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The Great Escape: Moonlight Mile

In this inaugural edition of The Great Escape, take a romantic stroll down a familiar trail, but this time do it by moonlight.

Your teens are holding a car wash at Tam High Saturday. The grandparents volunteered to take the younger children to a movie Sunday afternoon. Your tweens take tap on Wednesday evening.

It’s your time. Take it.

This is the inaugural edition of The Great Escape, will help you do that. Each week, we’ll tell you about one great idea to give you a much deserved break and make your life a little easier - maybe a whole lot easier.

Whether it’s a date night with your significant other, a solo activity to clear your mind or a half-day adventure with your girlfriends, Mill Valley and the surrounding areas offer endless ways to escape, both literally and figuratively.

Up first is a new twist on an old favorite: Tennessee Valley.

With its well-earned reputation as a family-friendly hiking trail, you’ve probably trudged the Tennessee Valley loop with your kids more times than you care to count.

But until you’ve watched the diamond sparkle off the Pacific as the sun sets over the beach from the Bay Area’s most perfectly-placed bench, you really haven’t gotten the most out of this go-to family excursion, which so many of us take for granted. For this Valentine-themed Great Escape, leave the kids at home and rediscover Tennessee Valley’s more grown-up delights.

There are few spots more suited to a moonlight hike than Mill Valley’s famed Tennessee Valley. The relatively-easy trail is buffeted by steep, craggy hillsides and dramatic views of the Marin Headlands, and the pay-off is undeniable: a postcard-worthy stretch of rugged beach greeting all wanderers with its indelible imagery.

With sunset around 5:40 p.m. these days, head over to the trailhead at the end of Tennessee Valley Road at around 5:15 p.m. Pack a bottle of wine or bubbly, two glasses, and extra layers for those sudden drops in temperature. With no little legs slowing you down, the leisurely mile-long hike out to the beach should take around 20-25 minutes, getting you there just in time for sunset.

Grab a seat on the lovers’ bench perched up on the sloping hill to your right and take a moment to enjoy your surroundings. You’re not very far from home, but you’ll feel transported to a secret place of your own.

As the sun drops below the horizon line, savor the twilight, the silence, and the stars as they begin to appear in the sky. Full moon is on February 18th, so the days before and after should provide plenty of moonlight for your stroll.

And if it’s foggy, all the better. What better excuse to cuddle up with your Valentine?

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