Tiburon - Belvedere
Tiburon's fascinating history and natural beauty also provide a variety of unique attractions. In Tiburon, the 1884 Tiburon Railroad-Ferry Depot Museum-the only dual-use railroad terminal to survive west of the Hudson River-is on the National Register of Historic Places. Old St. Hilary's, a Carpenter Gothic church set in the midst of a wildflower preserve, was built in 1888 and offers stunning views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.
Ark Row, former houseboats on Tiburon Lagoon before it was filled in the 1940s, now houses restaurants and shops along upper Main Street. Tiburon Playhouse, site of the Tiburon International Film Festival, shows first-run domestic and foreign films. Windsor Vineyards, the only tasting room for this award-winning winery, offers wine tasting.
And in Belvedere, the China Cabin is the restored Social Saloon of the SS China (1866), a national maritime monument with a gilded Victorian drawing room. Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society
No time? No muscles? No matter. Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve, a tiny preserve tucked into a shady canyon along Paradise Drive, offers a very easy, 0.7 mile loop trail that's perfect for a quick hike or a leisurely wildflower walk. This little-known gem wanders through a thick forest of California bay, climbs moderately through woods with coast live oak and toyon, then segues to grassland, crossing a seasonal creek en route.
Angel Island State Park
For a short course in California history, board the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry for the 10-minute boat trip to Ayala Cove, entry to Angel Island State Park. From here the 740-acre mountain island encompasses the history of the Golden State from its Coast Miwork beginnings to the Army presence through the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and most recently, as a NIKE missile base. Immigration's pivotal role comes to life at the Immigration Station, where thousands of mostly Chinese immigrants were detained-and some denied entrance to the United States-during a period of exclusionary immigration laws.