Hi everybody. Sorry it’s been quiet over here this week – a bout of the flu has kept me from accomplishing much. Before said flu struck, though, I had a great visit with my brother who was visiting from Wisconsin for his birthday. Every time he comes to visit, there are a few special things he likes to do. One is get up early and go around the corner to Arizmendi for fresh pastries. Another is to visit the Tourist Club in Muir Woods.
Nestled into a ravine in the woods, The Tourist Club is one of those little gems that you could pass by for years and never know about. It is marked only by a tiny sign that indicates a dirt road which leads to a gravel lot where you can park before heading down the 1/2 mile walking path that leads to the club. The first time I went – tipped off by a friend who specializes in hidden gems – I was dubious at best until we neared the end of the trail, and the Swiss chalet-style Inn emerged from the clearing.
The Club was built in 1914 as part of the Nature Friends organization, which was started in Austria in 1895. The Nature Friends wanted to encourage people to enjoy and study nature, and set out to create a network of clubs worldwide where members could stay (very affordably) and enjoy the mountains, keeping them free for all – or “Berg Frei”, their motto. In order to do this, members pay a small yearly due and commit to working in the club a certain number of days and helping with festivals. Pretty cool.
Even if you’re not a member, though, you can visit on the weekends (between 1 and 6pm, except the 2nd weekend of the month), and after a long hike, there’s nothing quite like one of their cold German beers and a perch overlooking the woods.