Fort (or Ft.? I don't know) Bragg is a scrappy little town a few miles north of Mendocino, its dressier, quainter, boutiquier cousin. Based on some not-at-all scientific research I did using Google while drinking a beer in my hotel room, it used to be supported by a lumber mill but then that closed down and everyone left town and now it's just a Rite Aid and North Coast Brewing. Whatever, the view from the hotel room sure was nice.
Apparently there's an attraction called "Glass Beach" that we didn't go to. Everybody told us that's the thing we had to see and that always makes me suspicious. You know what it is? Residents of Ft. Bragg used to dump all their trash there and over the years all the glass in the trash got worn down by waves into smooth little glass pebbles. That's right; the main attraction in FB is a former dump.
We had a great time. On Friday night we went to Piaci Pub and Pizzeria, which was insanely crowded at 6:30 p.m. Based on attendance at Piaci, what Fort Bragg really needs is more restaurants.
The crowd seemed to be mostly locals. You know the type, with grey ponytails and a severely weathered appearance and a definite stoner vibe. Everyone was totally friendly. In some small, isolated towns people are all wary and/or hostile, but not in FB. Everywhere we went everyone was as nice as they could be.
Somebody on Yelp called Piaci a "dive bar" which makes me think people on Yelp have never been to a dive bar because it's about as divey as an Applebee's. MEMO TO YELPERS: Anywhere that has a pizza with prosciutto, arugula, and a farm egg on it is not a dive bar. They also have an incredible beer selection.
And of course the whole area is breathtakingly beautiful. Saturday was a nice sunny day and we drove up the coast a ways and it's one of those things where every time you come around a bend in the road you are visually ASSAULTED by another jaw-dropping view.
This picture isn't even a good representation because I suck at taking pictures and I took this with an iPhone. I think we were both amused by the hawk that's perched on the wire in the middle of this picture that you can't see. He (or she, I guess, I'm not like a hawkologist or whatever they have that studies hawks) just seemed totally chill and stoic.
Although I am in no way being compensated for this plug, we stayed at the North Cliff Hotel and liked it a lot. On Friday night some fat people arrived at the room above us and then STOMPED AROUND from 11 pm to like midnight. Seriously, it sounded like they were going to come through the fucking floor. The next morning, the hotel graciously moved us to a top-floor room. In fact, they were so nonchalant and blase about the whole thing that I suspect this happens with some frequency. Maybe it's just thin floors. Anyway, they were totally cool about it and we relaxed Saturday night in blissful silence.
[One other thing I forgot to put in this post originally: wine tasting in Mendocino wine country is so much better than Napa and even maybe Sonoma that it's worth a special trip. It's like what Napa used to be like in the early 90's. Almost all the tastings are free (except for hoity toity places like Goldeneye), it's not that crowded, and the winery employees are uniformly down-to-earth and friendly. Fuck paying $25 for a tasting in Napa. I emphatically recommend Navarro, Toulouse, and Lazy Creek, and they're all within a few miles of each other.]