The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

North Coast Winds - July 2015


North Coast Winds - July 2015

by Robin Joy Wellman

Sharing the North Sonoma Coast news with you each month is a pleasure and a bonus for me as I explore what is happening up and down our coast learning about upcoming events and programs. I know I brag a lot about this beautiful coast, but it is truly nothing less than gorgeous. When I am in the Santa Rosa area and a conversation comes up about the coast I am often surprised when I find out people have never been to the coast. Come on now – it is less than an hour drive to the coast to Jenner adding on some time to travel north to some of our well known parks, museums, and art centers. The locals out here are warm and friendly welcoming all our stay-cation visitors and international traveler. 

I want to highlight Fort Ross State Historic Park and the Reef Campground. Fort Ross SHP is more than 2500 acre of beautiful coastal line, coastal terraces, fault zone features, sag ponds, redwood forest, some of the largest bay trees around, creek valleys, with acreage that reaches the ridge. There is access to our coastal tide pools, sandy beaches, rocky beaches that provide rock and pole fishing (please know the fish and wildlife rules), surfing at some few special locations, and breathtaking views. The little campground just south of Fort Ross entrance, called the Reef Campground, is a sweet little 19-site, first come first served suitable for small trailers and tent camping. Once you are settled into the campground take the well-traveled easy going trail that leads to the Sandy Cove and the Fort Compound. It is easy to spend a few days here exploring this special place. 

Not only does this park have a rich natural history but also a rich cultural history. The Russian American Company was the first European influence north of San Francisco to establish an outpost with many different Russian peoples and Alaskan peoples. This story continues to unfold as park staff, the Kashaya Band of Pomo Indians, Native Alaskans, and Russians today all work closely on many various projects and programs building a partnership and relationship welcomed by all. The Fort Ross Festival on July 25th, the largest event of the year at Fort Ross brings these diverse cultural groups together to share their own history in their own voice. The event is throughout the park including Visitor Center with special presentations, Ranch Picnic area with music and beer garden, international food for sell, and the fort compound where there are various crafts to see and to take part in, including militia drills and cannon firings, cooking, blacksmiths, woodworker, cooper smiths, and more. This year we welcome the St. Petersburg’s Horn Orchestra of Russia from support from the Renova Fort Ross Foundation and Russia’s Ministry of Culture. They bring the traditions of music to the Fort Ross Festival with two performances during the day. Please visit the website at for more information. I would like to suggest a camping trip with friends and family at the Reef Campground and a visit to this special event. 

For other events on our coast visit the websites of these fine venues: Gualala Arts where they always have events on the calendar with fine art exhibits, excellent concerts, contests, and theater, the Lighthouse in Point Arena and the Stornetta Lands with wonderful coastal walks. For a pretty complete listing of places to stay and eat visit the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Please feel free to contact me if you have additions, questions, or ideas you want to share out with our readers. Blessings to you all.