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North Coast Winds - December 2014

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North Coast Winds - December 2014

by Robin Joy Wellman

I love December. I love the lights that are adorned on our houses and yards, the shops that are decorated, color and lights along the streets, the spirit of giving, the beginning of winter, the celebration of St. Nick, and the celebration of Christmas which means so many different things to so many people. I love the celebrations with the good eats, the festivities, getting Christmas cards (I have promised myself to send cards this year), decorations, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, holly, trees, and everything else that December represents with family and friends. I am not sure about you, but this year I am trying hard to keep Christmas small this year, shopping in our smaller local shops, buying fewer gifts, and attending the craft fairs to honor the artists.  Just a little thought to share – please – reach out this holiday season to one person you don’t know well but would like to, and surprise them with a homemade gift. 

When the sun rises at the winter solstice it is important to bring up the sun – standing in its direction welcome the sun with good thoughts for yourself, your family and friends, and all good things for your year to come.  

Getting out and about on our North Coast we have many places to visit for celebrations and local shops if you are thinking of gift giving. Let’s start in Jenner. The place I am highlighting this month, the new restaurant, Jenner Eatery By the Sea is relaxed with open seating and open Sunday to Monday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and Saturday they are open for dinner from 5:00 – 8:00. On Sunday mornings they have live music and/or DJ’s for your enjoyment. With good wholesome organic food you can’t go wrong. I made my first visit on Sunday with a friend for breakfast. Such a treat! If you would like to stay over in this sweet town the Jenner Inn and Cottages has a room for you. Find them on Facebook at Eatery by the Sea or www.jennerinn.com. The coffee house across the street, Café Aquatica, has some of the best coffee and teas in town, with a growing menu of also whole food, with sitting outside with amazing views of the Russian River estuary, and distant views of the ocean and often with live music.  Next door is The Jenner Gift Store with some great gifts with wind chimes, fun socks, trinkets to hang in the window, and much more. Picnic supplies and gas at the local Jenner ‘C’ Store, and Kayaking from two local companies. And please don’t forget the great shop run by the Stewards of Coast and Redwoods, at the State Park landing in Jenner. The shop is often staffed by volunteers that know the local area, have maps of local parks and places to visit, and can share many stories about local plants and animals you are seeing. You can easily spend a full day or several days in beautiful Jenner. 

Going north, Fort Ross State Historic Park offers a beautiful Visitor Center with bookstore run by the Fort Ross Conservancy full of gift giving ideas, from nature and cultural history, to local soaps, trinkets, natural and cultural history books, and knitted hats. The store also has the largest selection of Russian history and gift giving ideas from Russia or Russian themed gifts. There is truly something for all ages, and all price ranges. It is a Coastal hidden gem. The Visitor Center staff can also offer local information and history tidbits of Fort Ross. Make it a day and visit the fort compound attending one of the presentations by the state park interpreters for an engaging discussion and deeper understanding of our local history, or visit sandy beach, go fishing, hiking, or birding. They also offer private presentations with cannon firings. Find us on facebook at Friends of Fort Ross or visit the two websites for bookstore contact events, history, or just to contact them: www.fortrossstatepark.org or www.fortross.org.

And of course going further north you will find many spectacular places to stay all with views that last a lifetime, such as Timber Cove Inn and Alexander’s Restaurant, Salt Point Lodge, Bar, and Grill, Sea Ranch Lodge and Restaurant, and many places in the sweet town of Gualala with wonderful home town eateries, views of our coast lands, and events. Check out our very active Gualala Art Center web for the many art shows, musical performances,http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/calendar.html. Next month I will highlight the newly opened historic Gualala Hotel and Restaurant. If you would like your business or organization highlighted contact me. The North Coast is worth visiting, exploring, and new places that will bring you back year after year. Start a new tradition for the holidays, visit the coast!