The Story Behind The Bench With One Of The Best Views In The Bay Area

There is a stretch of Highway 101 in Marin County that, when traffic slows enough to allow for a glance, offers drivers a pretty spectacular view of Mt. Tamalpais.

As good as it is, though, it’s nothing compared to the view looking back. It’s one of the best in the Bay Area. It’s also the one Ike Silberman shared for more than 50 years with his wife, Roz.

“She was very spontaneous, warm, friendly,” Silberman said.

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The Silbermans moved into their home on Summit Ave. in Mill Valley in 1958. Roughly half-way up the 2,500-foot mountain, the deck of the Silberman home has a view that looks down Richardson Bay toward Sausalito and includes San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Bridge in the distance. “I’ve been told it’s one of the best views in Mill Valley,” Silberman said. “I don’t think they are wrong.”

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Ike and Roz raised five children in the home before her death in 2010. “She had Alzheimer’s disease,” Silberman said. “It was complications from a fracture and problems associated with that.

Silberman thought for some time how, and where, to best memorialize his wife.

He settled on a spot 50 feet from his front door. It is there he placed a bench so that others could share in the amazing view he had shared for so many years with his wife.

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“It reflects on her natural willingness to share a love of the environment and love of people and a love of being helpful,” Silberman said.

What he didn’t quite expect though was just how perfect, and popular, this gesture would be.

One of Roz’s great qualities, Ike said, was her ability to make strangers feel instantly comfortable and at ease. The Silberman’s son David said when his mother would catch hikers and bikers stealing a drink from their garden hose she wouldn’t chastise them, she would invite them in the home for a proper glass of water.

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“Ever time I come back to the house there is a hiker or biker or someone tying their shoes, having water, having a snack,” David Silberman said. “It’s amazing and it warms my heart.”

On a busy weekend, Ike Silberman says, hundreds of hikers and bikers take advantage of the rest stop. Even he will linger from time to time, happy to talk with strangers about the view in front of the bench as well as the story behind it.

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