Bret Harte is a beautiful, walkable residential neighborhood along the southern border of San Rafael in Marin County. The earliest homes date from the late 1930s. The neighborhood is tucked into the hillside with ample green space, tree-lined streets, and a secret trail. It features Bret Harte Park—the neighborhood's social center—and a diversity of families that call Bret Harte home.
BHCA Members Betsy Swenerton and Jim Draper are participating in a Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Stakeholders Working Group (SWG) that is exploring design alternatives for a direct freeway connection between Northbound 101 and Eastbound 580. The first SWG meeting took place on Monday, June 29, where the design team presented a broad overview of the project including seven design alternatives being considered. SWG meetings are conducted using Zoom and are open to the public. This is a very important project that has been in discussion for over a decade, and will have far-reaching impacts (hopefully positive ones) for Bret Harte and surrounding neighborhoods. We encourage all of our Bret Harte residents to participate in these early meetings. The presentation from the June 29th meeting is available below and on the TAM website. The next SWG meeting is on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m. Zoom link and meeting info will be available on the TAM website prior to the July 21 meeting. Make sure your opinion is heard regarding the seven alternatives being considered for the new direct connection between Northbound 101 and Eastbound 580.
The Bret Harte Community Association would like to congratulate the neighborhood's San Rafael High School Class of 2020, and hope we were able to send them off with heartfelt and enthusiastic, though (somewhat) socially distant style during the Tour on June 10th.
Huge thanks to the Stewart family for organizing, and Garrett Burdick for the photos (including the Buzz Booth)!
Promoting peace and community connection in a live neighborhood event, Bret Harte resident Kathy Quain lead songs towards peace including We Shall Overcome, Amazing Grace and Stand by me. Musicians Allen Biggs, Kathy Marshalland Vanessa Ruotolo accompanied this community event in June 2020. Kathy is Founder of MusicForTherapy.com and Power of Music LLC. Enjoy more videos on the Power of Music YouTube Channel.
On Saturday, June 6 2020, Bret Harte held a peaceful family demonstration. We met at the corner of Bret and Billou, and walked around the neighborhood spreading peace, love and support for Black Lives Matter. Photos by Garrett Burdick
Thanks to everyone who joined in a great opportunity to foster community building! We checked out the creative talents of Bret Harte artists while strolling the neighborhood. Photo collages by Nikki Contini
Thanks also for the inspiring and fun ongoing music from our neighborhood musicians: Justin, Alan and Kathy, Scott and Christine, Andy, and all the guest musicians! We appreciate relaxing with you at the end of another COVID day…
Thanks also to Sarah for her inspiring Nia dance classes!
with respect and gratitude,
Molly Blauvelt/BHCA president
San Rafael Vice Mayor Kate Colin put together a great neighbor-to-neighbor toolkit that neighborhoods throughout San Rafael are using to help connect neighbors who need help with those that can provide. This project works through the power of personal connections—volunteer "Street Angels" proactively reach out and see if any of our neighbors are in need, and then connect them with others who would like to volunteer.
Needs can include help getting groceries, or other home or yard chores. The toolkit also includes local resources to share and local phone numbers. Essentially, it formalizes much of the work that we already do in our neighborhood and helps us make sure we get through this crisis by helping one another. It is a powerful tool that we can continue to use for future needs.
We're currently recruiting Street Angels, who are responsible to reach out to 5–10 neighbors and connect with them via a phone call, email, or (non-contact) personal note. We ask that you don’t knock on doors during this COVID time, but instead tape a note or flier to mailboxes. We are putting together a flier for use.
If you're interested in becoming a Street Angel, contact Molly Blauvelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is your yard overflowing (even a little) with the season's harvest, and you'd rather not let it fall? Share your oranges, lemons, and more with the neighborhood by taking advantage of the free Bret Harte Bounty Neighborhood Sharing and Sustainability Program!
Some of our Bret Harte neighbors grow an excess of beautiful fruits and vegetables, which they graciously share. And some of our Bret Harte neighbors are elderly or in need. Let’s bring them together! Bret Harte Bounty is a community program to help our neighbors while preventing food waste (ranked third on Project Drawdown’s list of most important solutions to climate change) by delivering shared neighborhood produce to our senior and in-need neighbors. The Bret Harte Bounty program helps pick this excess fruit and delivers to the homes of the elderly and in need in Bret Harte.
For information or to reserve a harvest, contact Nigel Faulkner at email@example.com or 415-298-2485; Chris Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 628-240-4361; or David & Sarah Leipsic at email@example.com or 415-577 2794.
The BHCA invited everyone to share their at-home family photos with us so we can post them here. Even though we were practicing social distancing, it didn't mean we weren't social!
Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2020 BHCA Membership Drive. We came very close to our goal, with 35 new and renewing members. Your dues will help us continue to offer free events and programming to the neighborhood, and implement neighborhood-wide projects like park improvements, disaster-preparedness training, community art, and more.
A huge thank you to: Maria Baccigaluppi, Marianne Bulchis, Garrett Burdick, Cynthia Burgess, Jeffrey Chan, Alyssa Conklin-Moore, Nikki Contini, Jessica Deming, Coya Elliott (who caught up on eight years of back dues!), Billie and Gary Forer, William Gale, Irma Gray, Kevin and CJ Healy, John and Mariko Heenan, Michelle Holmes, Jenny Keane, Kyndra Kennedy, Mark Lubamersky, Tina Lundh, Donna McKee, Carolee Mech, Leigh Miller, Eve Nelson, Ben Parsons, Elise Peck, Ellen and Craig Peterson, Leslie Piper, Stephanie Prescott, Emma Rapp, Catherine Clark Sayles, Morgan Schauffler, Kris Stewart, Miriam and Jim Swanson, Kris and Valerie Trenouth, and Kathleen Walsh.
Join friends and neighbors at Bret Harte Park for an ice cream social to celebrate National Night Out. Guest speakers invited.
Don’t miss the bret harte-wide annual sale, with dozens of participants in the neighborhood and in the park. clothing, jewelry, housewares, collectibles, small furniture, electronics, kids clothes and toys, books, bikes, antiques, glassware, flatware, plants, vintage collectibles, musical gear, gardening equipment, eclectica, and more! Garage Sale 8:00 AM-2:00 PM, Picnic 5:00 PM- 7:00 PM.
Join your neighbors in getting ready for trick-or-treating. Pumpkins generously donated by Trader Joe’s. Please bring your own carving tools.
Come dressed in costume before trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. Pizza provided by BHCA
A furry, rascally rabbit has been spotted hiding Easter eggs at the Bret Harte Park. Bring your little ones (and a basket) and help collect all the eggs. Coffee and snacks provided.
The BHCA sponsors neighborhood social events that bring residents together, as well as support the needs of Bret Harte residents. Events are organized and run by neighborhood volunteers and most events are held in Bret Harte Park. These include:
Easter in the Park. The Easter Bunny stops by for an Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday before Easter, with treats provided by the BHCA.
Neighborhood Garage Sale. Held the Sunday after Labor Day, the annual Sale features dozens of participants around the neighborhood and in the park.
Non-Labor Day Picnic. Our biggest neighborhood event, held after the Neighborhood Garage Sale. This barbecue and potluck (with music in the park performed by local neighborhood residents) marks our annual membership drive and helps bring our community together.
Neighborhood Pumpkin Carving. Traditionally held the weekend before Halloween, children and their parents are invited to the park to pick out a pumpkin (generously donated by Trader Joe’s), carve it, and display their finished jack-o’-lanterns.
Pre–Trick-or-Treat Pizza Party. Before neighborhood kids head into the neighborhood for trick-or-treating, they gather in the park to show off their costumes and eat pizza.
National Night Out. Coordinated with the national celebration in early August, residents are invited to join friends and neighbors at Bret Harte Park to celebrate National Night Out. Guest speakers invited from City of San Rafael police and fire departments.
The BHCA engages in a number of activities by and for residents, including:
Bret Harte Bounty: A Neighborhood Sharing and Sustainability Program. Some of our Bret Harte neighbors grow an excess of beautiful fruits and vegetables, which they graciously share. And some of our Bret Harte neighbors are elderly or in need. Let’s bring them together. Bret Harte Bounty is a community program to help our neighbors while preventing food waste (ranked third on Project Drawdown’s list of most important solutions to climate change) by delivering shared neighborhood produce to our senior and in-need neighbors. The Bret Harte Bounty program helps pick this excess fruit and delivers to the homes of the elderly and in need in Bret Harte. For information, contact Nigel Faulkner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-298-2485; Chris Brown at email@example.com or 628-240-4361; or David & Sarah Leipsic at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-577 2794.
About the BHCA
The Bret Harte Community Association, in existence for over 50 years, is a neighborhood organization that supports approximately 500 residences, with the purpose of bringing the community together.
The BHCA is funded by neighborhood and community donations. A $25/year per- household donation is suggested. However, all activities are available to all neighborhood residents regardless of member status. The many accomplishments of the BHCA are achieved solely through volunteer efforts. To stay up to date on what's happening in and around the neighborhood, subscribe to the BHCA Email List.