A Russian fort and a beach made out of glass

Tuesday, September 1 ~ Crescent City, California

Fort Ross

Fort Ross

Did you know that there used to be a Russian fort on the California coast? I know I was surprised to learn about it. 

I’ll back up just a little to yesterday mid morning. We were driving north along Shoreline Highway (Highway 1). Tim and I were getting hungry and decided a late breakfast sounded good. There were not many options to be found along this strip of the coastline, but I spotted a place called Russian Restaurant #1, right at the bridge to cross the Russian River.

When we entered we had the place to ourselves (never a good sign). We asked if they served breakfast, and were told they would be happy to fix us something to eat, “What would we like?”

I said that an omelette sounded good, so the “chef” (I am using that term very loosely), headed off to the kitchen. I asked what kind of omelette he was going to fix, and we agreed on a vegetable one.

Sitting at the table, I got a chuckle out of a note on the table:

A Russian Viddle

A Russian Viddle

While we waited for our breakfast, our server who appeared to be stuck in the hippy era, told us about the Russian Fort (Fort Ross) just about 10 miles further up the road and suggested we check it out.

As it turned out, she was from Russia and had only been in the USA for about two months.

Well, the food was served, but what we received was more scrabbled eggs with a few veggies stirred in. It was just so-so if I am being kind. When it was time to leave, we did not get a bill. Instead we were instructed as per the sign to leave a donation if we so desired.

An interesting concept. Too bad the food was sub par.

An interesting concept. Too bad the food was sub par.

We decided to take a look at the fort as we passed by and arrived just in time for the 12:00 noon tour.

Back before California was a state, Great Britain ruled British Columbia which then extended down to what is now the Southern Oregon border. The Spaniards controlled Mexico and up as far as San Francisco. That left the area that is now Northern California as kind of no mans land.

The fur trade was BIG business then and furs brought a lot of money. They could also be used to trade for other goods from around the world.

When the Russians found out that furs were plentiful in this area, especially the much valued sea otter, they established Fort Ross, a trading post/fort along the coast.

FUN FACT: The average human head has about 1,000,000 hairs on it. The average sea otter has 1,000,000 hairs per square inch!

We both enjoyed the tour, seeing the storerooms, outbuildings, lodgings, workrooms, offices and chapel. There are currently tours at noon and 2:00 pm.

This slide show will show you some of the site:

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I still had one more stop planned for the day, and one of the main reasons I had chosen this route north. I wanted to see Glass Beach.

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Located in Fort Bragg, there are actually three Glass Beach sites where trash was dumped into the ocean from 1906 until 1967.

“The pounding waves broke down the glass and pottery and tumbled those pieces into the small, smooth, colored pieces that often become jewelry quality and that cover Glass Beach and the other two glass beaches (former dump sites) in Fort Bragg.” ~ Wikipedia

What a treat! I know from talking to locals that it is not as spectacular as it once was as much of the most colorful glass has been carried off by visitors over the years, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it none-the-less.

The glass was still very plentiful at the bottom of the steep stairs down to the beach (warning: there is no handrail). I reached over and picked up a random handful and it was almost exclusively polished glass. It is prettiest where it is wet.

Just a random handful

Just a random handful

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GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for randomness. Had we not stopped at a random restaurant, we might not have learned about the Russian fort. Had I not reached down for a random handful of beach rocks, I might not have realized that it was almost exclusively made out of glass.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in California, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A Russian fort and a beach made out of glass

  1. salpal1 says:

    I have heard of that beach, but not that museum. Good find, but sorry you had to have a sub par breakfast to start it off. can’t wait to see where you wander next. 🙂


  2. Ginny Schaw says:

    Are you still in our area? Come by and say hello!


  3. I just love the randomness of travel. We’ve received some of the best travel advice – and gained wonderful memories – because we’ve started conversations with generous people we’ve met along the way.

    I’m enjoying this latest journey of yours. I have been up and down Highway 1 many, many times, but we mostly end the trip not too far north of Marin County. I think a road trip all the way to Oregon, and maybe Washington, is definitely something we should plan.


  4. neihtn2012 says:

    Glass Beach! Who would have thought?


  5. I got married in Mendocino. For all of our guests I put together little welcome baskets. For the kids I gave them little containers of glass form glass beach. The kids loved it! Its nice that garbage has turned in to something interesting and fun and pretty.


    • Great gift idea for your wedding. I’m bummed that you can no longer take the polished glass from the beach, but I understand that they want to keep what is left for everyone to enjoy. The locals told us that it used to be more colorful but I still thought it was amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Merrill says:

    When the Russians were giving up their fort there John Sutter bought most of it (cannon, uniforms, etc.) to bring to his fort in Sacramento, CA.


  7. Neat places! I have heard of the glass beach but haven’t gotten there yet, but I had no idea about Fort Ross. That places looks very interesting. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. RuthsArc says:

    Such a fascinating post. The glass beach is wonderful.


  9. I loved how Mother Nature turned our trash into something beautiful.


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