We checked out of the fantastic Point Reyes Seashore Lodge and started driving north along highway 1 or Pacific Coastal Highway (PCH). The road hugs the coastline and the views are amazing!
Today we decided not to stop for lunch so had nachos and salsa, which was great.
The coastal drive was full of twists and turns which made the driving very fun, reminded me of roads in the English countryside. All I was missing was a sports car, nevertheless I made good speed and others had to let me pass…..small things make me so proud!
We passed through some quaint towns with populations anywhere from 30 to 1700 residents.
The towns seemed to be from a different era, with very old post offices and village halls.
The towns we passed were as follows:
(Some general info on the places, boring to some but the pictures are great!!):
The Village of Tomales,is not incorporated, a small well defined historic settlement, is located in the California coastal Zone of Northwest Marin County along scenic Highway One. Tomales is surrounded by beautiful coastal agricultural countryside. There are approximately 95 homes in our low to moderate income area.Tomales’ 250 plus residents comprise a mix of third generation ranching families of Irish, Swiss and Italian descent, and a diverse group of new families attracted to the quieter pace, family-oriented values that Tomales offers. Tomales is now the only Community in Marin County and along the former North Pacific Railroad that has retained its turn of the century rural community integrity. You will discover single story Queen Anne Cottages, Greek Revival cottages and farmhouses, shingle style cottages and some turn of the century bungalows.
Valley Ford is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in western Sonoma County, California, United States. It is located on State Route 1 in an area of rolling hills about 75 minutes north of San Francisco by automobile. Like all of Sonoma County, Valley Ford is included in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Redwood Empire.
The village lies just north of the Estero Americano, about 5 mi (8 km) from the Pacific Ocean. It is 7 mi (11 km) north of Dillon Beach, 9 mi (14 km) east of the town of Bodega Bay and 20 mi (32 km) southeast of Jenner. The Estero Americano is protected by the Estero Americano State Marine Recreational Management Area. Like an underwater park, this marine protected area helps conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
Bodega Bay is a town and census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States. The population was 1,077 at the 2010 census. The town is on the eastern side of Bodega Harbor, an inlet of Bodega Bay on the Pacific coast.
Bodega Bay is the site of the first Russian structures built in California. These were built in 1809 by Commerce Counseller Ivan Alexandrovich Kuskov, of the Russian-American Company in the lead up to the establishment of Fort Ross. For the Russians, the settlement in Bodega Bay was called Port Rumyantsev, named after the Russian Foreign Minister Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev, and it served as a port to support Fort Ross and the larger Russian community known as Colony Ross.
The location scenes in Alfred Hitchcock-directed film, The Birds (1963), were filmed in Bodega Bay. The town markets itself with the film in many ways, including its Birds-themed Visitors’ Center. The location was also featured in the cult horror movie Puppet Master (1989).
Sonoma coast state beach:
The names alone are intriguing: Blind Beach and Schoolhouse Beach, Arched Rock and Goat Rock, Penny Island and Bodega Head.
These colorfully named locales are some of the highlights of Sonoma Coast State Beach, thirteen miles of coastline stretching from the Russian River to Bodega Bay.
Sonoma Coast State Beach is not one beach, but many. You could easily overlook them, because most aren’t visible from Highway 1. The beaches are tucked away in rocky coves, and hidden by tall bluffs.
Sonoma Coast Trail is a pretty blufftop route that connects some of these secret beaches. During spring, wildﬂowers brighten the bluff: blue lupine, Indian paintbrush and sea ﬁg.
Sonoma Coast Trail begins on the bluffs above Blind Beach, but the walker can also begin at Goat Rock, located a half mile north of the trail-head. The rock is connected to the mainland by a causeway. During the 1920s, Goat Rock was quarried, and used to build a jetty at the mouth of the Russian River.
A mile north of the trailhead, and 0.5 mile north of Goat Rock is the mouth of the Russian River. The 110 mile-long river is one of the largest on the North Coast. At the river mouth, you can observe ospreys nesting in the treetops. The California brown pelican is one of several species of birds that breed and nest on Penny Island, located in the river mouth.
Directions to trailhead: From Highway 1, ten miles north of the town of Bodega Bay, turn west on Goat Rock Road. Signed Sonoma Coast Trail begins at a small parking lot on the left of the road. If you’d like to begin this walk at Goat Rock, continue to road’s end at a large parking area.
The hike: Sonoma Coast Trail heads south along the edge of the bluffs. Soon, you’ll step over a stile and head across a pasture. The trail climbs to a saddle on the shoulder of Peaked Hill (elevation 376 feet).
You then descend to the ﬂat blufftops, and cross a bridge over a fern-lined ravine. It’s a pastoral scene with grassy bluffs and a weathered old barn in the distance.
After crossing another ravine, the path reaches the Shell Beach parking area. A short trail descends the bluffs to Shell Beach. Another trail extends northwest, crosses the highway, and reaches redwood-shaded Pomo Canyon. Picnic tables and walk-in (environmental) campsites are located near the creek.
Sonoma Coast Trail continues south, detouring inland around a private home, then doubling back seaward. The trail plunges into Furlong Gulch, then switchbacks back up to the bluffs. You can follow the trail or the beach to Wright’s Beach Campground.
Jenner is a small coastal town and census-designated place (CDP) with a population of about 136 in Sonoma County, California, U.S. It is located on the Pacific coast near the mouth of the Russian River. State Route 1 runs through the town and State Route 116 runs nearby, along the Russian River. Immediately south of Jenner is Goat Rock Beach, a unit within the Sonoma Coast State Beach.
Fort Ross (Russian: Форт-Росс), originally Fortress Ross (Крѣпость Россъ, r Krepostʹ Ross’) is a former Russian establishment on the west coast of North America in what is now Sonoma County, California, in the United States. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America between 1812 to 1842. It has been the subject of archaeological investigation and is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. It is part of California’s Fort Ross State Historic Park.
Fort Ross is a landmark in the history of European imperialism. The Spanish expansion went west across the Atlantic Ocean and the Russian expansion went east across Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. In the early nineteenth century, the two waves of expansion met on the opposite side of the world along the Pacific Coast of California, with Russia arriving from the north and Spain from the south. The United States of America arrived in 1846 from the east.
Salt point park:
Rocky promontories, panoramic views, kelp-dotted coves, and the dramatic sounds of pounding surf; open grasslands, forested hills, pristine prairies, and pygmy forests- you can experience all of these coastal wonders within the Salt Point State Park. With 20 miles of hiking trails, over six miles of rugged coastline, and an underwater park, you can enjoy a variety of picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, skin and SCUBA diving, and camping. The weather can be changeable along the rugged Northern California Coast. Even summertime can be cool as fog hugs the coastline and ocean winds chill the air. We recommend layered clothing for your visit.
Sandstone and Tafoni
Ever wonder where the streets of San Francisco came from? Sandstone from Salt Point was used in the construction of San Francisco’s streets and buildings during the mid 1800’s. If you look closely at the rocks at Gerstle Cove, you can still see eyebolts where the ships anchored while sandstone slabs were loaded onboard. Quarried rocks can still be seen scattered along the marine terrace north of Gerstle Cove. Look for the drill holes along the edges of the rocks that were used to separate the large rocks into smaller slabs.
Tafoni is the Italian word for cavern. It is a natural phenomenon that is common along the sandstone near the ocean’s edge at Gerstle Cove and Fisk Mill. Look for a honeycomb type network carved into the rocks forming pits, knobs, ribs, and ridges. For more information on the geology of Salt Point click on link to the left.
Gualala pronounced Wah La La!! (formerly, Guadala, Walhalla, and Wallala) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County in the U.S. state of California. It is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Hopland, at an elevation of 49 feet (15 m). It is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Gualala River, on State Route 1. It serves as a commercial center for the surrounding area. Gualala was once a logging town, but tourism is now its central economic activity.
This town is in the banana belt where there is an unusual high amount of sunshine. We stopped here for a coffee at a fantastic cafe called Trinks, 39140 S. Hwy 1, PO Box 706, Gualala, CA 95445. tel +1 707 884 1713, www.trinkscafe.com
Anchor Bay (formerly, Anchor Bay Settlement) is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of Gualala, at an elevation of 105 feet (32 m). The population was 340 at the 2010 census.
Point Arena (formerly, Punta Arenas and Puntas Arenas) is a small coastal city in Mendocino County, California, United States. Point Arena is located 31 miles (50 km) west of Hopland, at an elevation of 118 feet (36 m). The population was 449 at the 2010 census, down from 474 at the 2000 census, making it one of the smallest incorporated cities in the state. Its main street comprises part of State Route 1, California’s coastal artery. Along with a number of other Mendocino County coastal communities, Point Arena is associated with the hippie and subsequent counterculture groups. Its reported economy is largely geared toward servicing the summertime tourist industry. The City is near the headquarters of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria.
Manchester is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Point Arena, at an elevation of 85 feet (26 m). The population was 195 at the 2010 census.
Really nice manicured trees
Elk (formerly, Greenwood and Elk River) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California. It is located 22 miles (35 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 135 feet (41 m).
Elk has a population of 208. It is located on the coast at the crossroads of State Route 1 and Philo-Greenwood Road. Albion, Little River, and Mendocino lie to the north, and Manchester and Point Arena to the south. Inland are Navarro, Philo, and Boonville.
Albion is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located 15 miles (24 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 174 feet (53 m). Albion had a population of 168 at the 2010 census.
Little River (also known as Littleriver, Bells Harbor, and Kents Landing) is a small census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It lies at an elevation of 66 feet (20 m). It is located two miles (3 km) south of the town of Mendocino and running along the Pacific Ocean coast on State Route 1. The town is home to several hundred people and takes its name from nearby Little River. The town center sits on a scenic bluff overlooking the mouth of Little River and hosts a grocery store, two gas pumps, a post office, and a restaurant within a single structure. The population was 117 at the 2010 census.
Mendocino (formerly, Big River, Meiggstown, and Mendocino City is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Mendocino is located 9.5 miles (15 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 154 feet (47 m). The population was 894 at the 2010 census, up from 824 at the 2000 census. The town’s name comes from Cape Mendocino, named by early Spanish navigators in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain.
Despite its small size, the town’s scenic location on a headland surrounded by the Pacific Ocean has made it extremely popular as an artist colony and with vacationers.
In Mendocino we checked into the Headlands Inn a very friendly family run bed and breakfast. The room we are in has a nice log fire.
Bed and breakfast
Corner of Howard and Albion streets
PO Box 132
Tel: +1 707 937 4431
A distinctive Bed and Breakfast in the heart of picturesque, coastal Mendocino village. Casual elegance awaits you at this historic New England-style Victorian saltbox, where personalized service, charming accommodations, and tantalizing breakfasts ensure a perfect getaway. Ideally located, the Inn is only a short stroll to Mendocino’s unique shops, fine galleries, superb restaurants, and the mighty Pacific Ocean.
They deliver breakfast to your room, a very nice touch!
After settling in we went to eat at a fantastic vegan restaurant called Raven’s.
Sangeet had the the burger with gluten free bread. I had Raven’s Portobello Reuben. All dishes are vegan and there are plenty of gluten free options. The restaurant is pricey but worth every cent!