Day 1 — Friday, March 16th: Get settled
You’re in for some exciting events this weekend so today is your day to relax, get ready for the adventures to come and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Mendocino Coast. Check in to your hotel, vacation rental or campground and take a stroll on one of our many beaches, and perhaps enjoy a picnic if the weather is nice. Visit one of the local spas to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life, or take advantage of the hotels that offer in-room jacuzzi tubs. Click here for a list of local lodging. (pictured: North Cliff Hotel)
Visit MacKerricher State Park and sprawl out on Black Sand Beach if the weather allows. Venture over to Laguna Point and search for whale spouts out in the distance, if you’re lucky you may see them breaching! MacKerricher has some very diverse tide pools, so take the stairs down to the beach and see what you can find. This park is perfect for families, couples, the solo traveler and is fully accessible along the headlands so you can enjoy panoramic ocean views and whale watching without the struggle of uneven grounds. The possibilities are endless at MacKerricher State Park so take your time, enjoy, and take lots of pictures!
Enjoy Friday & Saturday night Jazz at the North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room featuring musicians from the national and local Jazz scene. Featured on Friday night is Majide – Paul Kemp on the keyboard and Machiko Shimada, vocalist. You can start with their beer sampler to get a taste of their world renowned brews that have won over 110 awards in national and international competitions. Of course, you’ll want to order from their dinner menu as well, with options ranging anywhere from seafood to pizza! Click here to view the jazz calendar.
Day 2 — Saturday, March 17th: Wine, Beer, Chowder, Whales and more!
Get ready for an unforgettable day filled with all kinds of tastings, whale watching, lens tours at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and so much more. Start off with the 34th Annual Whale Run organized by Soroptimist International of Fort Bragg. There are different types of races including a kiddie race for ages 4-10 which begins at 7:30am, the fun-walkers beginning at 8:05am, and a 5 or 10k walk or run starting at 8am. Click here to register.
Afterwards, head over to the Fort Bragg Masonic Center at 428 N. Main Street to line up for the chowder and beer tasting. Tasting begins at 11am but generally people begin lining up around 10:30. The chowder tasting ends at 1pm or when the chowder runs out, whichever comes first. Following those two tasting events comes wine tasting at 1pm. Line up at the Masonic Center to receive your wine glass, map of tasting venues, wristband and other goodies. You can purchase tickets for all of these events here or at the door on the day of the event, but be aware that the wine tasting price will rise from $35 pre-sale to $40 at the door.
If you’re up for MORE tastings, you’ll want to experience the 22nd Annual Beer Festival, taking place at Eagles Hall at 210 N. Corry St in Fort Bragg from 12-4pm. Hosted by the Fort Bragg Rotary Club, over 20 different breweries’ varieties of award winning Belgian, Porter, Stouts, IPA, and Ales will be served. This event is perfect for those of you microbrewery fans and beer connoisseurs. The $30 admission includes entry, tastings, live music, and a souvenir glass to keep. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Please note: guests are invited to taste as many of the beers as they wish, but they must be 21 years old, and an ID will be required. No children or pets will be allowed to attend. For more information, please call: (707) 964-9644
Day 3 — Sunday, March 18th: Additional Whale Festival Events
Today is a day full of adventure and discoveries. Visit the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse between 10am-4pm where docents will be on hand with binoculars to guide visitors in sighting the whales passing by. The curious may discover tidepool organisms without getting their feet wet by visiting the 250 gallon salt water aquarium at the Marine Science Education exhibit in the restored Blacksmith shop. Displays and trained docents at the Lighthouse and First Assistant Lightkeeper’s House will help illuminate what life was like for people living on or visiting the Point. During this special event, PCLK volunteers and members of The Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer tours of the tower including the beautifully restored 3rd Order Fresnel lens for a donation of $5 per person. Children must be 42 inches tall to participate.
Interested in bird watching or want to learn a few things? Explore local birds with The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society by joining their beginning bird identification walks starting at 9am from the upper parking lot at Point Cabrillo Light Station.
On March 16th at 7pm, Join the Noyo Center for Marine Science for an exciting lecture to be given by a guest speaker about the whales of the Pacific. Refreshments, interactive activities and araffle to take place at the time of the lecture. Event to take place rain or shine. in the Veterans’ Memorial Building located at 360 North Harrison St., in Fort Bragg.
On Saturday and Sunday, March 17th & 18th, come along on a whale walk at MacKerricher State Park at 11am. This will be a docent led informative guided whale walk and begins at the visitor center for a discussion prior to driving to Laguna Point for whale watching. Binoculars are provided and the event is free!
Last but not least, experience whales up close and personal with one of our local charter boat businesses. Needless to say, whale watching is one of the main attractions of our Annual Whale Festivals, so you definitely will not want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience! Here are a few charter boats to contact for inquiries: Telstar Charters (707) 964-8770, All Aboard Adventures (707) 964-1881, Anchor Charter Boats (707) 964-4550.
Featured image by Paul House
Beer tasting photo from: We Blog the World
Photo of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse by Crissy Tadlock
Photo of yellow bird by Ron LeValley