Only a few days before our lives took an unexpected turn, Matt and I were invited to the most lovely dinner party we’d been to in quite a while. We were told it was on a houseboat in Sausalito, which sounded like fun, but it also sounded crammed and nausea-inducing and I kept wondering how we were going to prepare the stir fry we were shopping for.
When we arrived (see photo above) I was blown away. This was not a regular houseboat. This was The Vallejo and used to be a working ferry boat (about 100 years ago). It is huge and gorgeous both inside and out.
A friendly tabby came to greet me as I walked up the gangplank (good sign) and as I entered I was amazed by the beautiful wood. The floors were caramel (it was the magic hour) and the sun beamed in through the windows. They had art everywhere, a huge kitchen, the biggest wooden dining table I have ever seen and staircases leading to different rooms. It felt very much like a home, but different, like a treehouse or secret portal.
We climed a ladder to the top, where our friend had set up a DJ studio. Ammon played incredible music while we ate guacamole and watched the sun go down.
In the sixties, the Vallejo was a popular hangout among artists and poets because the painter Jean Varda and writer/Zen philosopher Alan Watts lived aboard. At various times you could find Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder (among others) hanging out there.
I could feel the magic of it. It is one of those places that simply inspires you. It made me fall in love with San Francisco again.