Anchor Bay

Coast by Anchor Bay, California

A popular hamlet between Gualala and Pt. Arena is Anchor Bay. It’s actually called a “census-designated place” with a population of about 340. There’s been a family-owned campground in a redwood-filled gulch there since 1925, with access to a half-mile beach. The place is “popular for fishermen, beach combers, divers, and sea kayakers.” Interestingly, there are 27 overnight camping spots (4 in the redwoods and 23 at or on the beach) and 40 owned spots!

“On the bluff top above the beach, connected by a short trail from the campground,” the campground website explains, “the little resort village of Anchor Bay provides most of our camper’s needs.” (Now that’s a campground-centric point of view!) “The Anchor Bay Store is an organic based grocery store, White Cap is a locals favorite for coffee and pastries, and restaurants include both a Thai and a Mexican restaurant.” There’s also a coin op laundry mat, yoga studio, hair salon, and a massage therapist. The photo on the left shows what you see from Highway 1. I need to explore and find out why people like this little spot so much. You can’t tell passing by on Highway 1 that there are homes going up into the woods, but this video gives a birds-eye view: https://www.facebook.com/100001564841212/videos/3026398887686742/

Close by is St. Orres, a 50-acre “coastal sanctuary” which “echoes and honors the romantic Russian heritage of the Area.” Originally called the Seaside Hotel, built in 1929, the hotel had a general store where the dining room is now located. “There were gas pumps in front, as the original highway passed just a few feet to the west of the hotel. Upstairs were 10 rooms, mostly used by loggers in the summer and fisherman in the winter … Five small cabins were scattered around a meadow behind the hotel.” In 1971, three guys from Marin bought the 28 acres between there and Gualala and brought their families to live in the cabins and one partner, an architect, developed what is now St. Orres. I couldn’t find any photos of the old hotel that came before.

To explain the name, the property was homesteaded in the 1830’s by George St. Ores whose family had immigrated from Russia via Canada. He came to the area as a designer and builder of apparatuses involved in getting redwood lumber onto ships.

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