As you read my Point Arena page, and my travel tips, you will see how much I LOVE this area ... I feel lost when I don't visit more that once every year or so ..... Though my family is no longer living here, so my travel time to California needs to include locations where my elders are living, this part of the country brings a spiritual peacefullness into my soul - so yes, it IS out of the way - but it is soooooo very worth the effort to center my life .......
Mendocino County is noted for its wild Pacific Ocean coast and the independent nature of its population and is located on California's north coast, north of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sonoma County and west of the Central Valley. As of 2000, the population was 86,265. The county seat is Ukiah. Point Arena is a small coastal city located within this County.
Mendonoma begins on the north coast of Sonoma County and includes the south coast of Mendocino County. Hence the name we have adopted for the coastal area, "Mendo" for one county and "Noma" for the other. This picturesque region features breathtaking scenery and includes the historical towns of Gualala, Anchor Bay, Point Arena, Manchester and Elk.
Some visitors say it is a bit like Ireland, others like a part of Portugal, others say it is much like Scotland. But anyone visiting Mendonoma for the first time will find that it has charms of its own. I grew up visiting my family members in this region; it is obvious my ancestors chose this location because of its similarity to their Scottish homeland. Take time to discover this area for yourself.
The section of Highway 1 that travels through the south Mendonoma coast is one of the most scenic routes in California; it skirts ocean bluffs and winds among rolling hills.
Most of the towns on the Mendonoma coast were once logging towns that supplied redwood lumber to the booming city of San Francisco during the days of the California Gold Rush. Many of these towns had "doghole ports," tiny bays barely large enough for schooners to be loaded with lumber via a system of slings from the shore. Today, the towns of the south coast still have connections to the logging industry, but most also cater to the thousands of visitors who arrive every year to marvel at the great beauty of the Mendocino coast.
The first European to record Point Arena was Spaniard Bartolomé Ferrelo in 1543, who named it Cabo de Fortunas (Spanish for "cape of fortunes"). The cape was renamed to Punta Delgado (narrow point) in 1775 by lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (commander of the schooner Sonora), part of a royal expedition chartered by the government of Mexico to map the north coast of Alta California. Later the point, and the small town south of it were called Barra de Arena (i.e. sandbar) and finally Point Arena (literally "sand point").
Along with a number of other Mendocino County coastal communities, Point Arena is associated with the hippy and subsequent counterculture groups, and its economy is largely geared toward servicing the summertime tourist industry. The city itself is built around a small natural harbor, and is located around a mile (1.5 km) south of the actual Point Arena, a narrow peninsula jutting around 1/2 mile (800 m) into the Pacific Ocean. This is the location of the Point Arena Lighthouse, at 115 feet (34.5m) one of the tallest lighthouses on the West coast of the United States.
The city has a population less than 600, making it one of the smallest incorporated cities in the state. Its main street is actually California State Route 1, California's coastal artery. The highway is famous for some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, which contributed to its designation as an All-American Road. From Point Arena, the highway passes through the cities of Ferndale, Fort Bragg and Bodega Bay before joining with U.S. Highway 101 and entering San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.
As a little girl, driving up w/ my folks to visit my great-grandmother, I couldn't remember the name of the town ... but I would regularly ask, "when are we going back to the one hill town??" - small, quaint, sweet - I love this place ......