The demand for lumber to rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake meant that maritime commerce on the north coast was at an all time high, and a lighthouse was critical to the safety of the ships and their valuable cargo. Construction of the Point Cabrillo Light Station began in 1908, and its lens, a British-build Fresnel lens, was illuminated for the first time in 1909. … [Read more...]
Mendocino, Little River & Albion
A trip to Northern California would not be complete without a stop in the quaint and rustic Village of Mendocino, located on scenic route 1 about 150 miles north of San Francisco. The area offers deep-sea fishing, whale-watching, canoeing, kayaking, abalone diving, hiking, biking and horseback riding. Trails lead from the headlands down to beaches where visitors can search for seashells or explore the numerous tide pools.
Just 3 miles south of Mendocino, Little River Cove offers one of the most popular beaches on the Mendocino Coast. The protected cove is a great place for water recreation, and many divers splash into its smooth waters in search of abalone and other underwater treasures and is near the entrance to Van Damme State Park, one of the coast’s favorite parks. It offers beautiful hiking trails in the lush trail system along the fern-carpeted floors of the Little River Canyon.
Another 4 miles south on the river flats below the high wooden trestle bridge that spans the Albion River, lies the town of Albion. Visitors will find restaurants, lodging, a fully equipped grocery store and deli, and other necessities for the traveler. The area around Albion is rich with sheltered coves that are excellent for tide-pooling, hiking and exploring.
Venture a few minutes south of Mendocino Village to the historic Glendeven Inn, home of intimate winemaker dinners, and experience the venerable English tradition of afternoon tea. With so many things to do outdoors and in the lovely villages and small towns along the coast, it’s a welcome relief to drop by and relax in the inn’s ocean view Tea Room lounge. An afternoon at tea … [Read more...]
With the decline of the lumber industry, Mendocino fell on hard times. Then, in 1957, a local mansion that appeared in the James Dean movie East of Eden burned down, and Bill Zacha acquired the grounds with a small deposit. With the help of friends, other artists and townspeople, by 1959 he and his wife Jennie had established the Art Center there, utilizing the still-standing … [Read more...]
From July 8 through 22, 2017, music lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy a smörgåsbord of some of the world’s greatest music. Performances this year will include over two dozen concerts from blues to bluegrass, symphonies to opera, and jazz to Celtic and African. This year’s operatic offering will be the well-loved opera buffa, or comedic opera, Don Pasquale by Gaetano … [Read more...]
With the decline of the lumber industry, Mendocino fell on hard times. Then, in 1957, a local mansion that appears in the James Dean movie East of Eden burned down, and Bill Zacha acquired the grounds with a $500 deposit. With the help of friends, other artists and townspeople, by 1959 he and his wife Jennie had established the Art Center there, utilizing the still-standing … [Read more...]
For a memorable coastal golfing experience, try the award-winning regulation nine-hole golf course at Little River Inn. With three placements and dual greens on holes 7 and 9, you can play it like an 18-hole course. Tucked among the hills and redwoods, it comes complete with such unexpected challenges as stunning ocean views that vie for your attention, and deer, frogs, blue … [Read more...]
In July of 1850 the Frolic, a two-masted clipper ship bound for San Francisco from China, shipwrecked a little north of present-day Mendocino. A salvage crew was unable to recover the cargo, but did discover vast stands of old-growth redwood trees. A mill was built, and the village of Mendocino grew up around it. Perched on bluffs painted with wildflowers and overlooking the … [Read more...]
How would you like to be a marine mammal for an hour and a half, and explore the Mendocino coast’s incredibly rich and diverse sea caves? It’s easier than you might think. Hop aboard a sit-on-top ocean kayak, and take one of Kayak Mendocino’s professionally guided sea cave tours in Van Damme State Park. Here you will join harbor seals, sea otters, giant anemones, kelp and other … [Read more...]
In 1851 Jerome Ford made his way overland to the Mendocino headlands, looking for salvage from the shipwrecked Frolic, which had met its fate off nearby Pt. Cabrillo the previous spring. He found no booty — local Pomo indians had beaten him to it — but he did discover vast stands of coast redwoods instead, and soon partnered with an eastern entrepreneur to establish both the … [Read more...]
Since 1976 the Mendocino Theatre Company has produced over 200 plays at its intimate, 82-seat Helen Schoeni Theatre on the Mendocino Art Center Campus. Composed of a uniquely talented group of actors, directors, designers and theatre technicians, they have performed exciting, meaningful plays ranging from the classics to the cutting edge. In the process, they have strived to … [Read more...]
The annual migration of California gray whales takes them from their feeding grounds in the cold waters of the Bering Sea near Alaska to the warm waters off Baja California, Mexico, and back. Their young, called calves, are born in the protected lagoons of western Baja, and do not begin their trek northwards until they are about a month old. Unlike other whale species, … [Read more...]
Fantastic outdoor fun and delightful scenery await you at Van Damme State Park, where you can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing and abalone diving among other recreational activities. The park straddles Hwy 1 where Little River empties into a protected rocky bay that is very popular with divers and kayakers. The surf here is usually calm enough to allow launching boats and sea … [Read more...]
Established in 1972, Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too! is the Mendocino coast’s only full-service outdoor shop, providing rentals, sales and service of a wide selection of kayaks, canoes, outriggers, and bicycles year-round. They also offer professionally guided tours of Big River State Park, including the eight-mile Big River estuary. These river tours use unique redwood … [Read more...]
When visiting the town of Mendocino, take some time to see Mendocino Headlands State Park. The park surrounds the town on three sides with delightful expanses of land perched atop stunning bluffs. From there you can enjoy whale-watching in the winter, wildflowers in the spring, nesting seabirds in the summer and vivid color throughout autumn. Miles of trails wind along the … [Read more...]
This is a gem of a park, offering over a mile of ocean frontage with great beaches and tide pools, plus more than 10 miles of lush, forested hiking trails and plenty of horseback riding trails. You’ll find a beautiful picnic area perched on a cliff overlooking a dramatic cove; spacious, well-laid out campgrounds with bathrooms and hot showers; a 3-mile long paved bicycle trail; … [Read more...]
Northern California is famous throughout the world for towering redwood trees that grow to be hundreds of feet tall. There are other trees in the area, however, that cannot grow to a height of even 10 feet, or much thicker than an inch wide. To experience this Lilliputian and Brobdingnagian contrast for yourself, take a trip to Van Damme State Park’s Pygmy Forest, located off … [Read more...]
Nestled adjacent to Caspar Headlands State Reserve just north of Mendocino, this dramatic stretch of coast offers a beautiful beach with swimming, boating, fishing and other popular beach activities. From it you can enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean meeting the headlands’ rugged cliffs and coastal bluffs. If you happen to arrive between November and June, you might get … [Read more...]
The title of “State Reserve” in California is only given to areas of land that have outstanding or unusual natural or scenic value. Caspar Headlands State Reserve certainly lives up to this title. Located about 4 miles north of Mendocino off Hwy 1, this 3-acre reserve is located just south of the town of Caspar and sits atop one of California’s most strikingly beautiful coastal … [Read more...]
The Big River Unit of Mendocino Headlands State Park offers 7,400 wild acres for exploration. Acquired in 2002, it includes 1,500 acres of coastal estuary wetlands. You can swim, bike, canoe, jog, walk your dog (leashed) or hike along the beautiful Big River. The beaches along the river are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Big River’s lower 6 to 8 miles provide a wonderful … [Read more...]
It is likely that you will never experience anything quite like the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve’s Ecological Staircase. The “staircase” is a land formation that stretches for two and a half miles over five wave-cut terraces formed by glacier, sea and tectonic activity. Starting in the inter-tidal zone, it ascends through a series of areas that include prairie, pine forest … [Read more...]