town.” Bolinas just doesn’t have the infrastructure for big crowds.

Still, Haworth says, “We’ve always had a connection back and forth with San Francisco. The economy depended on San Francisco, and we still have a large number of people who are from San Francisco,” whose families have owned homes there since the 1800s.

So stop in some time, buy a tie-dyed T-shirt, have a beer with the locals … but don’t tell too many people about the experience, You’ll stay on their good side that way.