Renaissance Woman: Leslie Lakes


I love Marin County! It’s full of interesting and fun people! For instance, meet Leslie Lakes (formally Hendricks) who is new to Marin and was kind enough to share some of her favorite things about the Bay Area through the eyes of a newbie.

What do you love most about the Bay Area?
Having relocated to the Bay Area from the East Coast (Montclair, NJ), I’m incredibly appreciative of so many things that native Marinites take for granted: like the comparatively warm and moderate weather; the exquisite beauty of the surrounding natural terrain and landscapes; the fact that within a short radius of Mill Valley where I live, I can see and experience the ocean, mountains, marinas, bird sanctuaries, valleys, the magnificent structure of the Golden Gate Bridge; the culture of San Francisco, not to mention the looming and majestic Mount Tamalpais from our front door!  I love the fresh, sweet smelling air, as well as the fog that rolls in early in the morning, and burns off in the afternoon. I love the fact that flowers bloom all year round; the characteristically health oriented culture, and that public buses have bike racks. How cool is that!

What is your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?

While there’s a plethora of excellent and multi-ethnic restaurants in the bay area, for great Deli sandwiches, LOUIE’S DELI on Bridgeway in Sausalito can’t be beat!  We also enjoy DISH in Mill Valley, but if I had to choose only ONE restaurant…it would be SARTAJ on Caledonia Street in Sausalito. SARTAJ is a small quaint, Indian ‘Mom and Pop’ operation where every dish is made with love and just the right amount of spices. Portions are ample and the prices are very reasonable. But, mostly because it’s where my husband and I courted before we got married.  We even have our own special table for two by the window! (I love Sartaj!!! Their Chai tea is delicious!)

What is your favorite coffee or tea shop?
I love lattes and café au lait “to go” (always “extra hot”) either from PEET’S or STARBUCKS, but to actually sit down to enjoy coffee, I prefer to go to LA BOULANGE (Strawberry Village, Mill Valley) because it’s the closest thing to being in France (where I’m from) as they serve café au lait with lots of frothy hot milk foam, in a bowl.

Where is your favorite place to shop for clothing, books, kids stuff, etc?
or clothes:
THE FAMILY THRIFT STORE (Miller Avenue, Mill Valley); GOODWILL (San Rafael); H&M (Terra Linda); MARSHALL’S (Novato) and ROSS stores (throughout).
For books: Without a doubt – BOOK PASSAGE in Corte Madera!
For children’s things: GOOD NITE MOON (where I work on a part-time basis) at the Corte Madera Town Center, and WEE THREADS (E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley)

Favorite place to hike or bike? Favorite park? or Favorite outdoor activity?
While my husband is a professional bike mechanic (MIKE’S BIKES) and quite passionate about cycling, I lean more toward getting places – on foot! I love to walk and often do for miles and miles.  My most favorite outdoor activity is normally horse-back-riding, but in this current economy, walking is cheaper.  I enjoy walking just about anywhere! For exercise, I often take the bike path from Mill Valley to Sausalito town center, and back again.

Can you tell me a little bit more about what you do? What kind of people do you work with? Who do you help?
I’ve often been called a “Renaissance Woman”.  My main profession is that of licensed Massage Therapist with over 23 years experience in the field with a private practice in Mill Valley.  I’m also a singer/songwriter of children’s fare; a visual artist, as well as voice-over artist.

I love people and animals, and am actively involved in the community and with major fund-raising efforts (i.e., KIDDO, Marin Symphony, The Marin Humane Society, etc.).

Thanks Leslie!

13 thoughts on “Renaissance Woman: Leslie Lakes

  1. mary beth angelo

    A message to the Renaissance Woman:
    Miss you sooooo very much as well as your outstanding & therapeutic massages. You are a wonderful & gifted lady and wish you happiness & success on the West coast. If you ever want to wander South, Charles Poochini & I would love to entertain you & Bill. Happiness a thousandfold!

    luv ya, MB

  2. Teri

    It’s really fun getting to know you better! I wish you the very best in every business you do and can’t wait to be able to afford a massage! Warm wishes, Teri

  3. john percik

    leslie baby,

    All the years we’ve been close friends in NY/NJ, I admired your imagination as your thoughts were/are brought to life.
    I was so proud of you and your bike (motorcycle) riding large distances on your own.
    I love “Tom Turkey” from your terrific album for children and adults are jammin to it, too.
    Adopting 2 Greyhounds, who didn’t know how to walk up stairs and your great cats exemplfied your compassion for all life.

    May your new life with Bill, the new cuddly cutsy kittens and west coast living inspire others to find the beauty and gifts of nature everyday of their lives as best we can.

  4. Joan Gillette

    You truly are a Renaissance woman! I keep discovering new and hidden talents about you. I love your Christian heart most of all…As a new friend in Mill Valley, I feel quite blessed to know you, and yes, to have experienced your wonderful massages several times, knowing your background and experience. What a wonderful addition you are to our local community in Mill Valley

  5. Lorraine

    Hi Leslie –

    I am so happy that you called after getting my biz card! I am looking forward to making your apartment soothing, comfortable and beautiful. You have been so fabulous referring me to other people and getting the word out about my work. I can not thank you enough, Leslie! And in general, you are just a terrific person and I am looking forward to getting to know you as time goes by. So glad you moved to Marin!

  6. Eric Levin

    Leslie: You are a wonder. You don’t sound like a newbie at all, but fully integrated into your new (enviable) surroundings. Our loss in Montclair is Mill Valley’s gain. You bring a lot to the table in everything you do.

  7. Stacy Lyons


    This was fantastic!!!!!

    I love the picture, your responses….and….you make me want to live where you live!!!!

    I hope this brings attention to your good soul and all the good work you do!

    Keep on shinin’ sistah!


  8. jennie butler

    I really loved your interview and you really are a renaissance woman. we need to get together for latte in strawberry sometime. I miss you. God bless you and Bill

  9. Renee


    You continue to amaze me, Leslie. Your life in Mill Valley sounds perfectly aligned to who you are. I remember how wonderful your massages made me feel while I lived in NJ and I continue to seek the same loving and caring touch even now where I’m living in NH.

    Warmth and Light to you always,




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