West Coast Wander – Part Three

[Check out Part One and Part Two if you haven’t already!]

As the day of the wedding approached, we relocated from our Airbnb in Oakland to one in Tiburon, much closer to the wedding site in Mill Valley, California.

The view of Richardson Bay

Our second Airbnb had a REMARKABLE view of Richardson Bay – but, again, no air conditioning in the middle of a brutal heat wave. The place was also western-facing and it was unbearable in the afternoon. There’s only so much you can do to cool off in 100 degree temperatures. Still, sitting on the porch in the morning with a cup of coffee was quite enjoyable. And we weren’t there to sit around the house all day!

Richmond, CA

On the drive up to Tiburon, we stopped at the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond. The little museum is housed in a former Ford automobile building and tells the story of the home front during World War II, including the Kaiser Shipyards and the Port Chicago disaster, the latter of which I had never heard of before. I highly recommend you click that link and learn about it! The SS Red Oak Victory (a preserved ship constructed at the shipyard) is docked nearby but it was not open during our visit. Samantha has a penchant for home front wartime propaganda and that slice of the war effort; we both enjoyed the visit very much.

Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera

I also have to talk about a restaurant in Corte Madera called Marin Joe’s. This little eatery opened in 1954 and the inside still carries that vintage supper-club atmosphere. It’s owned by the same Italian family that opened it nearly 70 years ago and the quality of the food is excellent. We were seated at the counter, which overlooks the open kitchen. I was sat directly in front of the brick wood-burning broiler, which at first was irritating because I had been hot ALL WEEK. However, that irritation quickly dissipated as I watched the professionals cook steaks, fish, and other meats while preparing the rest of the dishes nearby. We were also surrounded by local regulars and I love that kind of atmosphere! My ribeye was perfect and Sam loved her pasta. Sam’s Coca-Cola came with a cherry, which I thought was a nice old-school touch. The tiramisu is also fab!

Sunlight in the grove during rehearsal

The day of the wedding finally came and it was just stunning. Kelechi and James were married in a grove of redwood trees, a serene natural oasis on the edge of the Muir Woods. The ceremony was touching and heartfelt, full of their love for one another and the strength of their traditions. Poetry, song, even hopping the broom at the end. We felt honored to be there.

The reception afterwards went very well – I am so proud of Samantha! For weeks and months, Sam and her Mom had been putting together the table décor and other elements from afar. Seeing it all together and enjoyed by so many had to make her feel good. Her hard work paid off and everybody had a wonderful time celebrating the new couple.

A few of the table decorations – the reception theme was Gothic Wakanda!

Of note: in the middle of the reception, the bride and groom changed into different, festive outfits and performed a Money Dance. It’s a cultural tradition that comes from their Nigerian heritage, symbolizing good fortune and happiness. Guests surround the dancing couple and rain down money upon them. The flower girls went around with their baskets and collected the monies. Everybody went nuts, in the best way; it was a remarkable thing to be a part of. The whole wedding is an experience I won’t ever forget.

Samantha and Kelechi

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