May 23rd, 2009

I once dated a male model. (What a great sentence! I think I only did it so that every now and then I could say that to someone.) It was very brief because, unfortunately, he was a little dumb. He was quitting modeling when I met him because he wanted to write a book. One day he showed me what he had written thus far. It was three months after I had finished my literature degree and perhaps I was a bit ungenerous and we never saw each other again.

But I digress, as they say. I only brought him up because, having spent my entire life in the Bay Area, before I met this guy I didn’t even know Bolinas existed. Not that this is entirely my fault. It is purposefully hidden. A New York Times article once called it “the Howard Hughes of towns.” Locals have torn down all the Highway 1 road signs that make reference to it and commonly tell inquirers that it is a burned out wasteland. The question is, how did a New York fashion model find his way to this reclusive hippie enclave?

The legend of Bolinas is that, in the early 70s, there was a big oil spill in the Bolinas Lagoon and a bunch of hippies came from San Francisco to clean it up, and then they stayed. The beach is beautiful, the mountains high and dramatic and the location made isolation easy. Today it’s full of artists, poets and other like-minded spirits. Lawrence Ferlenghetti’s son lives there, as does Huey Lewis’ mom. If I haven’t made this clear enough by now, this is not a place that encourages tourism, but this is why it’s a charming place to be a tourist. Go with caution and care, but go.

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