All posts by susan

Fort Ross and the Sonoma Coast

Thursday morning the family woke up at six thirty to drive to the Sonoma coast. Emma was going to be a visitor at Fort Ross to be part of a historical immersion at the site of a Russian settlement from the 1800s. The settlement also included native Alaskan sea otter hunters and native Californians who along with the Russians lived and worked at Settlement Ross. Emma was a native Californian woman named Kobbeya who was a cook and she was dressed the part in a linen top, brown flannel skirt and shawl. She wore lace up boots and straw hat to round out the look. At ten a.m. we met with her charter school friends and teachers at a camp near Fort Ross and then they all hiked to the fort together.

At this point maiki and I were relieved to have delivered Emma on time and realized we now nine hours to spend exploring the area. Everything was so beautiful it was hard to take it all in.

Our first adventure was to drive to Russian Gulch. We walked on a covered path to the beach.

The beach was covered in pebbles large and small. We ate some apple muffins and Russian tea cakes and discussed getting tea next. We saw three turkey vultures on the cliff and we were surprised and how noisy the waves were when they receded back across the pebbles to the water.

Next we drove to Jenner and visited a cafe on the Russian River called Aquatica. I enjoyed a hot spicy chai latte with oat milk whilst sitting on an adirorndak chair by the river.

We drove to the Jenner nature preserve for a bit of hiking. The views of the Pacific were gorgeous. Sadly I did not spot any whales.

We attempted to visit a winery but it was open only with prior reservations. We tried to find the Russian River visitors center but we never found it. Instead we visited the small village of Duncans Mills and went in all the shops. I bought two herbal teas, Honey Dew and Winter Solstice.

We ate focaccia sandwiches we had brought and watched some episodes of Ted Lasso. We bundled up again to watch the setting sun.

We drove to Fort Ross as the light disappeared. maiki had to navigate the twisty Hwy 1 yet again and realized we would drive home in complete darkness. The fort was a ways from the parking lot and we followed a path to the walls of the fort and found the entrance. The militia characters allowed us in and we found Emma. She was so happy and so tired. The others were spending the night and each group of children would stay up round the clock for a two hour night watch. Already they used only lanterns to light their way.

On the drive home Emma would tell us how beautiful the ocean was when they hiked in. She found a small round sea urchin shell by the water. She churned butter and cooked everyone soup over an open fire. She loved it very much but was glad to be sleeping in her own bed. It was the first time she said that she experienced the sun rise and sun set in the same day.

artwork of Mary Blair

I have long admired Mary Blair. She is best known for the art and animation work she produced for the Walt Disney company. Her vision for Alice and Wonderland has always been my favorite but every piece is beautiful.

Fun fact: Mary Blair was born the same day as Emma Clover, just 100 years earlier. We will visit Disneyland at the end of the month to celebrate Emma turning ten years old. We are so excited but disappointed that It’s A Small World will be closed again. At least Emma can see Mary Blair’s fantastic clock.