I have to say, today was truly a red-letter day. Today was the FIRST day I’ve been out with a friend in 15 months, and the very first time I’ve eaten in an actual restaurant. (Thank you, vaccines!!) Yes, it was glorious. I headed north from the peninsula, through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and I soon found myself in the Marin Country Mart, right across from the Larkspur Ferry Landing.
This Mart opened in 2013, and it has been an evolving shopping and eating destination ever since. I was very curious to see what I’d find today, given how Covid has affected the shopping sector. Granted, there were some vacant storefronts and a few retailers that I dearly loved that have since departed. Nevertheless, we spent a few lovely hours exploring the latest offerings.
First stop was Flora & Henri, a shop I first became acquainted with in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. It’s a spacious and welcoming store which houses merchandise from a variety of genres. Their home section is wonderful, from glassware to books and beyond. On this visit, I was particularly taken with a precious decanter and glasses with butterflies on them from Lobmeyr. They have a darling children’s section and a small selection of women’s wear, including items from Injiri, one of my favorite indie brands.
This Mart opened in 2013, and it has been an evolving shopping and eating destination ever since.
Lunch was the next item on the agenda. If I had limited time, I would have stopped at Rustic Bakery. (You cannot go wrong with their Asian chicken salad!) But given that this was a big “day out,” we opted for the Farm Shop. My goal was to fill the entire table with different dishes, and I say we accomplished that! Avocado hummus with veggies and pita for dipping, red beets with feta, burrata with crispy artichokes, and bread right out the oven. My mouth was in overdrive experiencing all these new tastes after months of uh…not the most interesting food. (Have I ever mentioned that I don’t cook? At ALL?!)
After a delicious and satisfying lunch, we were all set to continue our journey at Pippa Small, an amazing London-based jewelry designer. (I was thrilled to meet her when this store opened in 2020!) She is truly one of THE pioneers is ethical jewelry. Working with artists in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Jordan, and beyond, she works in training the artisans, thus providing them with meaningful employment for them and future generations. I cannot say enough about how beautiful the jewelry is and knowing what an impact she’s making in these communities just makes me love her collections even more.
Since my last visit to MCM, a new jewelry store has popped up – Commonwealth. I feel this store is a nice complement to Pippa Small. They both have beautiful merchandise, but they have distinctly different feels. Commonwealth is home to a variety of jewelry designers, including Nouvel Heritage, Melissa Kay, Marlo Laz, Amy Gregg, and Emily Wheeler, to name a few. The store is a literal jewelry box, with collections housed in little vitrines around the petite shop. I appreciated how they clearly labeled the designer in each section.
The next stop was Clic, which I, ironically, first visited in New York City with Jen back in 2018. In fact, on that visit we fortuitously met the founder, Christiane Celle, who you may know as the founder of the former Calypso stores. Clic has 5 locations (NYC, East Hampton, Marin, Montecito, and St. Barth.) It’s a complete lifestyle store – art, clothing, home goods, jewelry, and even glassware from the coveted Charleston line Estelle Colored Glass. Personally, I love how this location has racks of boho-inspired clothing in color-coordinated rails. It’s SO inviting. You just want to try everything on!
Our next stop was Hero Shop, which opened in 2019 in Marin. Its flagship shop opened in the Tenderloin in San Francisco in 2016. This store is the brainchild of Emily Holt, a former fashion news editor of Vogue. The shop brings some high fashion to Marin by way of Dries van Noten, Khaite, Marni, La DoubleJ, and the exquisite jewelry designs of Harwell Godfrey. Definitely take some time to peruse their well-edited racks.
We couldn’t leave MCM before visiting Hudson Grace, a timeless home décor store well-known for everything you’d need to host a fabulous dinner party, from dishware, candles, linens etc. One of the reasons this location (of their 7 stores) is so special is that it is one of only two that has a flower stand. SO pretty!
I was very pleased to see the Marin Country coming to life again, as California seems to be as well. Now, more than ever, I will treasure these opportunities to visit stores, eat in restaurants, and spend time with loved ones. I highly encourage you to visit your local stores and give them your support. They need it. It is my goal with The Curated Shopper to introduce you to unique, independent shops that you may not otherwise find. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Enjoy and be well!!