Decades ago, I first visited the Tourist Club of San Francisco, which is not, as one might expect, in San Francisco. It is located on the tree-covered slopes of Mt. Tamalpais where it was started in 1912. It was a festival Sunday when I first visited, and this weekend is their first festival of the year, Maifest.
The Tourist Club is simultaneously an organization and a place. It is an organization of hiking, nature and German lovers, who share a desire to be part of a community organized around these passions. It is physically a small piece of land on Mt. Tam with a wonderful lodge and a couple of outbuildings, and will celebrate its 100th birthday next year (the land was purchased in 1912).
The lodge and club have a German/Alpine flavor and have a membership committed to maintaining this culture and ambiance. Althought it’s a private club, they welcome visitors on most weekends, and three times a year they have festivals. This Sunday, May 15th, is Maifest, and the public is very much welcome to participate. There’ll be live German music, dancers in Bavarian costume (think lederhosen and dirndl’s), wurst (sausages), kraut (cabbage), other German food and lots of beer. It’s also a fundraiser to provide funds to continue to maintain the clubhouse and grounds, so bring about $20 for the entrance fee, food and drinks.
This is a very popular event, so get their early to find some parking or, better yet, take the bus, ride your bike, or hike in from another parking lot further away. If you park on Panoramic Highway, you’ll get a ticket!
Where: 30 Ridge Avenue, Mill Valley, CA (map) (you have to hike about 1/4 mile down a steep trail from their tiny parking lot to the clubhouse)
When: Sunday, May 15th, 11:30 to 4:00