Welcome To Mill Valleyport, Connectifornia

By Dan Woog and Liz Greer

Famous people — including fictional TV characters — live here.

Downtown is grappling with the loss of mom-and-pop shops.

Real estate is expensive.

Residents are affluent, worldly, well educated, and overwhelmingly white.

The politics lean toward the liberal.

Welcome to Westport, Connecticut — and Mill Valley, California.

Separated at birth? Mill Valley, California...

They may not be exact replicas of each other.

But they’re close.

Joggers, bikers, yoga practitioners, nature walkers:  check.

A much-loved library, highly regarded schools, community theater and arts festival:  check.

Texting while driving:  big check.

There are differences, of course.  While both have spectacular views, Westport counters Mill Valley’s canyons and redwoods with lush greenery and Colonial-era stone walls.

Mill Valley’s 20-minute commute to San Francisco blows Westport’s hour-long (with luck) ride to New York City out of the water (the Sound, not the Bay).

...and Westport, Connecticut.

For every Jack Kerouac who lived in Mill Valley, Westport’s got an F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Mill Valley has been home to Dana Carvey, Jack London, Jerry Garcia, Huey Lewis and Robin Williams.

Westport residents have included Paul Newman, Robert Ludlum, Ashford and Simpson, and Michael Bolton.

B.J. Hunnicutt of “M*A*S*H” lived in Mill Valley, supposedly.

“I Love Lucy'”s Ricardos called Westport home, fictionally.

West has a hyperlocal blog, “06880.”  Mill Valley has a hyperlocal blog, “Mill Valley Life.”  They share the same combination of celebrity and aargh-itude.

In fact — former Westporter Rod Serling would appreciate this — “06880” is the creation of Dan Woog.  Who visits, and has close friends in, Mill Valley.

And “Mill Valley Life” is the creation of Liz Ewen Greer.  Who lived in Westport, way back in the 1960s.

DEE-DEE dee dee DEE-DEE dee-dee…

(Today’s post appears simultaneously in “06880” and “Mill Valley Life.”)

6 responses to “Welcome To Mill Valleyport, Connectifornia

  1. Like you Dan, I have lived in both places but unlike you have ended up in Ohio. You should write more about California and Connecticut. You describe them as if they were people not places and its very well done.

  2. Max Stampa-Brown

    I have ventured from westport to meet college sweetheart of mill valley, super surprised when hearing of this post. We knew they were similar but the deal has been sealed.

  3. Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan reminds me so much of Westport

  4. But does Mill Valley still have a movie theater?

  5. Yes! The movie theater is called The Sequoia. Built in 1929, eight months before the stock market crash, it’s a two screen theatre that’s been beautifully renovated.

  6. Dan, I read this and laughed. I grew up in Westport and now live happily in Mill Valley. Mill Valley is wonderful! Just think of Westport minus the snow and the annoying commute, and plus redwoods, hiking trails and mountains. To answer Mr. Cantor’s question, Mill Valley not only has a movie theater downtown (and a fairly star-studded annual film festival, now in its 34th year), but also a live theater (Dana Carvey is a frequent guest at its weekly comedy night) which hosts a great teen musical theatre program. Westporters: visit, you’ll love Mill Valley! (p.s. full disclosure: I do yoga.)