Oct 22nd: 'Hilltop 1892' review, 'Aliens Love Underpants' Book Review, Weekend & Weekly Events & Activities

Welcome to a bewitched edition of The Marin Scoop, full of fun Halloween events over the weekend, a review of a historic hill top restaurant in Novato with amazing views, and a book review about funny aliens who steal underpants!

Weekend Events

Saturday October 23rd

‘Green Halloween’, from 1.00 – 3.30 pm, Sustainability Center Backyard, 141 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, $5 – 10 donation suggested; http://www.sustainablefairfax.org/
The 3rd annual ‘Green Halloween’ will provide fun in the garden while learning about sustainability through a recycled mask and craft making, face painting and a Harvest Sing-along with Miss Kitty. There is also a gently used costume exchange and delicious organic treats available too.

‘Twin Cities Cooperative Preschool Halloween Event’, from 10.00 – 2.00 pm, 56 Mohawk Ave, Corte Madera, free entry; www.twincitiescoop.com
Come in costume to a fun event with face painting, craft projects, jumpy house, candle making carnival games, a cake walk, bake sale.

'Halloween Haunt', from 5.00 - 8.00 pm, Belvedere Community Center, 1505 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon, Haunted house admission $5; http://www.btcreation.com 
3rd Annual Haunt will have a haunted house and you can go through 'the jungles of Skull Island', also a jumpy house, face painting, magician & snacks. Tame version at 5 - 6 pm and scary version for older kids at 6.30 - 8.30 pm. 

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th

Fall Book Blowout’, from 10.00 – 5.00 pm on Sat & 12.00 – 5.00 pm on Sun, Belvedere-Tiburon Library, 1501 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon; http://www.bel-tib

A huge array of children’s and adult’s books donated by Corner Books (the library’s new bookstore on the Boardwalk) will be available on the front patio at bargain prices and then slashed by half on Sunday, or purchase a $10 shopping bag to fill with books.

Sunday October 24th

‘Petaluma Mother’s Club Fall Carnival’, from 11.00 – 2.30 pm, Kenilworth Jr. High School, 800 Riesling Road, Petaluma; http://www.petalumamothersclub.org
Event suitable for children under 5 years old that includes a petting zoo, jumpy house, ‘Museum On The Go’, bake sale, games and live music by James K. Cash only tickets can be purchased for game booths, Food & drink. Costume contest at 12.00 pm.

The Mill Valley Children’s Garden 20th Anniversary – Haunted Harvest Fall Festival’, from 12.00 – 4.00 pm, Edna Maguire School Garden, 80 Lomita Drive, Mill Valley; http://www.ednamaguire.com
The children’s garden will have an eerie transformation with competitions for kids (build a fairy house, recycled sculpture contest & pie eating contest) and adults (witches brew stew-off and best pie contest). Also a whole host of other activities and games including potion making, wrap the mummy, barrel apple bobbing, the fishing game and a wicked tea party. There will also be music, prizes, food and homemade baked good to enjoy!

Restaurant of the Week

Hilltop 1892, 850 Lamont Avenue, Novato; www.hilltop1892.com

We decided to check out the newly revamped Hilltop 1892 Restaurant up in the Novato hills, as we had heard so much about it. When we pulled up outside we took in the surroundings which were really beautiful, especially in the golden evening sunlight. Taking advantage of the balmy weather, we sat outside on the patio to soak up the atmosphere and the panoramic 10 mile views. The background music put us instantly in a relaxed mood that almost felt like we were on holiday…so far so good.

Unfortunately we had a rather long wait for our food which puzzled us as there were only a few tables full in the bar and the main restaurant seemed empty. I decided to take a look around the restaurant which has been tastefully restored, with a cozy fireplace in the bar, a wine room and the main dining room offers booths or tables with wonderful views. As any parent knows a hungry child kept waiting makes an unpleasant experience for us and those around us. Our waitress didn’t seem to notice but thankfully a helpful gentleman did, and offered us some bread while we waited and some Parmesan crisps to delay the hunger.

After half an hour, our finally food arrived. My husband ordered the Hilltop Specialty Burger with brie cheese, sweet and sour red cabbage, roasted tomato aioli and fries which sounded promising but was a bit underwhelming with a dry tasteless bun. I initially wanted to get the Garlic Chicken Breast with roasted potatoes and braised swiss chard, but last minute I opted for the Steak Frites which arrived in an uninspiring manner, without any vegetables or salad garnish, poor presentation for $20! The saving grace was the truffle aioli and compound butter on top of the steak, but generally it was not very enjoyable. Other options include the California Halibut with almond crusted cauliflower gratin, baby artichoke and cherry tomato vinaigrette or the Orange Braised Short Ribs with horseradish potato puree, baby carrots, peas and red wine reduction.

The kid’s menu was the standard affair, and I don’t know about you but I wish kid’s menus would offer some sort of nutrition? Vegetables can so easily be hidden in a tomato based pasta sauce, why do chefs think all children would want to eat pasta in a boring butter and cheese sauce? We normally order off the main menu for our son, as he loves his food, but the only option we could find was the Apple wood Smoked Bacon Spaetzle which he seemed to enjoy and finish.

We hoped the restaurant could redeem itself with it desserts, we were tempted by the Toffee Bread Pudding, but instead decided to share Banana Creme Pie with chocolate sauce, which was actually really delicious and ended our meal on a higher note.

The Hilltop 1892 is not ideal for family dining, in my opinion, and unfortunately we won’t be going back for dinner. But I do think the bar makes a great place for drinks and bar snacks with friends or a date night as the amazing view really makes this place.

Children’s Book of the Week

'Aliens Love Underpants' by Claire Freeman & Ben Cort

I wanted to share a book that is not well known in this country, but offers the parents a funny read as well as your children. It is called ‘Aliens Love Underpants’ by Claire Freeman and tells the amusing story of how aliens scour planet earth from their space ship, not to take out the world like you might think, but to steal human’s underpants! ‘Their radar bleeps and blinks the moment that it sees a washing line of underpants, all flapping in the breeze’.

They land in your backyard and start trying on your underpants, they dance in them, put them on their heads, their feet and other silly places. They use underpants as trampolines to bounce up and down on and try to see how many aliens can fit inside each leg, they even hold upside down pant races.

The genius of this book is not only the funny story but the clever rhyming, and vibrant illustrations by Ben Cort that are wonderfully silly. Such as the picture of their spaceship covered in bumper stickers that say ‘Pants Rock’ and 'Hot Pants', and the alien inside reading a copy of 'Pants World'.

The English author has also written a couple of follow up books called ‘Dinosaurs Love Underpants’ and ‘Aliens in Underpants Save the World’ which are also funny, but this story is an award winning book that is a favorite in our household and I hope you consider introducing it to your family too.

Weekly Calendar of Toddler Appropriate Activities in Marin


10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.00 -10.40 am - Toddler class at Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato (until Dec17th)

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd.


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Storytime – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Playdate for 2 and Under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael (

10.00 - 5.00 pm - A week long opening party at Kidz Swap Shop, 821 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village


9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ at The Parents Center, Heller’s store, 514 4th St, San Rafael (

10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Storytime, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera

4.00 – 8.00 pm - Farmer’s Market, Bolinas Park, Bolinas Road, Fairfax


8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center (Puppet Show, balloon lady, Jumpy Houses & music)

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato

9.30 – 10.30 am – 28th ‘Jumping Jacks’ Halloween Party, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Storytime, San Rafael Library, 1100 E St, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street

3.00 – 7.00 pm – Farmers Market, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross

6.00 – 9.00 pm - Farmers Market, 4th St, between Lincoln and B St, San Rafael


10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 - 11.30 am - Tot's Club, City Hall Parks & Recreation, 420 Litho Street, Exercise Room, Sausalito

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

9.00 – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Alto Shopping Center, Mill Valley

9.00 am – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Bank of America parking lot, Downtown Sausalito

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