Meandering in Mendocino...

The Village of Mendocino's start is a rather unique one and all because a ship crashed on its shores. It was 1850 and the brig Frolic, sailing to San Francisco from China, did not make its destination. It crashed on the rocks nearby. Men came north to salvage the cargo- but none was left (that said, the indigenous people were dressed in the finest Chinese silk gowns). Instead they found magnificent stands of redwood forest as far as the eye could see. By 1852, a lumber mill was built and soon the lumber boom town of Mendocino.


We delighted in the gardens of driftwood flowers and the real kind of flowers, too.

Our main goal was to meander the quaint streets and learn a little history, armed with a walking map.
The Presbyterian Church (1868) is a historic Carpenter Gothic-style structure built of coastal redwood. Its setting, on the headlands overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is spectacular. Today the church has an active congregation; is one of the oldest continuously-used Protestant churches in California and is the location where our friends, Chris and Jan, got married many years ago. Gorgeous!
We found another place of worship to be very interesting. Dedicated to the Chinese god of war, a Taoist symbol of integrity and loyalty, the Temple of Kwan Tai (1854) offers living evidence of Mendocino's 19th Century Chinese community. The history of the Chinese people on this coast is complex and intriguing.
Four generations of its founders' descendants have preserved this original Taoist temple, a site now recognized as California Registered Historic Landmark No. 927. Its mission is to teach and celebrate community and diversity.
Big in this town is the popular television series (1984-1996), Murder She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury (as Jessica Fletcher), filmed in Mendocino County. The fictional town, Cabot Cove, Maine is actually Mendocino. All of the dock scenes were filmed in Noyo Harbor, where we are staying for the week (last photo).
While on our history stroll, we discovered the darling Gallery Bookshop, an independent bookseller in an 1872 building. In the window was this sign, for a Book Club Night- TONIGHT. The timing and subject matter were perfect. After returning to our camp for dinner, we then drove the 10 miles back to Mendocino for a delightful evening of book chat.
Hosted by the owner, Christie, and Jenn Ramage of Random House Publishing, the evening was spent in the company of other bibliophiles, all sharing their favorite books, book club stories and ideas for making our own book clubs even better. Jenn shared twelve books she felt would make great reads for our book clubs. One of the things I enjoy most about a book club is how it introduces us to titles we never would have chosen on our own. They push our literary limits and I love that. This night was a perfect event for me.
And this was the view that greeted us when we returned to our campsite. Pretty special!

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