Sausalito walk 2

Sausalito's friendliest street

The few nonlocals who venture to Caledonia Street most often end up at Sushi Ran (107 Caledonia St.; 415/332-3620), considered by many to be the Bay Area's best sushi restaurant. And to be fair, that's a good enough reason to visit Caledonia. But it's certainly not the only one.

The street's attractions are aptly summed up by John Wilmer, whose John Wilmer Studio Workshop (333B Caledonia; 415/331-3037) is crowded to the rafters with his framed photos, artwork, and antiques. "Caledonia is like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the artist says. "It's got everything you need."

It's true: along Caledonia's eight blocks, you can catch an art film; dine at seven very good restaurants; shop for obscure tools at Water Street Company Hardware and Supplies (318 Caledonia; 415/332-4318), in business since 1971; or browse well-chosen used books at the Great Overland Book Company (215 Caledonia; 415/332-1532).

Wilmer found and fell in love with his studio, a former warehouse, on his first day scouting business space in Sausalito. He still counts his blessings to be here. "I leave my door open every day of the year," Wilmer explains. "My 11-year-old son goes down to the park by himself to play basketball. There aren't that many streets in Marin that have such a friendly flavor."

And he adds, "Caledonia gets the best weather in Sausalito; the sun comes right here. There's a reason William Richardson chose this neighborhood."

In the 1800s, long before Caledonia existed, this was the site of a rancho operated by William Richardson, who once owned much of the land in Marin County and who is widely known as one of the first founders of Yerba Buena, a.k.a. San Francisco. But Caledonia was prime real estate even before Richardson's time. "Where Sushi Ran and the theater are now, there used to be a Miwok village," says Frank, whose own home is on the hill just off Caledonia.

Frank, Wilmer, and other locals can often be found at Caffe DiVino (37 Caledonia; 415/331-9355), a hangout with great Italian food and live music Wednesday through Sunday nights. Wilmer also favors Fukusuke (closed Mon; 45 Caledonia; 415/332-2013), a country-style Japanese restaurant with inexpensive bento-box dinners. Other good ethnic eats: Sartaj Indian Café (closed Mon; 43 Caledonia; 415/332-7103), with good takeout and pie; and Arawan Thai Cuisine (47 Caledonia; 415/332-0882).