If you like tooling around on a low-key bike, nothing could be more relaxing than renting a “beach cruiser” and enjoying the scenery in slow-mo. On the south end of town, guests at Emerald Dolphin Inn (where you can also play miniature golf) can rent bikes from kids’ sizes up—helmet, tire pump, and security chain included. Might be a good way to enjoy the new Coastal Trail, or maybe meander into town on the bike and take in the sights.
With the gorgeous Indian Summer weather we’ve been enjoying, you might want to stop on Main Street for an ice-cream cone at Cowlicks. They have a yummy flavor selection including Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk, Ginger, two kinds of mint: Peppermint and Mint Chocolate Chip, even Mushroom ice cream, made from candy cap mushrooms, so it’s sweet and surprisingly delicious. Next door, you can grab a hot dog at Relish—the “house dog” is Casper’s gluten-free. Menu includes chili cheese dogs, the “El Completo” (with avocado and pico de gallo), the Rueben Dog, the Chicago Dog, the Applegate Organic Turkey Dog, Roundman’s local polish sausage, and really good French fries! Across the street you’ll find Zappa’s Coffee Shop/The Mendocino Cookie Company, with lots of great cookies like the Backpacker, Double Brownie Fudge, and Gluten-Free Cinnamon along with scones, muffins, biscotti and plenty of hot coffee drinks, tea, and chai. It’s almost time for their October special Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie, too—a local favorite. If you love their cookies, you can always ship some home!
Back to the bikes
Fort Bragg and environs are a great place for biking, whether you want to simply enjoy the scenery along the beach or do some serious trail riding. There are abundant coastal trails for miles of scenic enjoyment all along the headlands.
At the family-owned Beachcomber Motel and Spa right on the beach north of town, you can rent beach cruisers even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, and ride all the way up to MacKerricher State Park on the old Haul Road, or across the Pudding Creek Trestle and over to Noyo Headlands Park.
If you want a bike with gears, Fort Bragg Cyclery is in The Company Store, (same building as Zappos), and Mark will rent you a snazzy Specialized Expedition model, a comfort bike with a mattress saddle. You’ll drool over the bikes and gear in his shop, and he’s quite the expert—it’s in his blood. His French Papi (grandfather), was a bicyclist in the Tour de France, and he has some gorgeous sepia photos to prove it.
He and his wife Tina are real bike aficionados. When I stopped in his shop, he was working on wooden frames for an antique bike, and demonstrated how early Tour de France racers had to wear two deflated rubber tires across their chests in case of a blowout. Call ahead if you’re interested, as rental stock is limited. Of course, you may decide to purchase one of the gorgeous bikes he has in stock. The shop carries road, mountain, kids, and commuter bikes as well as great apparel and accessories. It is also a full service bike shop if you’re traveling through on your own bike and need a repair.
If you want a totally different sort of adventure, North Coast “Ninebot” Segway tours are radio guided and include information about nature, the environment, and fascinating historical details about Fort Bragg. Tour begins along the Pacific with wildlife sightings and continues into the neighborhoods of Fort Bragg, with hidden gems like Otis R. Johnson Park, and a visit to the C.V. Starr Aquatic Center, a gathering place for the entire community.
If you’d like to simply walk our town, you can join expert docents at the Guest House Museum for a two hour walking tour every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. You’ll stroll past early pioneer homes, historic meeting places, and buildings that have been selected as part of the National Historic District. Self-guided tours are also available during museum hours. Did we mention running on the beach with your dog? No matter how you decide to get around, our little town of Fort Bragg is a great place to visit.