Archive for the ‘Skunk Train’ Category

Valentine’s Weekend in Fort Bragg

Posted on: February 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm by Julia Conway
Glass Beach

Additional Glass Beach coves


Searching for a romantic getaway for the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend?  Look no farther than beautiful and historic Fort Bragg, on the spectacular Mendocino coast!  The weather forecast for the weekend calls for sunny skies, calm winds and mild temperatures, with the added excitement of some big winter surf.  You can choose a romantic room at one of our unique and charming B&B’s or book an ocean view room at one of our seaside motels.  Many of the local properties have special mid-winter packages or Valentine’s getaway specials, so don’t forget to ask when you book your reservation.

Spend the day walking the new Coastal Trail and explore the once forbidden southern coves of the Glass Beach complex, now accessible from the new trail and park.  The California gray whale migration is at its peak, and you can often spot the spouts and tails from the bluff top trail.  The new trail was opened just last month, and is available for walking, biking and boarding, and is wheelchair accessible from the new parking lot at the west end of Elm Street.

If you are looking for a more exciting activity, you can book a whale watching cruise in Noyo Harbor, rent kayaks at Liquid Fusion and explore the Noyo River or coastal rocks, or you can ride mountain bikes on the many logging roads in Jackson Demonstration State Forest.  The pool at the C. V. Starr Community and Aquatic Center is open, or you can explore the redwoods at Otis Johnson Wilderness Park.  The Skunk Train runs short half-day trips out to Northspur station leaving at 10:00A on both Saturday and Sunday.

Shopping is always fun in historic downtown Fort Bragg.  Check out the one-of-a-kind shops on Main, Laurel, Franklin and Redwood streets, or wander through the Union Lumber Company Store mall or the Depot mall.  Enjoy breakfast with the locals at the Laurel Deli, or the ultra-healthy salads and soups at the Living Light Culinary Institute’s Cafe.  Happy hour at Barbelow can be a fun way to wrap up a day of wandering around downtown visiting the shops and galleries.

Many of our local restaurants will have special Valentine’s menus, but call ahead, as some may require reservations.  Or, if you just want to sit and watch the waves, pick up a fresh Dungeness crab at Harvest Market or down in Noyo Harbor, a loaf of Fort Bragg Bakery’s crusty bread and a bottle of Mendocino County’s award-winning sparkling wines and have a picnic on the beach or in your room.

For those of you who have President’s Day off and can enjoy the three-day weekend, book an extra night!  The beaches are almost always deserted on Mondays, and you can sit and watch the waves undisturbed.  Take a drive up the coast to Ten Mile Beach and the Ingelnook Fen dunes, and you can walk for hours and see nothing but the sea, the sky, the sea lions and the birds.  If it is a really clear day, you can see all the way out to the King Range and the tip of Cape Mendocino, at the farthest west point of the Lost Coast.  A best-kept local secret are the margaritas at the Purple Rose restaurant in Cleone; a perfect way to finish another great weekend in Fort Bragg!

Coastal Trail and Glass Beach Open

Posted on: February 4, 2015 at 10:43 am by Julia Conway
Noyo Headlands Trail

Coastal Trail now open


The City of Fort Bragg celebrated the soft opening of the Noyo Headlands Park and the Coastal Trail (Phase 1), reopening access to Glass Beach after several months of limited use.  The new trail is accessible from the parking area at the end of Elm Street, and is available for walking, skating, biking and on-leash pets.


New trail

The new trail just prior to the opening


While the areas immediately adjacent to the new trail are still restricted, you can walk all the way from the Pudding Creek trestle to Otsuchi Point, overlooking Soldier Bay.  Habitat restoration is still being completed on the sensitive bluff tops, so visitors should remain on the paved sections of the trail until otherwise indicated.


Glass Beach

Additional Glass Beach coves


The trail also provides access to the northernmost coves of the Glass Beach complex, previously only accessible via kayak or at very low tides.  Visitors are cautioned to remain on the trail, and to navigate the beach steps carefully, as the recent construction has not had adequate time to settle.  Additional safety features, such as handrails, will be installed as the build-out of trail amenities continues.


Mill story

Interpretive panels tell the story of the mill


Visitors can also enjoy the new interpretive panels that tell the history of the mill site and of Fort Bragg’s logging past.  The mill site owners still retain a large portion of the land east of the trail, which is undergoing environmental remediation required prior to sale or development.  Please do not trespass or enter fenced-in areas.

For a video tour of the new Coastal Trail (thanks to Mendocino TV), click HERE.

Plans continue for Phase II of the project, which will link Phase I with the Pomo Bluffs access and park at the south end of Fort Bragg.  For more information, check the progress on the City website HERE.

Photos courtesy of KOZT-The Coast and the City of Fort Bragg.

Hometown Holiday Celebration Continues

Posted on: December 8, 2014 at 10:26 am by Julia Conway
Festival of Lights

Holiday lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Our Hometown Holiday celebrations may peak with the visit from Santa Claus, the Tree Lighting and the Holiday Lights Parade, but the festivities go on throughout the month of December!  Trade your big city malls for the small town warmth of our historic downtown and experience Christmas coastal style.

Starting on the 11th, the Skunk Train’s special Christmas Train departs the Fort Bragg station at 3:15PM for a 90-minute round-trip ride through the redwoods with Santa Claus!  A wonderful trip for children of all ages; click HERE to purchase tickets now, before they are all sold out!  This excursion is spectacular on a rainy winter day, and the forests have never been more beautiful.

Speaking of trains, the Mendocino Model Railway and Historical Society has a special Thomas the Tank Engine exhibit at their Model Railroad Layout in Fort Bragg.  Tickets are available at the Skunk Train depot, or click HERE for more information.  The exhibit is open every day the Skunk Train runs, from 1:00P to 3:30P through Christmas in the train barn at the Skunk depot.  Admission is free with a Skunk Train ticket, $5 for adults and $3 for children if you are not riding the train.  For a virtual tour of the barn and layout, click HERE.

This Saturday the 13th of December, gather in one of the many wharf-side restaurants in Noyo Harbor for the annual Lighted Boat Parade, sponsored by the Traditional Small Craft Association of Noyo Harbor.  Participating boats will gather at the US Coast Guard station at 5:30P and the parade is slated to begin at 6:00P, weather permitting.  The forecast for Friday looks good, so take the opportunity to share in another special tradition in our working harbor.  If you saw the boats in last weekend’s Holiday Lights parade, you will love them even more on the water. Dungeness crab is coming in by the bushel, so enjoy some while you watch the parade from the cozy warmth of one of the restaurants facing the harbor.

Ongoing through December 14th, rain or shine, is the Festival of Lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens!  Wander through the Gardens and view the beautiful bloom of holiday lights.  Special suppers will be available for purchase from David’s Deli, so this is a great outing for the whole family (please leave your pets at home, however).  More information and specific can be found HERE on their website.


Beer, Wine and Mushroom Festival Arrives … Check Out the Skunk Train

Posted on: November 3, 2012 at 3:40 am by bruce

There’s plenty to see and do in Fort Bragg year-around. But for the next 10 days, there will also be a celebration of mushroom (a product in plenty supply in Mendocino County forests).

Here’s some of what’s happening. Check out the complete schedule here. There’s plenty of lodging available!

Skunk Train Beer, Wine & Mushroom Train

Saturday, November 3 – 10:30am – 5pm

Mushroom Cook-Off • Wine, Beer and Mushroom Tasting • Mushroom Hike

In the heart of the redwoods at Camp Mendocino

$95 adult, $75 child. Reservations.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Naturalist Mario Abreu will have specimens and handouts to guide you in understanding the wild mushroom during walks and workshops  from Nov. 10 – 17.   707-964-4352 ext 16. or visit

Liquid Fusion Kayaking River PaddleLiquid Fusion Kayaking Mushroom Paddles

November 3 & 4 – start at 11am

(707)962-1623 / /

 Reserve now.

Ricochet Ranch

Join the mushroom hunt horseback rides every day during the festival. –

Skunk Train Brunch A Father’s Day Adventure

Posted on: June 9, 2011 at 3:30 am by bruce

Riding in an open car. Surrounded by a giant redwood forest. A warm breeze rushing through your hair. The sound of a train whistle signaling the approach to a tunnel. Finally,  at North Spur a big brunch greets your arrival. That’s the promise of the Skunk Train this Father’s Day. For tickets and other details.

10 Things To Do for a Great Fort Bragg Vacation

Posted on: May 12, 2011 at 10:12 am by bruce

1. Ride the Skunk Train with the engineer; eat BBQ at Northspur.
2. Take the “Street Corners of Fort Bragg” Tour.
3. Visit the Guest House Museum
4. Sign up for a class at Living Light Culinary Institute
5. Kayak the Noyo River with Liquid Fusion.
6. Hang out at Virgin Beach.
7. Spend the day at the C.V. Starr Center.
8. Hike to the Russian Gulch Waterfall.
9. Check out the lighthouse at Point Cabrillo Light Station.
10. Stroll the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

Spoonful of History Features Two Treasures

Posted on: May 10, 2011 at 7:05 am by bruce

“Spoonful of History” is a brief video tour of historical spots all within walking distance of downtown Fort Bragg, California. Fort Bragg’s founding dates to 1857 with U.S. soldiers creating a garrison to move local indians onto a 25,000 acre reservation. As we look back, not a great moment in our history. Within 20 years, however, a booming town with wide streets and interesting alleys replaced the fort. The rest, as they say, is history. Besides all the wonderful architectural history showcased in this video, two treasures are featured: Ruth Sparks of the Native Daughters of Golden West, Fort Bragg Parlor #210, and the silver spoon at the beginning in which Main Street Fort Bragg is carved. Ruth, as much as anyone on the Mendocino Coast, has generated new interest and excitement in Fort Bragg’s cultural resources and history. She has produced history tour guides, such as “Street Corners of Fort Bragg” which bring town’s rich past to life.

As for the beautiful spoon, it was donated to the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino and its origins and age are still a mystery. When we find out, sometime in the next few months, we will let you know. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this tiny video created by the Fort Bragg Promotion Committee. One more reason to visit Fort Bragg.

Street Corners of Fort Bragg … A Historical Walking Tour

Posted on: May 8, 2011 at 3:40 am by bruce

With leadership from the ever-energetic Ruth Sparks, the Native Daughters of the Golden West Parlor #210 (Fort Bragg), have created a wonderful new history walking tour of Fort Bragg.

The tour brochure, called “Street Corners of Fort Bragg” covers nine different locations and 26 historical points of interest. It is packed with information and places to see. A related video history tour of the town is also in the works.

Guest House Museum on Main Street Fort Bragg

Perhaps one of the quietest (off Main Street/Highway 1) and most interesting spots is the SW Corner of Fir and Stewart. Among the finds there:

  • Four Craftsman bungalows (1915-1918)
  • The 1886 Charles Weller House (the only house in town listed National Register of Historic Places)
  • The 1876 Calvin Stewart House (Stuart mapped out the original town)

In the distance you can see the old Skunk Train and, above it, the Guest House Museum.

Check with your lodging host for a copy of the brochure and drive into take a step back in time.

Never too old to ride the Skunk Train!

Posted on: October 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm by fbpc

On Friday evening, the old steam engine pulled out of the depot, under a full moon. I see the historic train crossing the highway every week, but this trip was special, because I got to ride along! Which reminding me that I’ll never outgrow the thrill of riding the rail.

Why I still love riding the Skunk:

Gimmicks & Nostalgia

I am a sucker for all things related to trains, and especially the gestures toward historical re-enactment and old-timey charm. Like this guy, who played old country songs on his banjo for us!

Moving slowly

It’s nice to slow down once in a while, and enjoy the ride. Especially nice if you are accompanied by some of your best girl friends, in seats facing each other so you can talk the whole way.

You never know what you’ll find in these woods…

The redwoods are unquestionably beautiful, but you never know what will come out of the cracks in these parts.  Like this train we passed full of Burning Man attendees! Story has it that they rent out a train for their annual Halloween Party and dressed (or not-so-dressed) in costumes they bring the party to the train, with multiple kegs of beer on board.

The caboose

This would be the prettiest picture – if I had taken it. But truthfully, the view was so lovely from the back of the train car that I didn’t want to leave it to get my camera. We stood against the rail, looking back on the tracks with a trail of mystical steam marking the sky above us, against the redwood canopy.

Beverages served on-board

Drinking and riding is totally legit! The lively bartender did a very good job of keeping us “hydrated” with local beer and wine (and carrying full glasses through the train cars).

In conclusion: To get in touch with your inner child, consider riding the Skunk! Visit their website for tickets and info.