Ryan & The Amazing Murals

OUR STORIES

Ryan & The
Amazing Murals

Part artist, part engineer, part craftsman, Ryan possesses a skillset that is at once highly creative, analytical and practical.

Ryan’s co-workers at Braggadoon Signs & Graphics gave him the moniker Mentalist for his otherworldly ability to pull off extraordinary feats of technical prowess. But less supernatural, though no less wonderful is Ryan’s artwork. Trained in oil painting and adept at large canvases and murals, his painting style evokes imagery that is at once classical and surreal. Inspired by surrounding seascapes and forest vistas, the spirit of Fort Bragg and the North Coast bubble to the surface in Ryan’s current work. And yet, it’s also his technical skills that allow him to move easily from conception through production to installation. It’s a rare and sometimes seemingly otherworldly combination that makes him such a valuable member of the team at Braggadoon, an accomplished artist and has earned him a position at the very the center of the artistic community in Fort Bragg.  ryangrossman.com

Rise

Local Tip:

Ryan’s downtown Fort Bragg murals can be seen at the corner of Redwood Avenue and HWY 1, and his latest at 301 Redwood Avenue at the corner of Redwood and McPherson.


Anna Neumann and The Harbor

OUR STORIES

Anna Neumann
& The Harbor

Head down to the Noyo Harbor and treat yourself to the catch of the day right off the boat it came in on. While you’re there, say hello to Harbor Master Anna Neumann. From a childhood in Morro Bay that ingrained a love of the sea, to an advanced degree in fisheries policy, Anna isn’t just another bureaucrat who doesn’t know her stuff. She’s sailed the sea, spending two years fishing commercially with the women from The Princess to earn her way through school and loved (most) every minute of it.

A Safe Harbor For All

Her experience at sea taught her a lot about the fishing culture, specifically how the health of the harbor contributes directly to the health of the local economy. She’s working to reeducate the community that they can buy directly from fishermen right off their boats, the ultimate sustainable sea food. Anna wears many other hats, renting out the 256 slips that are the harbor’s main source of income. She’s also a grant writer and project manager. But her most significant role is in supporting all aspects of the fishing industry and ensuring the Noyo Harbor is safe in every sense of the word.

Jack of All Trades,

Master of One:

The Noyo Harbor

Local Tip:

The Noyo Harbor Fish Market at South Harbor opened in April and runs on the second Saturday of the month through September.


Tristin, Grant & Helping The Kelp

OUR STORIES

Tristin, Grant
& Helping The Kelp

A thriving nearshore ocean ecosystem is crucial to maintaining wildlife on land and at sea. Today, that ecosystem is in danger along much of the Northern California coast. In just under ten years, a ‘perfect storm’ of warming oceans, loss of apex predators, and the subsequent proliferation of the voracious native purple sea urchin has decimated 96% of kelp forests on California’s North Coast.


Beautiful Earth & The Amazing Minerals

OUR STORIES

Beautiful Earth & The Amazing Minerals

Gary Mason has been collecting rocks since he was a little kid. But, trust us, Beautiful Earth is no junior geologists rock collection. And Gary has gone from a kid with heavy pockets to teaching college labs in minerology, geology and chemistry. But it’s his truly awe-inspiring shop full of every kind of mineral imaginable that you have to see to believe. A visit to Beautiful Earth is like walking into a museum, gem store, jewelry shop and prehistoric history classroom combined. Who knew you could come to Fort Bragg and come home with a Megaladon tooth.

Gary And Rob
Bring Stones To Life

There’s more to all of these beautiful rocks than meets the eye and, besides Gary, Field Paleontologist Rob Sula is often on hand to tell each incredible story. Ron studies the late Cretaceous period, so, if he’s not in the shop, he’s probably out somewhere rummaging among the bones of dinosaurs that lived over 66 million years ago. His travels take him to some of the most important geological digs in the country. But if you catch him at Beautiful Earth, he or Gary would be more than happy to send you home with a gift or keepsake with a timeless story to tell.

“I was retired and needed something to do. Now I live 5 miles from the ocean and get to work with what I know and love.”

– Gary Mason


Heather, Wendy & Princess Seafood

OUR STORIES

Heather, Wendy
& Princess Seafood

Whoever said that a bad day fishing beats a good day working probably never spent a week at sea in 40 knot winds. But that’s not a completely uncommon work day for the fisherwomen of Princess Seafood. And yet, with everything they have going on in Noyo Harbor, Wendy Holloway and Heather Sears might tell you that the fishing is the easy part. The Princess’s Empire, once just Heather and a small boat, now includes The Princess herself, a 42-foot freezer trawler, a full, all-female crew, a fish market and a new restaurant right on the harbor.

Female Fishing Royalty

It’s been quite a ride for Heather, who started fishing with her father off California’s Central Coast as a young girl. At 21 she bought her first boat and worked her way up to The Princess. Now she, Wendy and the rest of the crew fish what the seasons offer out of Fort Bragg. That can mean anything from salmon to Dungeness crab, tuna, ling cod, halibut, sablefish and, well, you name it, they’ve caught it.

Everything they harvest from the sea has long been available fresh from the Seafood Market. But the new treat is the Princess Seafood Restaurant, now serving harborside meals in the Old Django’s Rough Bar location.

“We got the prime spot on the harbor. Now you can eat fresh fish on our deck as you watch today’s catch come in.”

– Heather Sears

Local Tip:

You won’t find a fresher seafood special than what’s on the menu board at the new Princess Seafood Restaurant in Noyo Harbor. Choose from 12 beers on tap while tapping your toes to live music every Saturday and Sunday.


Sally & The Pacific Star Winery

OUR STORIES

Sally &
The Pacific Star
Winery

Who says you can’t have a winery right on the ocean? As it turns out, lots of people said just that to Sally Ottoson. And yet, that didn’t deter her from leaving her winemaking job in Napa Valley to found Pacific Star Winery. Perched on a beautiful bluff above the ocean, about 12 miles north of Fort Bragg, Pacific Star is like a slice of serene coastal paradise. So, pull up a chair overlooking the ocean and let Sally and her incredible staff treat you to a uniquely delicious array of rare and unusual varietal wines.

Aromas of fresh ocean air with notes of Pacific coast sunshine.

In a nod to her immigrant past (her family settled here from Scandinavia in 1861) Sally sources heritage varietal grapes with deep Californian roots. You may not be familiar with Charbono, Carignon or Tannat, but Sally blends them into the most delightful and delicious wines you’ve probably never tasted before. “It’s a sensory experience,” she’ll tell you, which certainly rings true. Pacific Star Winery will delight all your senses with wonderful wines, whales that roll through right off the rocks, a spectacular setting, cool ocean breezes and warm hospitality. 

“It’s about happiness.
If you’re not happy when you get here,
you will be when you leave.”

– Sally Ottoson

Local Tip:

Prep a quick picnic by running into Roundman’s Smokehouse to build your own charcuterie platter which pairs perfectly with the It’s My Fault White Blend. Oh, and, yes, well-behaved dogs are more than welcome on the beautiful grounds at Pacific Star.  


Derek & The Magic Murals

OUR STORIES

Derek &
The Magic Murals

You can immediately become acquainted with Derek DiOrio’s work when you stroll through Fort Bragg’s downtown. He is the artist behind the street banner series and the accompanying Walking Tour of Fort Bragg map – available at most downtown businesses and Fort Bragg hotels. He is the designer behind that campaign and many other notable commercial projects in the North Coast area.

Originally from New England, Derek migrated to the North Coast for college at Humboldt State, where he studied the visual arts. This migration west led him up and down the coast of California including Los Angeles, to South America and Europe where he painted murals along the way. When it felt time for his nomadic chapter to end and the desire to put down some roots began, he landed back on the North Coast. As Derek frankly puts it, “I came for the ocean, but I stayed for the people.”

Derek describes a tightly knit and unpretentious community of artists and makers of many kinds in Fort Bragg, from woodworkers to butchers to painters and cobblers, that feels like one big extended family. Derek’s art has taken flight over the last few years – his commercial graphic design projects and his multiple other artistic pursuits in painting and woodworking. He has a small fishing boat and studio space and wood shop in Westport, just north of town. “I chose to base my life on where I wanted to be and what makes me happy, and to make the artist’s life work, no matter what.” Which he seems to be doing well at, while making a name for himself among the North Coast artist community.

“There are so many things in this tiny community that is an art form. It inspires me to want to work with my hands more and pursue different artistic paths. Artists, and all people, want to have the space to pursue what they are passionate about. You can do that here. It’s freedom.”

Local Tip:

Visit Derek’s murals in central Fort Bragg: on the alley that transects E. Redwood Avenue between Franklin and MacPherson Streets, and another mid-way along the Coastal Trail.


Steve & Roundman’s Smokehouse

OUR STORIES

Steve & Roundman’s
Smokehouse

How did an aerospace instructor in Silicon Valley end up running a butcher shop in a small city on the North Coast? “It’s Fort Bragg,” says Steve Rasmussen, Co-Owner of Roundman’s Smokehouse and Butcher Shop. “I use to ride my motorcycle up here for vacation. And if you can work where you love to vacation. That’s a good thing.” Yes, that’s a good thing for Steve. But it’s really good for everybody who lives and visits Fort Bragg.

Bringing Home the Bacon

Don’t be fooled by the relatively modest storefront. As Mendocino County’s only USDA-approved and inspected meat processing company, Roundman’s is a substantial operation and a local institution. They offer a wide selection of fresh meats, all of which are hung for aging and butchered at the shop on Main Street across from the train depot. According to Steve, “We source meat out of Covelo Valley which is a few valleys over, and we do our own smoking of sausages, fish, poultry, cheese and hams. It’s very oldschool.” Roundman’s also offers a rotating selection of sausages made by an employee named JB who Steve calls a “sausage artist.” But then, ultimately, it’s going to come back to the bacon. “Our bacon is very basic,” says Steve. “Just salt and sugar, we use celery for curing, it doesn’t overpower, there aren’t a lot of chemicals so you can actually taste the pork.”

“I just love the area. The people and the businesses. It’s such a wonderful place. People say thank you, and they smile and they hold the door for you. There’s no better place in the world.”

– Steve Rasmussen

Local Tip:

Roundman’s offers custom cut and wrap processing for pork, lamb, goat, elk and deer (but not bear). Plus ask about Covelo beef liver treats and smoked or fresh bones for your dog.


Megan & The Lost Coast

OUR STORIES

Megan &
The Lost Coast

Megan Caron is founder and proprietor of Lost Coast Found, a vintage and found object curiosity shop that offers an abundant inventory of vintage housewares from the US, Europe and beyond along with a carefully curated collection of books, California pottery, records, cameras, art glass and small furniture.

Having grown up in a house full of antiques, Megan has been collecting vintage for most of her adult life. Fort Bragg, at one time had many antique and second hand shops but by a few years ago, when Megan was looking to start a business, they had mostly gone. So the time was ripe for Fort Bragg to gain a new vintage shop. Megan was ahead of the game and ready with a garage of cool old stuff.

Having moved away as a teenager, she returned with her family in 2016 and has never looked back. The impetus for her return was the dismantling of the Georgia Pacific Lumber Mill. With that monstrosity removed, the downtown community was able to view its own stunning coastline.

“Like other former industrial towns it’s been given a rare opportunity to reinvent itself. I think we have an amazing foundation on which to build from. It’s going to be interesting, That’s why I’m here.”

Local Tip:

Adjacent to Lost Coast Found is the Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics, a DIY museum created by the late self-taught experimenter, artist and outsider curator, Larry Spring. Well worth the visit to learn about his life’s work and about this very interesting member of the North Coast pantheon of characters.


Mikael & The Golden West

OUR STORIES

Mikael &
The Golden West

The Golden West Saloon palpably holds down the fort in central Fort Bragg. It is an understatement to call it iconic, with its venerable wood-carved bar running the length of the room, walls covered in memorabilia, high coffered ceilings, and pretty much everything else that any respectable saloon should have. All boxes are checked on that list.

Holding Down the Fort

As regular patrons themselves of the Golden West back in the early 2000’s, current owners Jessica Morsell-Haye and Mikael Haye, loved the 130 year old establishment, it’s rich history and significance to Fort Bragg, and actually talked and dreamed of owning it one day. They were living in Petaluma in 2013, where Mikael bartended and took care of their first child, and Jessica commuted to a job in the fashion and textile industry in San Francisco – when they found out the saloon was up for sale. 

“History gives a place soul. The old materials and aesthetics were made to last. We love that we can see where an old wall was built to section off the bar during prohibition. Stories come alive when you can see the marks they left on their environment.”

—Jessica Morsell-Haye

Local Tip:

Every Tuesday afternoon is Taco Tuesday at the Golden West. It gets going early afternoon and lasts until the tacos run out.