A Man Made Blunder Turns Wonder

seaglassblue.jpgEvery time we are in Mendocino we find ourselves at Glass Beach. It's just up the road in Fort Bragg and is the most interesting State Beach Park I've been to. We happened upon it accidentally many years ago and now the kids beg to spend every waking minute of our vacation time there.

Starting in 1949 garbage was dumped into the ocean in and around the Glass Beach area. We're talking old cars, miscellaneous household items and lots and lots of glass. This went on until 1967 when it was finally realized that dumping trash into the ocean may not be a good idea. However, by then so much refuse had been dumped, it just became kind of an aquatic graveyard.

Amazingly, mother nature took over. After years and years of grinding and pounding in the waves of the rocky coast, Glass Beach was born. These rocks and millions and millions of pieces of glass sit on top of the sand. No spot is left uncovered. There is enough sea glass to fill millions of wheelbarrows and there would still be some left over.

It is washed up on shore and remains there day after day. You could sit for hours just sifting through the spots right next to you. It is seriously one of the most renewable pleasures you can participate in. Every shape is interesting and a lot of the pieces still have words or decorative edges on the worn down glass.

seaglass_crabs.jpgYou can see spark plugs embedded in the rocks. These are everywhere and come from the dumped cars left over from so long ago. I have seen full engine parts wash up here, and all kinds of strange things from the sixties.  There are even ceramic dinner plates stuck in the rocks. Some with still beautiful and funky patterns.

Of course the hooligans are completely fascinated with the tidepools.  They are on the hunt for starfish, crabs, hermit crabs and sea snails. They never have a problem finding a plethora of interesting sea life here. Here are some of their finds. Amazingly we left with only one bloody finger from a crab pinch. That's a record. They do catch and release.

See the blue pieces? Those are from Milk of Magnesia bottles back in the day when they were still made of glass. Blue is the most elusive and sought after color of all the sea glass found there. Overall, it was a perfect day at the beach.


Cathy is currently in the development stages of her vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at noblepig.com.