The Fort Bragg area retains a seafaring
ambience. Noyo Harbor is south of town, at the
mouth of the Noyo River -- a fishing village with charter
fishing boats, and good eating while you're looking at
the busy fishing fleet. There are places to stay along
the highway strip (mostly chain motels) and also in Noyo
Harbor. Several B&Bs have been opened, providing
On the drive between Mendocino and Fort
Bragg, the Jug Handle State Reserve is a must for
people with a geological interest. The reserve protects a
giant staircase with five terraces leading from the sea
-- at 100-foot intervals -- each 100,000 years older than
the one below. There are Bishop and Monterey pine, Sitka
spruce and western hemlock on the terraces. The round
trip on the "staircase" takes three to four hours.
The Mendocino Coast Botanical
Gardens feature year-round displays of rhododendrons,
azaleas, hydrangeas, heather, daisies and ferns in a
wooded setting. Picnicking is available on the expansive
meadows overlooking the ocean and in the fern canyons.
The most popular long-time attraction here
has been the Skunk Train, providing rides through a
scenic section of forests between Fort Bragg and Willits.
The train, which ran from Fort Bragg to Willits, through
the redwoods, is in bankruptcy abut has been rescued at
least for this year (2003) by the town and a Fort Bragg
In 1885, lumber magnate C.R. Johnston built
a railway line from the settlement to Willits, 40 miles
to the east. Steam engines pulled the logging trains in
1904 and in 1925, passenger service was extended to
Willits using gas-powered "Skunk" (smelly) railcars. The
line now uses historic diesel and steam logging
locomotives with open observation cars (and sometimes
single, self-propelled trolleys) on half of the historic
route -- as far as Northspur. For information phone
707-964-6371. or go to the train's web
Where to Eat
Silvers at the Wharf (32260 North Harbor Dr.)
has a great view, with seafood, chowder and beef
sandwiches. You can dine inside, or on the outdoor deck.
It's located in Noyo Harbor, and serves seafood brought
to the restaurant by its own fishing boat, as well as
other local boats.
Headlands Coffeehouse (120 East
Laurel St.) serves three meals a day. There's lots of
different kinds of coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and
For a brewpub experience, try the North
Coast Brewing Company, 455 North Main Street, in Fort Bragg.
The restauarant is open for dinner from 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sunday. The bar opens at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant and serves up seafood,
grilled meat and pasta, in addition to regular pub fare
If you're interested in fine dining, make a
reservation at theD'aurelio's Restaurant, 438 South Franklin Street. It considered locally to be the top Italian food north of San Francisco. Pizza and classic Italian dishes are specialties, and its very suitable for family dining.
It's open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday at 5:30
p.m. Reservations: (707) 964-8142.