Once a year, for the last 28 years, the Floating Homes Association in Sausalito, California, holds its Floating Homes Tour. Each year a different set of homes is open to the public. To quote the current president of the Floating Homes Association on how the ticket proceeds are used, "We share our tour proceeds with our neighbors, the Friends of the Marin City Library, Sausalito Village and other deserving organizations."
To celebrate her birthday this year, Debbie asked me to take her to the Floating Homes Tour. It sounded like a fun way to spend a day together, so, we reserved our tickets, and off we went last Saturday.
As luck would have it, after a glorious summer, on this, the last day of summer, it started raining (I should say "pouring") about 5 minutes after we set out on our one-hour drive to Sausalito. And, it didn't stop raining until sometime in the afternoon. Given that the tour is on just one day, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., we, and several hundred others, forged on through the rain and mud.
Most of us have called the floating homes "houseboats," but their official description in the Sausalito community is "floating homes" because these homes no longer set sail; they are permanently anchored.
This year's tour included 4 arks and 10 floating homes. For more terminology: arks are boats that do not float; they are permanently secured on pilings at the edge of the water. In contrast to the floating homes, the arks do not sway or rise and fall with changing tides and currents.
The tour is self-guided and, this year featured homes on three different docks, all within walking distance of one another.
Many of the home owners were in their homes to greet visitors and to answer questions. Docents from the Floating Homes Association and historians were everywhere to provide more information and insights. Seeing this community up close was interesting and a lot of fun. It also gave me, who thrives in clutter in my own home, a lesson in living small (Even the most luxurious and modern of floating home has extremely limited storage space.
This rest of this blog will mainly be photos of the homes we visited or walked past.
By the way, those who come to this tour every year swore that this is the first year that they've had rain. So, mark your calendar for next year and keep checking the Floating Homes Association website for the date and ticket information for the 2014 tour.
Debbie on a bridge in the Appleton Ark's enclosed deck; there is a koi pond below.
The Blue Heron, on Main Dock, has a very modern interior.
The bedrooms in the S.S. Maggie, on South Forty Pier, are on the bottom level of the home. This is the guest room, built into the bow of the boat. The original hull is still visible. The S.S. Maggie was built around 1890 as a steam schooner and retired in the 1930s.
The Mayflower is another ark. It was under construction at the time of the 1906 Earthquake and was completed and launched in 1907. It has been on pilings in this slip since sometime between 1920 and 1930.
The Winchester Mystery Boat on the Main Dock is relatively new, having been built in the 1960s.
We were constantly amused and surprised by the fanciful and beautiful homes we passed.
The "front yards" of the homes is along the walkways that traverse each dock. It is where owners store some of their belongings and where they have their gardens.
The water views between docks and out onto Richardson Bay give another perspective on the community.