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101 Things Mendocino

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All About the Beach



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The beautiful, laid-back village of Westport perches on bluffs 80 feet above sea level, approximately 28 miles west of Hwy 101 and 13 miles north of Fort Bragg. During the redwood lumber boom, for a while it was the fastest growing coastal town north of San Francisco. It served as a busy commercial shipping harbor, with two massive wharves loading lumber as well as wool, oats, tanbark, shingles and railroad ties into schooners bound for San Francisco. At its peak Westport boasted 14 saloons.

Just south of Westport were two other bustling lumber towns, Newport and Kibesillah. They only existed for about 40 years, from 1867 to the early 1900s. During their heyday it was hard to imagine that their future would be anything but bright, but in the long run their harbors proved too difficult and dangerous to be viable. The beginning of the end for them came in 1885, when lumber operations moved to Fort Bragg. Today not even a ghost town remains to mark where they once stood.

These days, residents settle in the Westport area seeking a strong sense of community and an escape from the harried pace of city life. Visitors find a charming windswept seaside village with a bluff-top park suitable for picnics, volleyball games and weddings, where a bustling shipping yard once sat.

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