Antithetical to The City, Sausalito's a place where time patiently and gently washes over you like a consoling beach wave—rather than beating down on you akin to an aggressive riptide, courtesy of yet another ghastly utility bill that washed-up in your mailbox.
It’s a typical Saturday morning, as Brittany and Ryan sip their coffee while gazing out over San Francisco Bay. You’d be forgiven for assuming they reside in one of San Francisco’s exclusive neighborhoods overlooking the length and breadth of the city, but they don’t. This college-degree toting, millennial couple lives in Sausalito—a quaint, North Bay tourist town, which over the past century has continually reinvented itself to accommodate pioneers, rum runners and bootleggers, industrial shipyards, artistic enclaves, and summer retreats for the wealthy.
Why would someone whose peers are entrenched in the fast-paced, business card carrying, dress-up culture of the city, move to a town which "rolls up the sidewalks early" and thinks "delivery" means receiving a parcel from Fedex?
“The city’s great, but it became, I guess it became exhausting," Brittany admits.
Ryan agrees, "You have a stressful job, it’s rambunctious 24/7. Sausalito is very opposite, very therapeutic."
Brittany enjoys the fact that outside of peak-hour they can be across the Golden Gate Bridge in 10 - 15 minutes. “It's so easy to get in and out of the city."
"I have the best commute," Ryan nods. His San Francisco office is two blocks from where the Sausalito commuter-ferry lands. “It's awesome."
Brittany has quit her city job to work in San Rafael. "I go the opposite direction." If you’ve ever had to commute in and out of San Francisco you’ll know "opposite" is a major plus.
Despite the fact that Sausalito residents sport predominantly grey and white hair dos, and are anything but “fast-paced", these self-proclaimed millennials feel comfortable here and embrace the visible 70s attitude that lingers, decades after the hippies fought for the right to anchor their colorful, and often sketchy houseboats along the shores of the former ship-building town.
"We love going down to Taste of Rome," Ryan says turning to Brittany, “that's where we met Jim."
"Jim, grey, white hair, hat?" I ask, gesturing a wide brim.
Jim is typical of Sausalito’s waterfront-locals who are quick to befriend newcomers.
Brittany compares this "down-to-earth" appeal with San Francisco’s "noise, traffic and claustrophobia". “It's a laid back, beach, hippie town. Tight knit. People are willing to scratch each others back."
“We'd come here on weekends, to Bar Bocce, and we really enjoyed it. We were thinking either here, or maybe Tiburon. That’s where our friends moved, but it was way too quiet, we would just go crazy."
While Sausalito may lack the array of bars, cafes and restaurants that populate their former neighborhood in the Marina District, the couple has found plenty of entertainment and are "in" with the local bartenders and regulars. "JJ always slips us a few cheap drinks," Ryan muses, "and the guy at Saylor’s taught us all about tequila. Locals get discount at Barrel House."
The six-mile move north has rewarded the pair with a house nestled among trees and wildlife, and walking access to most conveniences. Add the views, the better "housing per dollar" equation and the ability to cook at home, "Our apartment in San Fran didn’t really have a kitchen, we’d eat out most nights," and you might think Sausalito is a modern-day Shangri-La. Even the notoriously steep hills don’t bother them.
Ryan laughs, “It's my best work out. Yeh, we’ve gotten it down to a science. It takes me about 12-minutes to get up the hill, almost to the dot, and then I’ll burn about 88 calories."
“It's like, a Tequila!" Brittany chimes in. "I said, perfect!"