Saturday, July 16, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - Back to Gualala




ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Back to Gualala


Another day in Mendocino county.  The fog had lifted and so far the murdering Buckners were a no show.  Praise the Lord.
After a lazy morning, Bob suggested we go back to Gualala and seek some "culture."  But first we decided to check out the nearby Point Arena Garcia River Casino.  You've heard of casino culture, right?


 We left there wallets intact.

Though Gualala is known for its bevy of artists, I had no idea this small town also had such an impressive art center.  The exterior is dotted with pieces of sculpture...




Inside a stunning exhibit of Native American portraits was proudly on display.

We did the 'new age' thing and found stillness in the meditation center on the property.

And danced on the Art Center's outdoor stage.

No audience flocked to see us.


By the time we finished exploring the Art Center, we were in the mood for a "tasting," and, as we drove here and there and up and up a mountain, we discovered the Annapolis Winery.

But first Richard had to photograph the view.

While Bob and Nguyen spooned.

Finally we went inside and sipped some wine.



We headed back to our cabins in the woods as the sun set on another day of our excellent adventure.  Because we were once again high up on the coast highway, I kept my eyes closed the whole time and wondered what Bob and Richard were going to make for dinner.

------------


GARCIA RIVER CASINO
22215 Windy Hollow Road
Point Arena, Calif.  95468
707-467-5300

GUALALA ARTS CENTER
4650l Old State Highway
Gualala, Calif.
707-884-1138
info@gualalaart.org

ANNAPOLIS WINERY
26055 Soda Springs Road
Annapolis, Calif.  95412
707-886-5460


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - Gualala Here We Come






ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Gualala Here We Come



After a full day walking the beige cliffs of Ft. Bragg, we slept like the dead in our cabins in the woods and woke up the next day with all appendages intact.  After a quick perusal of the perimeter of our cabins, no Buckners appeared to be hiding in the early morning mist waiting to dismember us, so we all gathered in Bob and Nguyen's cabin for breakfast and planned our day.

When we first arrived in Mendocino county an artist studio tour was happening in the town of Gualala.  We were able to meet some fine painters and sculptors and see where they worked, but we didn't get a chance to actually explore the area.  We decided to remedy that and return to Gualala which meant, of course, a return to the coast highway.  I was getting used to sightseeing in the car with my eyes half closed.

After tooling around the town's neighborhoods and driving into the forests, I wanted to go back to the coast highway (yes - voluntarily) and check out the St. Orres Inn, nicknamed The Russian House, an imposing structure perched on the coast highway that we had passed earlier.  Designed by Eric Black the main building echos a romantic Russian heritage.  I imagined seeing the brothers Karamazov gallop by.


Was that the ghost of Anna Karenina or abused Patricia Buckner peeking out of a tower window?  Hopefully, it was a just a real live guest of the Inn.


Entering inside the main building you'll find the soaring tower windows which give off a dramatic effect... 


... and a stunning dining room that serves northern coastal cuisine.  What, no borscht?  


It was time for lunch, but you've heard of "no room at the inn" - well, here there was "no lunch at the Inn" so we drove into town and discovered the Gualala Hotel Restaurant & Saloon. My imagination again ran rampant as I pictured dance hall girls and dollar-a-night hookers dressed in red satin and black garter belts walking the long balcony beckoning passersby to "come on in."


First opened in the late 1800's the hotel was a place that housed loggers and mill workers and their "ladies of the evening," as well as guests traveling north from San Francisco.  Sadly, the original hotel burned down in 1903, but was soon reopened serving tourists, travelers and workers ever since.  If walls could talk, this hotel would have many tales to tell.

Before sitting down to eat I had to explore the interior of the restaurant.  Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday would love the saloon.


The dining rooms were smartly designed with a minimalist decor, highlighting the artwork and the white linen.


The hotel's executive chef, Christian Anderson's breakfast, lunch and dinner menus features fresh local fare with a wide variety of choices.  From the lunch menu, I opted for the chicken Caesar salad with a creamy lemon and anchovy dressing.  I love Caesar salads and eat them often.  This one was a favorite.  More chefs need to remember the anchovies - whether in the salad or the dressing.  It's just an ordinary grilled chicken salad otherwise.


Richard went for the fish and chips.  Crispy on the outside and oh so good on the inside.  The same can be said about the hand cut chips.


Bob and Nguyen shared the fish tacos - simply delicious.


Before leaving we met Christian, who baked us a loaf of sour dough bread to take back to our cabins.  Still warm when he brought it out to us, the aroma was so intoxicating I wanted to tear into it even though we had just finished lunch.  I refrained.  We saved it for dinner.


I was sorry to leave the Gualala Hotel, but it was time to continue our excellent adventure.

----------------

ST. ORRES INN
36601 S. Highway One
Gualala, Calif.  95445
707-884-3303

GUALALA HOTEL - Restaurant & Saloon
39301 S. Highway One
Gualala, Calif.  95445
707-884-3341





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - The Beige Cliffs of Fort Bragg


ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE -
The Beige Cliffs of Fort Bragg


I woke early and saw that our cabin in the woods was engulfed in fog.   I immediately checked Richard.  His head was still connected to his body and his pulse was beating normally.  So, no visit from the Buckner family... at least not in our cabin.  I called Bob and Nguyen to make sure their heads were on straight.  All was well with them, too.

After breakfasting in our cabins, we decided to venture north to Fort Bragg.  We sped along the coast highway at a breezy clip of 10 mph, as the fog masked much of the sheer drops to the ocean.  Needless to say, this less than breakneck speed, coupled with nothing to see when I looked down put an end to my whimpering. 


We arrived late-morning and hit the trail to the white cliffs of Dover... well, the beige cliffs of Fort Bragg, at any rate.  


The fog had lifted a bit, though the cool mist that remained gave us a chill, so we bundled up.  Richard braved a hoodie feeling secure in the hovering mist that no one would mistake him for a gang member and shoot him. 


My brother, a big guy, also needed an extra layer, so Nguyen dragged out one of her ponchos from the SUV and layered it on him.  Not the most flattering ensemble, but it worked to buffer the cold.


Kathy and Heathcliff may have had their misty, foggy English moors, but we had the misty, foggy cliffs of Fort Bragg. And they are expansive and dramatic.

 



 We walked the cliffs' edge and came to a stairway to the Pacific.  It was steep.  We didn't want a workout so we passed it by.


We spied the Loch Ness Monster... yes, he's there in the mist, presumably on holiday from the Loch Ness.


Birds perched on rocks in the sea.

We discovered caves.



And explored the beige cliffs.



Then HE appeared.  Don't jump!  Was it Buckner?  Who knows? 

 

Because he soon disappeared.  Lost in the mist.

Nguyen looked for him as Richard tried to capture it all on camera.


The sun peeked out as we headed back to our car.


It was time to find a restaurant and have an early dinner by the sea and watch boats boating to and fro.


Another day, another excellent adventure.