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Anna Marie

Fort Bragg-a remote retreat on the Mendocino Coast

A woman sipping coffee outside
Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

A guest post by Michael Hepworth

Fort Bragg is a quiet Northern California coastal town off the Mendocino coast, and

part of the fun is getting there since this is quite a remote destination. We flew in to

San Francisco and then drove north on Highway 101 to Highway 128 West all the way

to the coast before heading up Highway 1 to Mendocino Village and then Fort Bragg.


Mendocino County gets up to 1.8 million visitors a year thanks to its 80 miles of

Pacific coastline, 85 wineries, 23 state/national parklands and over 500 diverse

accommodations. Nearest airport is Sonoma County Airport aka Charles M.Schulz.


The village of Mendocino is rather special,and one of the top bed and breakfast places

to stay is Hotel Alegria, a small six room inn that makes you feel right at home. An

organic breakfast is served inn the small lobby area, everything home made by the

proprietor. The rooms are exceptionally well appointed with a lot of thought going

into the small details including make up remover towelettes..


Dining options seemed quite interesting as we arrived on an atmospheric wet and

cold night with two newcomers t o the dining scene, Flow and Trillium. Flow has

been open 6 months and is primarily an upstairs bar that serves small plates from

2pm until closing. Tried the Sausage and Mushroom Pizza ($12) and loved it, so

I have to assume that the other pizzas, soups and salads on the menu are equally


Trillium has been only open 3 months and is already doing good business. The

space is not new as a restaurant, but the new owner Sandra McElroy is a former server in the

village for 16 years who has mortgaged her immediate future to make a go of it. The idyllic

setting overlooks the rugged Mendocino coastline, and you can see and smell the vegetable

and herb garden from the patio area of the restaurant.

Chef in charge is Jeremy Baumgartner who learned his skills in Pittsburgh. He has found a good

spot here and has a few signature dishes such as Seared Rabbit w/Bolognese sauce and Crab

Strudel. The Pork Schnitzel Reuben I tried was a substantial lunch and the local fish favorite

Rock Cod caught locally was perfect for a casual Friday lunchtime. Also make sure you try the

local Black Oak Coffee from Ukiah.


Fort Bragg is more of a blue collar town than Mendocino, with tourism the main

industry. There is only one building left standing from the original fort dating back

to 1870 and I had been yearning to visit the place ever since reading an article in

the Los Angeles Times. The hotel we stayed at is called the Beach House Hotel,

and although it is nothing fancy it was very clean, quiet and access in and out very

easy. Staff are very helpful and I would stay there again on my next visit. There is a

view from most rooms of the hotel of the estuary, with the hotel being no more than

a couple of hundred yards from the beach.


The food options in Fort Bragg are limited however, with Mendo Bistro on Main St probably

the best option in town. Owner/chef is Nicholas Petti has ran the restaurant since 1999 and

they specialize in the ‘Choice Menu,’ where you choose your ingredient, select how you want it

cooked and then choose the sauce. All meat is served hormone and anti–biotic free and is

purchased from local organic farmers. This night we selected

the Yellowtail-Jack fish and Niman Ranch Leg of Lamb served with caramelized

fennel, wheat berries and Bok-Choi vegetables.


The Skunk Train is a ‘must do’ when in Fort Bragg, a 42 mile round trip into the redwood forest

at a speed of about 12 miles an hour. Now I must make it clear that

the redwoods you see are not the giant kind, as those can be found farther north

in Humboldt County. They stop for a barbecue lunch at Northspur in the forest so

that the train can turn around.


The train itself consists of three carriages plus an observation car which is a lot of

fun since the track itself is standard gauge, leaving little room for the train to meander

through the runnels and trestle bridges on the route. They even have a train musician

on board who takes requests (, and since he knew the Elvis classic

‘Mystery Train’ and played it very well, it made the journey even more fun. There are also

overnight trips where you can spend a night in an old logging location called Camp Noyo that

has 7 campsites with multiple tents. You can only get there by train and if you want to stay

longer then the camp will deliver groceries.

Fort Bragg as well as Mendocino are also fast becoming a haven for artists and sculptors,

especially those who specialize in landscapes such as Erin Durtner and Olaf Palm. For more

information about all the art activities in the region please go to


Wine enthusiasts will want to spend a few days in the area around Philo, Ukiah and

Redwood Valley to visit many of the wineries around. Unfortunately for me, time restrictions

this time around prevailed, so that will be in a future article. Some of these such as Husch

Vineyards and Black Kite Cellars are in the Hendy Woods State Park.

For more information about the world of wine visit


Fort Bragg has a famous beach called ‘Glass Beach’ that is made up entirely from

glass and bottles that have been recycled. Any of the beaches in Fort Bragg are

what you might call fairly windswept, but if you are looking for atmosphere and

a certain degree of solitude you will love it. There are plenty of options for outdoor

enthusiasts with an exceptional botanical gardens, plenty of biking and canoeing

options and a host of things for families to do without breaking the bank.

Kerrick-James-SeaArchSunset Michael Hepworth is originally from the U.K. and lives in California. He blogs extensively about restaurants and travel.  For more of Michael’s travel experiences visit his website PerfectTravelToday.

Thanks for sharing this with your friends.  As always, Happy Travels!

Hotel Alegria- 44781 Main st, Mendocino


Beach House Hotel-100 Pudding Creek Rd, Fort Bragg


Trillium-10390 Kasten St, Mendocino


Flow-Main St, Mendocino

Mendo Bistro-301 N.Main St, Fort Bragg   707-964-4974

Mendocino Botanical Gardens-18220 California 1, Fort Bragg.


Catch a Canoe and Bicycles Too-15 Big River Rd, Mendocino


Skunk   707-964-6371

Tickets $54.     Children 2-12 $ 3


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