Mendocino, California: A Favorite Town… The North Coast Series

A large, carved wooden duck that Peggy and I found gracing a wood-working shop on one of Mendocino's colorful streets.

A large, carved wooden duck that Peggy and I found gracing a wood-working shop on one of Mendocino’s colorful streets.

I’ve always been a fan of rugged, rocky coastlines. I’ve been fortunate in my life to live near the northern coast of California, which I define as starting down in Big Sur country and making its way up to the Oregon Coast. When I lived in Sacramento, summer escapes usually meant the Sierra’s, but winter escapes always meant the coast. Mainly I played along the 300-mile area of coast stretching between Monterrey/Carmel and Mendocino/Fort Brag on California’s beautiful, cliff-hanging Highway 1.

A view of the Mendocino Headlands, which host the town of Mendocino. The steep, rocky cliffs of Northern California, Oregon and Washington make up my favorite coast lines.

A view of the Mendocino Headlands, which host the town of Mendocino. The steep, rocky cliffs of Northern California, Oregon and Washington make up my favorite coast lines.

Now I live in Oregon, I’ve begun to explore the Oregon Coast. Over the years, I’ve also ventured along the Washington coast on occasion and made several trips to Canada’s Vancouver Island.

Last year, I wrote a number of blogs on both the California and Oregon coasts. I did a solo trip along the Oregon Coast while Peggy was off doing grandmother duty in Alaska and then a solo trip north from San Francisco while she was traveling to England with her sister, Jane.

This fall, my side-kick was with me on a couple quick trips: one visiting the town of Mendocino and then traveling north, following Highways 1 and 101 back to Southern Oregon. The second was over to Coos Bay, Oregon and Sunset Bay State Park. My next few blogs will cover these trips. Again, since Peggy and I are off in Connecticut and North Carolina visiting with our kids and grandkids for Christmas— plus making a side trip to Boston— these will be mainly photo blogs.

Mendocino is one of my favorite coastal communities. Founded as a logging town, it was discovered by artists in the 50s and 60s and today supports a thriving tourist industry. Through it all, it has maintained much of its original charm. Quaint buildings, lots of art, a great bookstore, and a magnificent coast all add to its ambience. If you would like to learn more about the town and see more photos, go here for the blog I wrote last year about the town.

Another view of the Mendocino Headlands, this one featuring a Monterey Pine.

Another view of the Mendocino Headlands, this one featuring a cyprus tree.

The Mendocino Headlands of Northern California.

Looking the other direction through the same cyprus.

A cliff from the Mendocino Headlands next to the town of Mendocino in Northern California.

Rocks, cliffs, and a pounding ocean: music to me on a dark stormy day.

We found these berries growing on the Headlands. T'is the season!

We found these berries growing on the Headlands. T’is the season!

The town of Mendocino, California as seen from the headlands on a rainy day.

Walking back toward the town from the Headlands, we caught this view of Mendocino. The town has done a superb job of maintaining its historic buildings.

Mendocino, California home.

I find the homes charming.

Pond reflection shot in the community of Mendocino on California's north coast.

This small, in-town pond provided a convenient reflection shot.

A landscaped walkway in the town of Mendocino, California.

Inviting walkways are found throughout Mendocino.

Woodworking shop in Mendocino, California.

This is the inside of the woodworking shop where we discovered the duck.

Early social media? Any idea what this is? It's an old fence that has seen service as a community message board for decades.

Any idea what this is? It’s an old fence that has seen service as a Mendocino message board for decades. You might say, it is a ‘staple’ of the community.

Veggies always add a little color on a cloudy day. Peggy and I found these in an old church that had converted to being a natural food store.

Speaking of staples, veggies always add a touch of  color on a cloudy day. Peggy and I found these in an old church that had converted to being a natural food store.

Mendocino, California rooster.

This rooster also added color, and character, to our day.

Not so colorful, but there is a story that goes along with this chicken wire Mendocino mouse. In my last blog about Mendocino, I had also included chicken wire sculptures. A person from Japan wrote to me and said he had also visited Mendocino, seen the sculptures in a shop, and wanted to know which shop it was so he could buy some. I was reminded of just how international blogging is...

Not so colorful, but there is a story that goes along with this chicken wire mouse. In my last blog about Mendocino, I had included a chicken wire cat from the same shop. A person from Japan wrote to me and said he had also visited Mendocino, seen the sculptures, and wanted to know which shop it was so he could buy some. I was reminded of just how international our blogging community is…

Tiki god in front of a house in Mendocino, California.

And finally, I’ll include this Tiki-like god sculpture we found protecting a house. Love the toothy grin. Or was I supposed to be frightened?

 

NEXT BLOG: A North Coast journey along California’s Highway 101.

22 comments on “Mendocino, California: A Favorite Town… The North Coast Series

  1. Mmmm, that wood shop, though. If I had a heated one, I’d be out there right now with a chisel and a jig. Could you add a link to the chicken wire cat post and mention the shop it came from? I’ve never seen that art before, it’s intriguing.

    Hope your east coast holiday jaunt is full of fabulous weather and amiable relatives in equal measure. And spiked eggnog, lots of spiked eggnog.

  2. Wish we could visit the Oregon Coast once a year — love those rocks, dashing waves. But Mendocino also looks inviting. Those colorful homes facing the sea would be where I’d like to stay. Any discounts for your readers?

    • Mendocino is one of my favorite coastal communities. You would enjoy the emphasis on art, Rusha. Discounts are few and far between, I’m afraid. 🙂 Once the artists discovered Mendocino, the tourists weren’t far behind. –Curt

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