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Corte Madera, CA - Information & Search

Corte Madera Estaury

From the freeway, all you see of Corte Madera is two big shopping centers on either side.  Although the upscale shops of The Town Center and The Village at Corte Madera are all that many people know of Corte Madera, there is so much more to this charming town.

Corte Madera is centrally located in Marin County and extends from Mt. Tamalpais to the San Francisco Bay.  It is a blend of contrasts, combining the outdoor lifestyle and environmental consciousness with cosmopolitan, upscale culture. 

Because of its location in the foothills of Mt. Tam and at the confluence of Corte Madera Creek with the bay, the Town of Corte Madera created an environment of ecological preservation back in the Sixties.  Here you'll find birders and strollers out in the many preserved open spaces and watch rowers sculling along Corte Madera Creek.  The Corte Madera Ecological Reserve provides feeding and nesting areas for migrating shorebirds, including egrets, herons, avocets, and meadowlarks.  Just north of The Village shopping center you'll find Shorebird Marsh, a 31-acre wildlife habitat, and the Ring Mountain Preserve, a lovely, rocky hillside of designated open space overlooking the San Francisco Bay, lies at the southeastern edge of town.

In 1836 John Reed built a small mill which cut much of the wood used to build the Presidio.  In fact, historical records show that redwood timber was logged in Corte Madera as far back as 1816.  The name Corte Madera is Spanish for "cut wood."  By the early 20th century the town was also home to a harbor for the loading and unloading of cargo.  Steamboats traveling from Larkspur to San Francisco would stop here to purchase produce, lumber, and beef, and boats from San Francisco would stop in Corte Madera to unload manufactured goods.  During World War II, thousands of shipyard workers lived here and worked at the nearby Marinship in Sausalito.

The center of Corte Madera is the Old Town Square, built around the old train depot, where you'll find cozy Victorians and vestiges of the town's long history.  In West Corte Madera there are mid-twentieth-century ranch-style homes, many on beautiful lagoons that are fed by Corte Madera Creek, California cottages, Victorians, and hillside homes with views of the Bay.  Recently many of these older homes have been modernized and upgraded.  In the foothills of Mt. Tam lies Christmas Tree Hill with its narrow curving streets and Bay views.  Bayside Corte Madera, to the east, offers charming neighborhoods of older ranch-style homes, some with bay frontage and wonderful views across San Francisco Bay, and two new, modern housing developments providing a wide diversity of single-family homes and condos. On the edges of Ring Mountain are many winding, climbing streets with spectacular views of the Bay, East Bay cities, and Mt. Tamalpais.

Of course the two shopping centers offer Marin County's finest shopping, anchored by Nordstrom and Macy's and featuring upscale retailers like Williams-Sonoma and The Cheesecake Factory.  Among Corte Madera's superb restaurants are Marin Joe's, a Marin County institution for 50 years.  And the Corte Madera Certified Farmers' Market overflows with California-grown produce in the central courtyard of the Town Center every Wednesday afternoon.

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