Introduction to Novato, California
Novato, California, in Marin county, is 9 miles SE of Petaluma, California (center to center) and 24 miles N of San Francisco, California. It's part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and several biotech firms are located in the city. Notable companies located at the former Hamilton Air Force Base include Sony Imageworks, Smith & Hawken, Birkenstock Distribution USA and Visual Concepts Entertainment. Rolling hills, cow farms and numerous ranches are located near the western portion of the city.
The area originally included several Coast Miwok villages. The city was established in 1839 as Rancho de Novato by a land grant by the Mexican Government. Four additional land grants were created in the area. During the middle of the 1850's Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long purchased a large acreage and developed orchards and vineyards.
The railroad arrived in 1879 and connected the city with Sonoma County. During the Great Depression a large number of farmers lost their land. After World War II a vast number of homes were built. The city was incorporated in 1960. The Hamilton Air Force Base was decommissioned in 1974 and now includes homes and office buildings.
Novato and nearby Attractions
- Miwok Park/Marin Museum of the American Indian is a notable venue.
- Novato Arts Center at Hamilton Field.
- Novato History Museum.
- Novato Old Town features unique shops and attractive historic buildings.
Stafford Lake is popular for fishing and picnicking and includes a scenic nature trail. The nearby Muir Woods is a well known scenic location and features the impressive coast redwood trees. Residents and visitors enjoy touring the nearby wineries located in Napa and Sonoma and the Pacheco Ranch Winery located in Novato. Samuel P. Taylor State Park features grasslands and coast redwood groves. The close by scenic Point Reyes, situated along the coastline features a vast number of bird species, a historic lighthouse, panoramic views, a variety of landscapes and scenic walking trails.
Olompali State Historic Park offers scenic views. Mt. Burdell is popular with hikers. Golf enthusiasts enjoy playing at the scenic Indian Valley Golf Club and the Stone Tree Golf Club. San Francisco is about a thirty minute drive away. The scenic Mount Tamalais State Park includes redwood trees and spectacular views. The beautiful and charming city of Sausalito, situated along the San Francisco Bay is a popular tourist location.