Bolinas Gallery



It is the Howard Hughes of towns

Long known for its live-and-let-live attitude (except toward visitors, whom it would just as soon not let live), this spirited community of surfers, poets, artists, writers and aging mavericks about 30 miles up the coast from San Francisco has reached a tipping point of sorts.


Perhaps nowhere is the Bay Area's relentless collision between hippie-van and BMW culture becoming more pronounced than in this preternaturally beautiful place at the tip of a peninsula, where earthy hand-built houses topped with lurching towers commune with shingled New England-style cottages with achingly sweet gardens.


An unincorporated village (population about 2,500) without a mayor or a city hall, Bolinas has a long history of not only tolerance but also environmentalism, having waged a successful campaign to control development. Richard Brautigan and the Jefferson Airplane lived here. On special occasions, the Bolinas Bay Bakery has been known to whip up brownies made with kava, an herb that acts as a relaxant,
and tie-dyed carrot cakes.


It is home both to Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the fashion company Esprit, who recently caused a furor by planting cypress saplings on the border of her estate and so created a potential to block views of the hillside from the road, and to Lloyd Kahn, a surfer who once built a geodesic dome of vinyl pillows inflated with nitrogen and who founded Shelter Publications, a small, scrappy publishing house here.


From Bolinas Journal;By Patericia Leigh BrownPublished: July 9, 2000Bolinas originated as a Mexican land grant that included Stinson Beach, now a surfing mecca on the other side of the lagoon. The town has had a variety of past lives, among them as a seaside resort for San Franciscans fleeing the fog.


The post-hippie coalition still controls the town, including the existing water meters, which have become as wildly sought after as precious art.

Above image from