It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the type of host I really am. You see, I like to think I’m super chill, with a “time together is all that matters” vibe, when the reality is, that nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t help it, I’m Joel Kleinman’s daughter and I’ll be damned if you visit me and don’t have battle wounds to show for it. For me, a good trip is filled with unexpected settings, great food, a mishap or two, and of course a lot of booze and I work to make sure that my guests are guaranteed all of these things when visiting me. So when planning the itinerary for my brothers recent visit, I was shocked to find one place that actually had the possibility to meet all of my criteria; the Tourist Club in Marin. It was perfect. Those of you who live in the bay area might know about this German Chalet in the middle of Muir woods that servers Beer and has beautiful decks to drink it on.
You might also know, that people tend to be put off by the Tourist Club because their website isn’t the most welcoming. Their weekend schedule is irregular and since they are a private club they make it very clear that they have no problem turning you away no matter where you’ve hiked from. Furthermore, they have a long list of rules: no dogs, no parties over 7, no outside booze, etc etc. I could see where others might be fazed by this attitude but I didn’t even bat an eye when reading the info. After all, these people are GERMAN. They don’t have the welcoming gene and you can’t let this stop you from enjoying their company.So off we went in search of good beer and bad service.
I should mention, that the Tourist club is generally described as a hike in location. They have a parking lot but they discuss that as only being there for truly lame and helpless individuals and encourage you to take 1 of 2 hikes to their property. Your choices are, a challenging hike clocking in at around an hour and a half, or a moderate hike lasting only 30 min. I choose the later because if a German person says a hike is hard, it’s definitely a torture trail and we were there to have fun. We go to the described trail head right off of Panoramic Highway. It is beautiful. We see the woods descend into the ocean and off in the distance San Francisco’s radio tower. The trail takes us about 20 yards below the highway and back the direction that we drove in. We hike for about 15 minutes before we start to wonder when exactly the path will separate from the highway and descend down into the woods. We continue and by minute 25 we are sure that we have taken the wrong trail. There is no way that a Teutonic nature lover would knowingly lead us along a glorified sidewalk 60 ft from the street. After hikers assure us that we are indeed headed in the right direction we forge forward. Right around minute 35 we strangely pop back onto a spot on the highway that we had driven past three quarters of an hour earlier, we look down the street and sure enough, we’ve hiked to the tourist club parking lot (enter mishap) which totally insulted my hiking sensibilities. The funny thing is, that walking from the parking lot the true treachery begins. You are forced to descend down one of the steepest walkways I’ve ever been on knowing that once you’re drunk you’ll need to get up this trail. Needless to say, once the club came into sight I knew it was all worthwhile. It truly is a traditional Bavarian Hut with hand crafted wood detail on every corner. As we sat there with our pitchers of beer and beautiful surroundings I couldn’t have been happier, knowing that even Papa would be proud of the adventure I’d drummed up for my bro. Oh and for those of you who are curious, the beer is the real deal too.