This Christmas break, my fiance and I took it easy and did a mini road trip from San Francisco to Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. A few of my co-workers had gone a while back and their pictures looked breathtaking, so of course I had to check it out for myself. It took us about 3.5-4 hours to get to Fort Bragg, where we stayed at the Motel 6 on Main street for about 50 bucks a night ( we fancy huh?). It was actually REALLY clean, which I did not expect considering it was a motel.
On our way up we did some shopping at the Petaluma Village Premium Outlets. The outlet mall is really small, but it has a few great stores like Banana Republic, Nike, and Saks Off 5th. After all that shopping I had worked up a appetite. We went to Cucino Paradiso for some tasty Italian food. The restaurant is rated a 27 out of 30 on Zagat! It definitely lived up to its rating too. I had gnocchi with a gorgonzola and walnut sauce, while my fiance had the butternut squash soup with spinach filled ravioli. The gnocchi were like little yummy pillows of goodness! The ravioli was made with homemade pasta and it made all the difference. The filling with super good, and it was all topped with the perfect amount of marinara sauce. The meal was about $40 for two, which is not bad compared to SF prices for meals. After filling our bellies to the brim, we continued onto Fort Bragg and arrived to our destination at about 10:30 at night.
The next day we set off for Mendocino Botanical Garden (entrance fee $14.00). Overall it was pretty empty, a lot of the plants were dead because of the winter, so I didn’t think the price was worth it for me. I’m sure it would great in the summer though. There are a few trails that take you towards the ocean were you can watch the sea blend into the sky on top of some bluffs. The trails were pretty well paved and seem easily accessible for those who are disabled.
We then went out for breakfast at Eggheads in downtown Fort Bragg. It has a Wizard of Oz theme which is apparent in their menu and decor. I had the Kansas Grains Belgian Waffles and they were exactly what I needed in my life. It’s what I call happy food- it just puts a smile on your face when you eat it regardless of what is going on around you.
Afterwards we went to Glass Beach due to a recommendation from a friend. A long time ago there was a garbage dump upshore from the location. All the glass bottles and trash were broken down and smoothed out by the ocean and deposited onto the beach. The entire beach is littered with sea glass sand and various other pieces of trash embedded into the rock face ( like TONS of spark plugs) . There are tide pools that are filled with fish, snails, chitin, sea anemone, mussels, hermit crabs and much more! It’s crazy how resilient the animals are to the garbage and human trash in the area. It would be a great place to take kids and let them be hands on with nature and allow them explore on their own. We spent about 2 hours here searching and taking pictures of little sea creatures.
We ended out day by going to Point Cabrillo Light Station a few miles south of Fort Bragg. It was built in 1909 and is the perfect location to see the sunset. We were SUPER lucky and got to see a few whales making their way down south. I would stare out at the sea and every once in a while you would see a spout or a tail in the air. I even was quick enough to snap a few shots! We spent an hour watching the whales and the sea and headed back to the motel.
The next day we left at around noon and took Route 1 along the coast back to San Francisco. There are tons of beaches and view points along the way for you to stop at and admire the ocean. It took us about 5 hours to get because the rainy weather and windy roads. . I’m sure on a good day it would take about 4 hour. Overall it was a nice trip for me once again get to meet my new home state and view California in a new light.