A marmalade morning here at our house. While we were in Mendocino we walked through the old wooden framed screen door of the Mendocino Jams and Preserves Shop and found ourselves in what felt like a corner of a well stocked pantry and kitchen. The shop is at the end of the walk so she has sunlight from sunrise to nearly setting and sea breezes from two directions. Like many of the shops along Main Street, this was once a small house. I asked the owner how long she's been in business here. 38 years. The house was converted to one large display and sales room in front and a smaller room in back for the canning.
Along our drive up the coast we saw much evidence of how badly these remote, secluded communities of this Northern California coast have fared in this depression we've been in since '08. We haven't ventured further north than San Francisco since before the crash, having our own economic downturn. Although the news is full of recovery announcements, we didn't see much evidence of that in towns like Gualala and Point Arena, or even Bodega Bay. They've changed and many of the businesses and places we'd patronized and stayed at have shuttered windows and doors. In some places it appears the entire population has recycled. Gone are the old hippies that used to hang out on the sidewalks and doorways looking colorful and slightly menacing. Small places like Olema and Point Arena don't seem quite as arrogant in their insularity.
Mendocino seems to be holding itself together. The community has a history of banding together for the protection and preservation of the village. Through their efforts back in the sixties and seventies the town, or village, of Mendocino was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In 1972 Proposition 20, the Coastal Zone Conservation Act was passed. This act protected the coastal zone environment and maximized public access to the coast. At the same time the State Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the land for the Mendocino Headlands State Park. The town is also designated as a Historic Preservation District of Mendocino County. The folks living in Mendocino have strict preservation rules, but they have a community that is sustaining. We talked with one resident who told us of some members of the community who wanted to put even tougher restrictions on life in town: they wanted to ban cell phones from within the town limits. They're not banned, but we had a "no service" message on our phones the entire time we were there. It was land lines if a call needed to be made.
In bocca al lupo. m & v