Like I mentioned in my first post of this series, in September I visited all eight of California’s rural regions. I was surprised in the best ways by how much I enjoyed each place for its own merits. In visiting North Coast, there was the expectation that we’d see soaring Redwood trees and wild coastal scenes. We found both. We also found so much more!
I am so excited to be promoting California’s 8 rural regions for VisitCalifornia‘s #CaliforniaWild campaign with my fellow bloggers Ottsworld, Stuffed Suitcase and Border Free Travels. The ATTA is coordinating this effort and has given me freedom in how I share my experiences with you so that even though this is a paid project, I can assure you all opinions and words are my own.
Visiting North Coast – the Lowdown on the Redwoods
There’s no shortage of them!! However I didn’t know that they’re scattered throughout multiple parks which all together make one large park. This group of parks is known as Redwood National Park. There’s also Redwood State Park. Together they are managed jointly by the State of California and our National Park System. We began our day at Prairie Creek and eventually ended at Founder’s Grove.
Richard Stenger was our Humboldt County guide and he did an amazing job of helping us understand the ecosystem. I would need an entire blog post dedicated only to the Redwoods to share with you everything we learned. Now I know that they are so immense, they live in three climatic zones at once. The base of each tree is in one, the stem of the tree is in another and the crown is in the third. We also learned that there are Redwoods which have lived for over 1,000 years and that Redwood National and State Parks make up one UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are also a World Biosphere Reserve and home to the world’s tallest trees. The bottom line is that there is so much more than meets the eye.
Visiting North Coast – Picturesque Spots and Cute Towns
Crescent Beach and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The town of Trinidad is a great place to stop for lunch between stops to see the Redwoods. It has a lovely lighthouse which I show below.
Richard Strom was our guide for visits to Glass Beach, Point Cabrillo, the town of Mendocino and Point Arena. It was rushed to do all of them in one day but he kept us on task. The truth is that there isn’t a moment I would have wanted to cut out. If you’re visiting all of them, I’d recommend two days to give you enough time to see everything at a leisurely pace.
Book a tour of the Stornetta Public Lands with Margaret Lindgren of Unbeaten Path Tours. She is so passionate about this land which was recently protected by President Obama’s creation of the California Coastal National Monument. She’s so passionate that her fervor is contagious. You will walk away loving this rugged piece of coastline as much as she does.
Visiting North Coast – allllll the Lighthouses
Ok so four lighthouses isn’t really that many. But it felt like a lot and yet I loved each one so much I’d be sad to have missed even one of them. Who knew I liked lighthouses so much!
Battery Point Light is the perfect place to visit at sunset. Low tide makes it accessible to walk to across a strip of tumbled rock, driftwood and reflective tide pools.
Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse is not a working lighthouse anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s any less picturesque. It looks out over the bay from the center of town.
To visit Point Cabrillo, you have to take a long walk downhill from the parking lot. It’s worth the uphill climb on the way back! One day I’d like to return to stay overnight at one of the former caretaker cottages. They’re idyllic and adorable.
I have two words: Fresnel Lens! In addition to that treasure housed in the museum, Point Arena is the ideal spot to visit for Golden Hour. So close to sunset the fading light makes the lighthouse’s shadow stretch nearly into the ocean and you can see all the way to the Stornetta Public Lands if the weather is clear. And if it is, you might even be able to see grey whales breaching off shore. We did! Point Arena is the tallest lighthouse on the Coast and the closest piece of land to the Hawaiian Islands in the Continental U.S.
Visiting North Coast – Where to Stay
Requa Inn had, for breakfast, the best cinnamon rolls in California if not the whole world. They were in fact the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. They tasted like a croissant and a donut and a cinnamon roll all got married and had one baby. TO DIE FOR. The Inn itself is evidence of why so many people love Bed and Breakfast properties. Every detail thought of and nothing superflous.
The Tallman Hotel is one of only two luxury property we were able to visit during this trip through California’s eight rural regions. I can’t recommend it highly enough! The onsite restaurant, Blue Wing Saloon, is superb. So is the garden with its firepits, rocking chairs and twinkle lights in the trees. We ate dinner on the porch and the atmosphere was like something from a movie.
At Mar Vista Cottages, we were greeted by owners Tom and Renata with a gourmet dinner party. Cooked by a local chef with ingredients sourced mere miles from where we dined, or in the garden next to where we sat, the spread was an absolute feast. Among the guests was local legend & Public Radio DJ, Peggy Berryhill. I was a DJ in high school and college so I was freaking out a bit. She’s truly famous in the world of public radio! The next morning we woke up to a basket of eggs hanging outside the door of our cottage. We were told to source anything we wanted from the garden to mix into our own omelettes and coffee was provided in our cottage kitchens. The chance to cook my own breakfast with such fresh ingredients was a sublime treat that I still think about daily.
Future posts in this series will cover the remaining five of California’s eight rural regions referenced in the map below. Please let me know in the comments what you enjoyed most about this region or what you’re most looking forward to learning next!
My thanks to GoPro for the gifted Hero 5 Black that I took several of the Redwood tree photos with. Its wide angle is about the only thing that can adequately communicate the incredible height of the trees!