Sonoma / Mendocino Part II: Sea Ranch & South

From there, it was further down the coast to the community of Sea Ranch. Laid out in the 1960s by the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin with buildings by architects including Charles Moore and Joseph Esherick, Sea Ranch is a pilgrimage site for San Francisco architects (and architectural tourists). It is incredibly unwelcoming to visit if you are not staying there or on a tour, however. The roads are private and marked as such. Our sorry-looking rented car with 120,000 miles on the clock (yes, really) would have been a dead giveaway that we didn’t own oceanfront property on the California coast so we stuck to the public ocean access trails and dropped into the Sea Ranch lodge.

A view of the lodge from across the fields:

Sea Ranch, California

The sea nearby. The wind was blowing so hard I nearly lost the camera:

Sea Ranch, California

Portions of the lodge itself are going to be torn down as part of a development being undertaken by the new owner:

Sea Ranch Lodge

Even the public toilets are done in the “Sea Ranch style”:

Sea Ranch Public Toilet

From there it was south to Jenner, where I encountered one of the windiest beaches I’ve ever set foot on. There were seals with their pups at the end of the beach but I never got close enough for a particularly good photo. The beach itself is spectacular:

Jenner Beach

After an overnight stay in Guerneville, it was on to see Armstrong Redwoods State Park. The Armstrong Tree, the largest in the park, is one of the key attractions:

The Armstrong Tree

It’s a spectacular park and nowhere near as crowded as the parks closer to San Francisco (like Muir Woods). I assume it’s probably more heavily used on weekends or in the summer but if you’re in the area it is worth a visit.

Armstrong Redwoods State Park

By Mark

Mark is an architect in San Francisco.