Memorial Day Mendocino Botanical Gardens

Yes, yes, I know.  I have posted about the Mendocino Botanical Gardens before.  But, it’s sort of become my muse.  (If I may humbly use that term.)  Right about the time I think I might start get tired of the place I go back and fall in love all over again.  We spent a four-day Memorial Day weekend up in Mendocino and spent the better part of an afternoon exploring the garden and enjoying the hummingbird wars, coastal breeze, roses, veggie garden, golden rod crab spiders (what?), and Dahlia buds.  As I sit in 100+ degree Sacramento heat this week I am channeling the coastal breeze and cooler weather from Mendocino wishing we never came home…

Check out other posts I have done on Mendocino here

Mendocino Guest House Inn

While visiting Mendocino last weekend we finally stopped by the Mendocino/Fort Bragg Guest House Museum.  It was a short and cute little museum.  But, the fun part was the large redwood stump out front displaying rings from almost Pre-Christian times.  We don’t see many trees this large anymore outside of the State Parks that care for them.  But, for those of you who may never have seen anything like this before check it out and then read of the many historic events that occurred in its lifetime.  I have never seen anything like this outside of California, has anyone else?

Memorial Day Mendocino

A week late but here I am.  For Memorial Day we bombed up to Mendocino, Bulldog and trailer in tow.  Our favorite site at MacKerricker State Park was full so we found a superb little private campground within walking distance feeling lucky we found anything at all. The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees all weekend, without a cloud in the sky.  70 degree weather gave way to over 100 degree + weather following.  We enjoyed it while it lasted…

 

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Sorry for the terrible iPhone photo but the bulldog was as excited as we were to go somewhere fun and get out of the heat.

 

We took our favorite local Fern Canyon hike to the full and flowing waterfall at Russian Gulch State Park nearly 7 miles round trip.

We also checked out the Mendocino Botanical Gardens as usual.  So, stay tuned for more flower photos on that…


 

 

Mendocino in the Fall

Fall in Mendocino means mushrooms.  Mendocino is surrounded by ocean, redwoods, and hills therefore the fall colors do not blaze as brightly here as they do on the drive through the wine country to get there from Sacramento.

Mushroom hunting

My husband and I dream of owning property here one day.  But, in the meantime it really does not get any better than camping at MacKerricher State Park.  It is $35 per night and one is surrounded by Redwoods, ocean, Cleone Lake, mushrooms, curious seals, deer, wine cork stealing bunnies, and even a Giant Whale Skeleton on display for kids.

 

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She is smart enough to sniff and walk away!

Looking for seals or wayward sailors

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After realizing she looks a lot like a seal with legs

MacKerricher is my favorite campsite in California located in one of the prettiest areas of California.  MacKerricher sits just north of Fort Bragg.  Fort Bragg is a tough old logging town which is finding its footing with breweries, shops, and tourism.  Fort Bragg has newly renovated its famed Glass Beach formed from years of waves crashing against an old garbage site.  My favorite place to visit in Fort Bragg is the Mendocino Botanical Gardens.  It is and will remain my happy place.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road is the village of Mendocino.  This iconic village is where Eric and I got married five years ago!  (Happy Anniversary to us!)  We relived the big day by having dinner at our favorite restaurant 955 Ukiah Street Restaurant.  The next day we picked up a baguette from Cafe Beaujolais and picnicked on the ocean.

Just north of MacKericher is a beach near Pacific Star Winery where the tide pooling is stellar.  A nice little blue grab game out to assert his domain.

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Mr. Blue Crab

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Not that you can tell with the iPhone but those are seals out there lounging in the sunshine

 

 

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Low tide allows for shenanigans like this

The amazing part about the Pacific Ocean is that we left weather in the 40’s and found clear weather in the 60’s on the ocean.  The weather is typically the opposite of what is happening in the Sacramento Valley.

Happy Fall everyone. I am trying to hang on to the last bit of it before winter takes hold.  Is it cold and wintery where you are already?

Remnants of an old dock at MacKerricher

For further Mendocino and Mushroom adventures click here.

These Boots are Made for Walking

The great blog Where’s My Backpack came up with a fun and unusual Travel Theme of Feet!  One could go all over the place with this theme…my feet, animal feet, statute feet, furniture feet, feats of strength…this gives me an excuse to display some of the random photos I have taken while trekking around…

One thing is for sure.  Apparently, I have nothing better to do than to take photos of my feet while wandering through the world! I suppose these photos tell a story of their own separate from those that were taken directly of the attraction I was visiting.  🙂

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Relaxing in Mendocino

Spring Flower Hiking in the California Sierras

Resting at the top of one of the temples of Tikal

Cooling off in Phoenix

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Boonie Crashing at the Arch of Labna in the Yucatan

Searching for Water in California

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Hot Chili and Cool Cars in Rocklin, California

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Mendocino Mushroom Festival

Hiking in El Dorado National Forest

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Standard Beach apparel – Doran Beach

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Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Edible Mushrooms – Mendocino Mushroom Festival

Having eaten a beautiful and delicious mushroom meal at the Stanford Inn to celebrate our anniversary and the Mendocino Mushroom festival we had one more thing to do before leaving…

The day prior Eric and I had collected some hedgehog and chantarelle mushrooms on our guided mushroom walk.  I cleaned the mushrooms as best I could and kept an eagle eye out for worms.  I washed the mushrooms even though we were told we didn’t need to.  We took our guides advice and sauteed them in a pan with no butter or oil on a high heat.  The water within the mushrooms quickly seeped out and the mushrooms shrunk to half their size.  I dumped out most of the water and continued sauteing.  I added a touch of salt and it was the moment of truth!  Do we trust our guide?  I sent off a text message to some friends at work bequeathing them my unfinished projects and sequined office supplies and dug in.

I am happy to report Eric and I have no ill effects and truly enjoyed our unusual mushroom’s earthy but not overwhelming flavor.  It was something I have never been able to buy in a store and have certainly never foraged on my own before.  This was an excellent way to end our time in Mendocino at the festival.

The Mendocino Mushroom festival was a delight.  It wasn’t a true festival under a tent somewhere that you pay a ticket fee to enjoy.  Rather it was merely a celebration of the mushroom where festival goers can celebrate in their own way.  We spent most of our time outside enjoying nature and the beautiful weather where some could have spent large amounts of money on numerous beer/wine and mushroom pairings throughout the region.

Thank you mushroom for being such an entertaining part of our weekend.  🙂

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Mushroom Festival – Stanford Inn Guided Mushroom Walk

Saturday we came back to the Stanford Inn for a guided Mushroom walk and talk.  A guide brought all sorts of mushrooms she had picked within the last few days to delight us with.  She took us to “Mushroom Ally” a bit of forest in the Jackson Demonstration forest.  She frequents this spot because of the types of trees that grow there which attract edible mushrooms.  Eric and I, along with a small groups of others, walked through the forest for hours admiring mushrooms you can eat and mushrooms that can kill you instantly.  They were in abundance due to recent rains.  If I wasn’t scared enough of mushrooms before I certainly am now.  The only mushrooms we were brave enough to collect were hedgehog mushrooms and chantrelle mushrooms.  (We cooked these babies up the next morning with breakfast and they were delightful!)  The guided walk introduced new types of mushrooms that we did not see the day before at MacKericher.  We saw many of the same mushrooms but a large group that only appeared in this forest due to the types of trees that grew here.  Not to mention I think the guide had a better idea of where to look.  It seems she has special mushroom vision glasses on if you ask me.  Or she just knows where to look and what these mushrooms look like since many of them are rather camouflaged.  It was delightful to be out in the cool wet forest with a purpose.  Mushroom hunting was unusual and something I had never considered before.  I would do it again in a heartbeat probably leaving all of the specimens where I found them though.  It turns out many mushrooms look alike and can only be told apart by smell, whether they are slimy or not, whether they have spines not gills, whether they bruise blue and all sorts of rules that are difficult to remember.  I will just go with photographing them in the future!

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A few mushroom facts:

*Mushrooms should never be eaten raw otherwise one may develop a mushroom allergy. (Even the button ones in the grocery store we commonly put in salads.)

*Mushrooms should be cooked without oil, the water within them will cook out and then they are ready to eat.

*Almost never eat a mushroom that is orange or red.

*Most mushrooms are full of maggots, gross.

*Our guide maintains mushrooms don’t need to be washed rather just brushed off.  I washed mine anyway…

*Hollywood should make a movie about killer mushrooms if they haven’t already because they are scary and aww inspiring.

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Mushrooms encountered on our walk through Jackson Forest with a mixture of true names when I can remember them and made up names when I can’t!

Gummy Jelly mushroom – edible.  Grows on dead wood.

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Purple Death cap.  (One of the prettiest colored ‘shrooms out there.)

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Orange coral! (Coral…tell me this doesn’t look like it belongs under water.)

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Red coral! (As if orange wasn’t pretty enough red coral is all over the place…)

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White Coral  (White and close to white anyway.)

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Orange Buttons of Death

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Pigs Ear Mushroom – edible as long as there aren’t worms! (I have to admit this one didn’t look too appetizing.)

 

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Purple and slimy.  These babies will definitely kill you and anyone you have ever met if eaten.

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Bright orange blades of grass.  Mother nature is a creative lady!

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Mendocino Mushroom Festival Part Two – Stanford Inn Mushroom Dinner

We made reservations Friday night at the Stanford in for the Mushroom dinner.  It did not disappoint.  The Stanford Inn is a Vegan restaurant so having a five course mushroom dinner seems apropos.  The photos are a little dark because the room was a little dark.  But, please enjoy the menu, the mushroom “bacon” flat bread, mushroom “clam chowder”, mushroom risotto with chantrelle, and candy cap mushroom creme brule.

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Mendocino Mushroom Festival – Day one

It’s no secret Mendocino is special to me.  Eric and I took our first real camping trip to MacKericher State Park, my favorite place to camp in all of California.  And he and I got married in Mendocino.  Mendocino is also home to the best baguette in California at Cafe Beaujolais! 🙂 We go back any chance we get probably camping there at least twice per year.  This year we decided to celebrate our anniversary attending a festival I have always wanted to visit…the Mushroom Festival.

We arrived on a friday and set up camp.  If you have never been to MacKericher you have been missing out.  I will surely blog all about it another day.  But, one of the awesome things about this coastal campground is its forest.  And in November this forest comes alive with mushrooms.  The mushrooms make the coast and the forests mystical and interesting.  And while I might lament the lack of fall colors for only a second they are totally crowded out by fall mushrooms.  We even had multiple mushrooms right in our campsite.

Before going anywhere for the festival we embarked, with Amelia in tow, through a large grove of forest that is parallel to the ocean.  The mushrooms were overwhelming and plentiful.  And since it is a state park no one was able to pick them.  There were tiny delicate mushrooms, large red dangerous mushrooms, mushrooms with personality, mushrooms that looked like they could kill you, blankets of mushrooms, mushrooms that could win the prize for largest mushrooms, mushrooms that could take the prize for smallest mushroom, mushrooms that looked like candy, and mushrooms that looked like they were freaks of nature.  Anything you want, this forest did not disappoint.  At this point, we were totally uneducated on what any of the mushrooms were called and if any of them were safe to eat.  

Stand by for part two of the Mushroom festival to come soon…