Sometimes when visitors come to Fort Bragg, they want to have the best possible weather, and look upon rain as an impediment to enjoying our beautiful coast. For locals, it’s often quite the contrary. We love our summer and Indian summer weather, but when the rain starts it warms the cockles of our hearts. After months of seeing the grass look brown and our plants look droopy, the grass begins to green again, and the plants turn up happy faces to the rain as the water soaks into our sandy soil that doesn’t hold moisture all that well during the dry season. We rustle the teapot out of our cupboard and start enjoying the warm comforting aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint, or the bracing pick-me-up of Earl Gray or smoky Lapsang Souchong.
A warming beverage is one of the keys to enjoying the rainy season in Fort Bragg.
There are some great coffee shops in the area too. Headlands is a Fort Bragg tradition, and one of the friendliest places to grab a cup and a snack during a rainy day. Our newest addition is Mara’s Coffee House next to the Botanical Gardens. They offer breakfast and lunch choices, and even serve hamburgers and other fare on First Friday evenings. The Mendocino Cookie Company is a good local choice for organic coffees, too, and A-Frame Espresso next to local bar-b-que joint The Q is a drive through coffee place that locals swear by and tourists adore. If you’re looking for the ubiquitously familiar, Starbucks is here in town, too.
The energy of the place starts to feel calm and soothing as the pace slows down. It’s getting darker earlier in the evenings, of course, and we’re feeling the pull of nights and longer dream time. It’s a place to take time to remember your dreams.
We have tourists who call us and say they don’t mind rainy weather at all, and plan to book lodging with a fireplace and watch the waves roll in. The good thing about living in a coastal area is that even in rainy weather, there are usually a few sun breaks where the clouds peek out and everything looks fresh and sparkly after the rain.
The Guest House Museum right on Main Street is a warm place to learn about all the cool things that have happened here in Fort Bragg over the decades. My son and I spent a rainy afternoon in there one day, and came away feeling like we learned a lot. The docent/volunteer who showed us the ropes was in her 80s and knew a lot about the history of this town. Authentic, that’s the word I thought of about that particular museum experience.
Grey Whale Inn Haunted Tour
One of the newest things to do on a rainy day is to go on the Grey Whale Inn Haunted Tour Thursdays through Sundays through Halloween (next Tuesday!) Grey Whale Inn began as the Bragg Hospital in 1915, and many local residents were born there. Now it’s a bed and breakfast with common areas, a library, a garden, a game room, and a fireside lounge right in the center of town. Rumors are it’s haunted. You never know til you try it!
Triangle Tattoo and Museum is actually a world famous place, with vintage artifacts and photos to guide you through the significant moments in this unique art form. Cultures throughout history have revered the tattoo, and examples of Native American, South Seas, Maori, Japanese, European, and American tattoos paint a colorful history of this unique yet growing element of society. Mr. G and Madame Chinchilla are fascinating people who are devoted to their craft and revel in sharing tattoo love and lore with visitors.
Watch a Movie Made on the Mendocino Coast
Curling up with a good book or watching a movie during the stormy times of the day is a relaxing way to notice that you’re really on vacation, too. It’s a good time to forget about the cares of the big city, fluff up your pillows and enjoy the quiet times. Lots of films have been made on the Mendocino coast, too. Coast Cinemas is a four plex with current movies, our local Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce carries a book about all of the movies made here, Figueridos rents them, and of course Netflix has a lot of them for streaming from your hotel room.
But fear not, the clouds are bound to part for at least some of your time here and you can go for a walk on beach or trail, under a canopy of redwoods, or simply stroll around town and do a little shopping, pop into a couple of art galleries, grab a bite to eat, a glass of wine, catch some live music, or scan the paper for local events that look like fun.
Trust us locals….the rainy season is one of the best times to be in Fort Bragg!