Archive for the ‘Whale Festival’ Category

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Ten Great Reasons to come to Fort Bragg now!

Posted on: January 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm by Julia Conway No Comments
Paul House last day 2014

The last sunset of 2014 from photographer Paul House


1.  Whales!  The annual migration of the California gray whale begins in December and peaks in the winter months.

2.  No crowds.  On a winter day  in Fort Bragg, there’s no waiting in line; not for a coffee, not for lunch, not for a parking space.

3.  Walks.  Whether it is along the ocean, in the redwoods or just down to the beach, there’s a walk for everyone.

4.  Crab!  Boats are bringing fresh Dungeness crab into Noyo Harbor daily.  You can enjoy the delectable and seasonal treat in our local restaurants, or pick up one in the harbor or at a local grocer.

5.  Waterfalls.  A short walk through Otis Johnson Park or at Russian Gulch State Park and you can visit the magic of winter in the woods.

6.  Mushrooms.  Wild mushroom season is not limited to the fall months.  Whether you forage or just hunt with a camera, there is still plenty of natures bounty to capture.  You will see oyster, yellowfoot, black trumpet, candy caps and more, just look down along the edges of our roads and trails.  Once you have the “mushroom eye” you will never look at the woods in the same way again.

7.  Deals!  Lodging rates in Fort Bragg have never been better.  Check out our listings of cozy B&B’s or family-friendly motels and hotels for winter season specials.

8.  Quiet!  Did we say this was the quiet time of year?  Other than the booming of the surf or the staccato tempo of the rain on the roof, there’s nothing to disturb the peace.  After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there’s nothing we like more.

9.  Waves.  Did we mention the spectacular winter surf in Fort Bragg?  King tides and storm swells from the north Pacific combine to bring some of the most awe-inspiring ocean views you can imagine.  Of course, watch from a safe distance and never turn your back on the ocean.  For a sample, click on this link

10.  Sunsets!  Winter is sunset season on the Mendocino Coast, and Fort Bragg is no exception.  Night after night of ever-changing rainbows.  See if you can spot the elusive “green flash” or better yet, catch it with your camera.  Visit our Facebook page at to see the collection of sunset photos from our local photographers and fans.

Tell about your favorite things to do in Fort Bragg in the winter season!

Where Do You Find the World’s Best Beaches? You Start in Fort Bragg

Posted on: March 16, 2014 at 7:00 am by bruce

Glass Beach Treasure, Fort Bragg, CaliforniaTravel blogs, magazines and newspapers (printed and Web-based) regularly publish stories about the best destinations to visit or where you can find the most romantic getaway or best beach.

In fact, the New York Times recently said the Mendocino Coast (where you will find Fort Bragg) is #3 among 52 must-see destinations in 2014.

There is a good reason for that endorsement: it’s isolated from big city hustle-bustle (100 miles from the nearest big shopping mall or Apple Store), but has plenty to offer in Downtown Fort Bragg (where you’ll find lots to buy and friendly merchants to serve you). You may be a long way from the big box stores, but you are minutes away from a world of beauty, including world-class botanical garden, ecological staircase, a pygmy forest, a waterfall, giant redwoods, a beach piled high with beautiful sea glass, surfing, abalone diving, whale watching, seaweed farming, horseback riding (beach and forest), a microbrewery, a working lighthouse with original Fresnel lens, a real blue whale skeleton, and five California State Parks or preserves. Did we mention pristine beaches that stretch for miles?

If you need more reasons to visit — such as festivals or special events – we’ve got those, too:

Annual Whale Festival – Saturday and Sunday, March 15 & 16 (just this past weekend)

Fourth of July Fireworks – Saturday, July 5

World’s Largest Salmon Barbecue – Saturday, July 5

Paul Bunyan Days – Aug. 29-Sept. 1

Holiday Lights Parade – Saturday, December 6

Then, of course, there are simple pleasures everyone can enjoy (and most of these you won’t find in your town).


Whale Festival to Feature Blue Whale Bones and New Science ant Art Festival

Posted on: March 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm by bruce

The Noyo Center for Marine Science — future home of Fort Bragg’s 75-foot Blue Whale skeleton — is sponsoring the first annual Marine Science and Art Fair  1pm-4pm, Sunday, March 16, at Town Hall, 363 N. Main Street (corner of Laurel and Main) in Fort Bragg. It’s the newest addition to the Fort Bragg Whale Festival.

This year’s fair will feature science and art projects from local kids in grades kindergarten through 6th at the Montessori Del Mar School.

Noyo Center staff has worked with students in a pilot education program, introducing students to marine mammals and the Fort Bragg Blue Whale. Hands‐on scientific investigation, inventions, and creativity are the focus of the fair as the kids explore the concepts of size in marine mammals.

Fort Bragg Whale Festival Scheduled for Saturday, March 15

Posted on: March 10, 2014 at 9:50 am by bruce

If you haven’t already gotten your tickets for various Whale Festival Activities, it’s not too late. In fact  you can just decide at the last minute to attend various events and purchase them at the door, so to speak. Whatever you decide to do, do not miss this Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce created event, which is supported by the Fort Bragg Promotion Committee.

Here is a rundown of what’s coming up this weekend.

Whale Festival Offers Some of the Best Chowders Ever

Posted on: March 5, 2014 at 5:31 am by bruce

One of the highlights of the Fort Bragg Whale Festival each year is the chowder tasting. This year the tasting takes place Saturday, March 15, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (or until the chowder runs out) at Town Hall, 363 Main Street in Historic Downtown Fort Bragg.

Providing mouth-watering tastes of their own special chowder creations will be chefs from nine great local restaurants, including Cafe One, Cliff House, Harvest Market, Living Light , North Coast Brewing Company, Angelina’s, The Restaurant, JJ’s Family Restaurant and Laurel Cafe and Deli.

The cost is just $10. Click here to buy tickets in advance. Or you can buy them at the door. Happy tasting!


Find Out What Time the Whales Come by (LOL) … Don’t Miss MacKerrricher Whale Talks

Posted on: February 16, 2014 at 5:11 am by bruce

Gray Whale Skeleton at MacKerricher Visitor Center

Spouting Gray Whale

A funny story that is true: our local chamber of commerce office each year gets a few visitors who ask, ‘what time to the whales go by?’ LOL.

Well, the whales are coming and going all the time — day and night, year-around. Blues. Grays. Humpbacks. Even Orcas. But the big migration of Gray Whale begins in December as they head south to the warm lagoons of Mexico to birth their calves or breed. Then they head north in February-April on their way home to feeding grounds cold waters of Alaska. The migration is supposed to be 20,000 strong. It is not surprising that on some days you can’t look out and not see pods of whales spouting.

To make your whale watching more fun,  California State Parks and the Mendocino Area Parks Association continue weekend whale talks at MacKerricher State Park on the following dates leading up the he 32nd Annual Fort Bragg Whale Festival on March 15 & 16 and beyond:  February 15 & 16, 22 & 23; March 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 29 & 30.

Knowledgeable docents talk about the annual gray whale migration and about other marine mammals seen along the Mendocino coast. Programs are scheduled at 11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday at MacKerricher.

Get talk details by clicking here. 

On the Calendar: February Highlights

Posted on: January 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm by bruce

Like the rest of California, the drought has hit Fort Bragg.  We’ve had only 2.5 inches of rain this year (normal is 30+ inches). The non-stop sunshine has left us with picture postcard days, blue skies and temperatures around the mid-60’s (a heatwave for us).

Of course, rain may be coming (we hope). No matter, there is always something to do in our tiny seacoast town for a weekend or a week — indoors or out.

Here are a few reasons to visit in February.

  • Four North Coast artists are exhibiting their work at Partners Gallery: Helen Troxel (six new abstract mixed media pieces), on canvas, Sonya Popow (sculptural pots in sawdust or saggar fired terra cotta),  Jonathan Palmer (cut paper and plexiglas rods) and Lisa Orselli’s (encaustic and sometimes fabric, wasp paper and graphite).>
  • Every Friday and Saturday evening: North Coast Brewing presents Dinner Jazz from 6 to 9 pm in the Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom. The menu includes dinner specials and pizza from the stone hearth oven along with hand-crafted ales.
  • February 1-March 28:Weekend Whale Talks at MacKerricher State Park. Knowledgeable docents talk about the annual gray whale migration and about other marine mammals seen along the Mendocino coast. Programs are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Learn more.
  • February 8&9: Symphony of the Redwoods’ Winter Concert,  February 8 (8pm ) and 9 (2 pm), Cotton Auditorium. Program:
    Sibelius’ Symphony No 1 in E Minor, op 39 and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, op 104. Featured artist: Stephen Harrison, cellist. Ticket information: 707-964-0898;
  • February 22: Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop. The focus will primarily be on, but not limited to, the pruning of fruit tree varieties appropriate to the North Coast climate, specifically apples, pears and selected stone fruits. 10 am-noon. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. 707-964-4352;
  • For other ideas, click here.

It’s not too late to book at room.

Fort Bragg Whale Festival Just Weeks Away: Whales, Chowder, Microbrews and Bones

Posted on: January 17, 2014 at 6:00 am by bruce
The New York Times named the Mendocino Coast (with Fort Bragg at the heart of the Coast) as #3 on its “52 Places to Visit in 2014.” What better time to visit than the 32nd Annual Fort Bragg Whale Festival, March 15 & 16?
Sponsored by the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, Fort Bragg offers more ways than anywhere to see Whales: by horseback, on foot and by sea. And there will be plenty to do: tour Fort Bragg’s very own blue whale skeleton, check out our crafts fair, attend the annual chowder tasting created by great local chefs and sample great microbreweries (a Fort Bragg Rotary-sponsored fundraiser). There’s also a 10k/5k run and walk on Saturday, March 15.
Ricochet Ranch offers beach rides where you are bound to see whales just beyond the waves, while local fishing charters will carry tourists out of Noyo Harbor to see the whales close up and personal.
Best whale viewing spots: Laguna Point, MacKerricher State Park, and Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. Whale docents will be in both locations. Bring binoculars and be prepared for cool weather.

Rare Blue Whale Skeleton To Have Permanent Home At New Noyo Center for Science & Education

Posted on: December 8, 2013 at 3:59 am by bruce

Comparing our tiny human hands with those of a mighty blue whale is a lesson in mammal anatomy.

A Whale of a Story

So many things draw us to the Mendocino Coast: the rugged beauty of a rocky coastline, bountiful local seafood, wild mushrooms carpeting the forest floor, and a community of people happy to be living exactly where they are.  Soon, there will be another, very BIG reason to visit Fort Bragg.  The largest animal on earth- the blue whale- will soon be the feature exhibit in the Noyo Center for Science and Education, a new state-of-the-art research and education center planned for development on the former Georgia Pacific mill site.


Point Cabrillo Announces Lighthouse Lens Tours for 2014

Posted on: November 24, 2013 at 3:11 am by bruce

Sunset at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Fort Bragg, California -- Photo by Bruce Lewis

Despite the frequent publicity about lantern room tours at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, it’s still one of Fort Bragg’s best kept secret.

Six times a year, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 87, which maintains the Fresnel Lens and lantern room, offers tours. You get to climb up the narrow stairs, stopping on each landing as a docent shares a bit of history about the 1909 lighthouse, which is one of only three in the U.S. still operating as a Federal Aid to Navigation. (more…)

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