Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fort Bragg Sea Glass Festival - Part Two

In the last post, we left off as we were walking the path to the beach in Fort Bragg. The path forked and not knowing which path led to the famous Glass Beach we decided to go right. This path ended in a patch of pink blooming ice plant and a glorious view of the coastline. You will note the rocky landscape in the above picture. I was surprised as most of the beaches I'd been to were easily accessible.
There was nothing to do but hike on down to the beach.

Here I am looking a bit unsure of the climb. But it turned out to be a gentle hike down through sand and rocks to the beach.

I don't know what I'm thinking here, except that my husband can stop taking my picture so I can look for sea glass. It was a negative tide so I started off toward the water. Almost immediately, I found sea glass. I was in heaven. It seemed that everywhere I looked there was sea glass. Most of the glass was tiny, but I didn't care. I lost track of time, as I looked for pieces of glass. There was a lot of white, green and brown glass which is natural as they are the most common colors. What was unusual about Fort Bragg sea glass as compared to Mazatlan sea glass is that Bragg's glass is much thicker and I'd guess older. The texture and frosting was delightful. As I moved closer to the water I found larger deposits of sea glass. As you can see in the next picture the glass was as thick as gravel on a road. Later, when I talked to Captain Cass, who owns the Sea Glass Museum, I'd learn that I wasn't even on Glass Beach - I was north of Glass Beach because I'd gone right instead of straight on the path. Oh, well, at that moment, I didn't know any better and I was happy as a clam to do my beachcombing. Steve and I stayed on the beach for a couple of hours then we had to return to the motel where my sister Julia and her husband Gary were waiting for us. Julia and Gary had come to Fort Bragg to spend time with us all and Friday was the only day we could do things together. I wanted to stay on the beach all day, but hey, sometimes you have to be a team player, right? My other sister, Shirley, partner in Sisters Jewelry Design, had arrived the night before with her husband Pat and become suddenly ill with the stomach flu. She loves beachcombing as much as I and for her not to get out of bed, I knew she was really sick. I was hoping it would be a one day illness as this was a free day, but tomorrow we'd be selling our jewelry at the Sea Glass Festival. I had my fingers crossed that Shirley would recover.

This is a picture of Julia and Gary at a restaurant, we'd gone to the night before down at the wharf.

Anyway, we went back to the motel, checked on Shirley, she was sick, sick, sick. Pat was going for a two hour bike ride and we decided to go with Julia and Gary first to a botanical garden, then we planned on locating the sea glass museum so we'd know where to set up our tent for the festival.
At 18220 North Highway One, is the Mendocino-Coast Botanical Gardens. They are really magnificent and worth a visit if you are in the area. You can visist their website to learn more about the gardens. There are incredible rhododendrums twenty feet tall and amazing sculptures by California artists. There are 46 acres of trails and gardens so you can spend a lot of time just wandering around. Here are some of the pictures we took of garden as we walked out toward to the coastline.

First view of entering the gardens. Following are all pictures taken in the botanical garden.

Julia and my husband Steve stand by one of the many garden sculptures. Here is another shot of the glass sculpture. Some amazing photos of flowers in the park taken by my sister Julia.

As we walked through the park and walked and walked, I coughed and blew my nose constantly. My headached and I wished I was back at the motel in the bed, but I hadn't seen my sister Julia in a long time and I wanted to spend time with her so I gutted it out. I must say when we reached the end of the gardens at the ocean it was well worth the walk as the view was gorgeous - inspiring to say the least.

After we left the botanical gardens we drove a few blocks south on Highway 1 and turned into the spacious driveway of the Sea Glass Gallery & Museum. The exact address of the museum is 17801 N. Hwy 1, just 11 miles south of Fort Bragg. The museum is open daily from 10 to 5 with free admission. Be sure to talk to Captain Cass who owns the museum. His website can be found at

Cass is a wealth of information on sea glass and the beaches surrounding Fort Bragg. You can also pick up one of Capt. Cass' Glass Beach Guides and Map. I was beginning to love maps after the fiasco in San Francisco. From Cass and his map, I learned that I'd gone to one of the newer glass beaches I should have gone straight on the path then left. Fort Bragg has three glass beaches - each site was once a dumping area for the town. The oldest site, 1906-1943, is hard to reach without a kayak. When a dump area filled up, the townspeople would move further down the coast. The second oldest site, 1943-1947, is off the Old GP Mill Site and it has a "No Trespassing warning" - people still climb down the rocks and kayak around to this site. Not me, as I don't have a wet suit and I don't kayak. You can contact Captain Cass as he offers ocean kayak tours to this site weather permitting. Then there is Slag Pile Cove, 1949-1967 and Glass Beach 1949-1967. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to get back to the beach and find the older site.

After getting the information about where to set up for the festival the next day, we headed off for lunch down at the wharf. A quick sandwich, then a stop at a bakery for cookies. At the motel, Shirley was still sick as a dog. Julia and Gary wanted to go up the coast to see the seals lying on rocks.

I wanted to go to the beach, but the tide was coming in and my head was pounding so I went to lie down. Took some aspirin, but couldn't relax, the beach was calling my name. Finally, I got up, coaxed Steve into going and stopped to get Shirley's husband Pat. We drove down, parked and walked the path to the end where land dropped off to rocky cliffs. Then we had to follow a narrow path to where we could drop down into the rocks. (the path was like a ledge of dirt over hanging a cliff!) Yikes, I was glad I was wearing tennis shoes. Finally, we made it down onto the sand - well, you really couldn't see much sand it was all sea glass. Sea glass in layers and layers. We'd hit the "mother lode." We stayed until it was dusk picking up sea glass. I found some beautiful pieces. When they finally dragged me away from the beach I thought I'd go collapse on the bed as I was still sick and coughing like a maniac, but when we got to the motel, my brother Marty was there. Marty had ridden his Harley down from Oregon to see us all. A family reunion, so of course, I stayed up and talked with my brother. We went to dinner and then all talked some more. Poor Shirley couldn't even leave the bed she was still so sick. Here's a shot of my brother Marty on the left, my husband Steve and my brother-in-law Pat. I think they were having a "happy hour." We made an early night of it as we had to set up our jewelry booth at eight in the morning at the Sea Glass Festival. Cass had told me when I'd talked to him that some of the vendors weren't coming - in fact, there would only be three of us. I went to bed worrying about the festival - would anyone come? Would we sell any jewelry? Would Shirley still be sick and not able to help me?

Find out in Part Three what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment