Summer is here and Marin’s hiking trails
and backyard spaces are calling.
Proximity to beaches, hiking
faded orange slide folded under the tree is the
and nature and the chance to
create our own backyard oasis is
what enticed my family over the
bridge two decades ago.
last remnant of our version of Green Acres.
In this issue we introduce you to three families who have thought outside the sandbox and
turned their yards into a gathering place for
games and more — one family even building
the putting green of my dreams. For years we’d
heard rumors of a house in Novato with a skate
ramp but could never track it down; enter writer
Laura Hilgers, who quickly found the ramp
in question. Imagine our surprise when we
learned the home belongs to Sam and Kirsten
Neff; Kirsten is a contributor to the magazine
and a friend. What I love most about this story
is how the Neff family built the ramp in collaboration with their neighbors.
Our third family loves bocce ball and made
their own court, which you see on the cover.
The pictured home belongs to Jennifer and
Kyle Klopfer in Strawberry, and sitting on
the rock wall is their longtime friend Eric
Zener, who, in another coincidental t wist, has
actually contributed more covers to Marin
Magazine (often paintings of people swimming) than any other artist.
Beyond the front or back yard, be sure to
check out our summer guide, which features
six hikes handpicked by contributor Stephanie
Martin. For some of the hikes, an accompanying
audio tour is available on Vizzit.co; download the
app for even more audio tours to enhance your
visits to locations right here in Marin. Try out
the guided hikes and let us know if we missed
any important points — the tours can be updated
or improved at any time. See you on the trails.
Mimi Towle, Executive Editor
SUMMER’S ARRIVAL MEANS it’s finally time to enjoy our coveted outdoor spaces. After all, the comfortable cli- mate and miles of open space are why we all work so hard to live here, right?
While national headlines lament Nature Deficit
Disorder, here in Marin one needs to make a
considerable effort to not be outdoors.
Proximity to beaches, hiking and nature
and the chance to create our own backyard
oasis is what enticed my family over the bridge
two decades ago. Our first home was barely
1,000 square feet, but once the days got longer we would gather the outdoor carpet and
matching furniture and head outside to essentially double our living space. Determined
to eschew the plastic toy playhouses lining
the entrance to Toys R Us in San Rafael, my
husband spent a weekend building a redwood
sandbox and swing under our giant ash tree —
which the neighborhood cats loved.
But finally, after unyielding pressure from
a pint-size family member, we gave in and
bought a plastic medieval-style castle fort,
a turtle-shaped sandbox (the shell-shaped
cover was an effective cat deterrent) and the
favorite, a tiny folding orange slide — all from
Toys R Us, of course. We did manage a few DI Y
projects inspired by HGTV, including planter
boxes lined with copper to stave off snails,
a chicken coop and a volleyball/badminton
court. We’ve logged many miles to and from
Home Depot to build our own little toddler-to-teen utopia. Despite all that, I always dreamed
of turning the lawn into a putting green, adding an endless swimming pool/hot tub and
replicating a giant chess set I had seen while
traveling. Life got in the way, and now a tiny