One Fine Day: Fort Bragg
Escape to the Mendocino coast for a romantic getaway.
A three-hour drive from the East Bay, Fort Bragg is a great spot to cozy up with your sweetheart. While the city has welcomed a number of new boutiques and restaurants, the main draw is still the coast, which is home to a treasure trove of beach glass and attracts hundreds of migrating whales this time of year.
Once a veritable ghost town, the six-block historic downtown has been revitalized by new shops. Dot and Twine (facebook.com/dotandtwine) peddles locally made housewares and baby items, while Bella Mia (facebook.com/bellamiabathandbody) sells bath and body products, all made by the owner. Splendiferous (splendiferousboutique.com) specializes in women’s clothing and accessories. Pippi’s Longstockings (pippisocks.com) is a great spot to stock up on silly socks for the whole family.
No day in Fort Bragg is complete without a stop at Cowlick’s Ice Cream, right on Main Street. Be sure to try the mushroom ice cream (seriously), which is made with candy caps. cowlicksicecream.com.
You don’t have to like eggs to love the oddball Wizard of Oz–themed Egghead’s Restaurant, but it helps. Try the hearty eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon and spinach. eggheadsrestaurant.com.
Stroll hand in hand along the Coastal Trail, with a detour to Glass Beach, where there is an abundance of beach glass of varying sizes. Follow the trail to MacKerricher State Park, which boasts one of the longest sandy beaches in the county. fortbragg.com/163/coastal-trail.
Northern Italy meets NorCal at Cucina Verona, where fresh local produce makes traditional recipes shine. On most nights, live music and candles create a cozy atmosphere. cucinaverona.com.
Fort Bragg has its share of colorful dive bars: The Golden West Saloon gets points for its shufflepuck tables, but the Welcome Inn boasts three pool tables. The upscale North Coast Brewing Co. (northcoastbrewing.com) is also worth a visit, with at least a dozen brews on tap.
Plan ahead, and book a room at the recently opened Inn at Newport Ranch, a bed-and-breakfast on a huge bluff about 10 miles north of town. The nautical-themed Captain’s Quarters is worth the splurge and has the best views of the ocean. It’s also the closest room to the second-story hot tub. theinnatnewportranch.com.