The Kingdom of Bolinas

In Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia, Northern California, Oregon and Washington break away from the union to form their own highly groovy utopia. What Callenbach predicted may never have happened on such a big scale, but the small town of Bolinas, CA sure feels like it broke off from the rest of the country. Callenbach, in fact, featured Bolinas in the prequel to Ecotopia, Ecotopia Emerging.

Bolinas residents, famously, remove the turnoff signs on the highway on a regular basis, giving the town an independent vibe. One of the first things you see on approaching Bolinas is a series of picturesque organic farms, including Gospel Flat Farm which runs an honor stand along the road. When we visited they had some nice looking beets:

And a quirky mobile facility:

Bolinas also has a free store:

With its own unique signage:

And a multi-denominational alter thingy on the main drag:

With yet more creative signage:

The list of former residents reads like a who’s who of American art and poetry. It’s easy to see why. Bolinas has natural beauty, a good set of small businesses and all that fresh produce. It’s also the home of my favorite bloggers, publisher and author Lloyd Kahn

Kind of hard to find myself back in Los Angeles, the most un-Bolinas of cities!

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  1. thanks, what a nice place….where i live, all the local shires are pressured to amalgamate (for economic reasons)….a little place that jealousy guards its independence is an inspiration…as is Lloyd Khan.

  2. Thank you for the link to Lloyd Kahn, what a flashback and have added his blog to my list of blogs that I follow. I had no idea he was still out there and in such a great way.

  3. I wish I could create a Bolinas-like atmosphere in my little midwestern very uncool dead town. Especially the free store, I wish there were more of those.

  4. Whenever I’m in Bolinas I’m always waiting for the locals to cart me off a la The Wicker Man. But they have a lovely beach!

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