Tuesday, 27 September 2011

living the dream

Crescent City and Fort Bragg are rather sad, sprawling towns, that are suffering a creeping post industrial death. This coast alternates the old working towns, once dedicated to logging and mining, and the little places that have long been resorts – like Yachats and Mendocino, still doing rather well for themselves. The industrial towns are trying to reinvent themselves – tidying up their ‘historic’ centres and improving access to the coast – but they suffer many vacant lots, boarded up shops, and fenced off stockyards. Those businesses surviving are mostly budget outlets and tired strip malls strung out along the main highway.
Crescent City has something going for it despite this, though. There is a drive out to Point St George, where you can see way out to sea, the coast’s best lightouse; the huge sandy sweep of the bay that gives the city its name, and the even bigger sweep of the Coast Ranges north and south of there. Best of all, in our quirky view, though, is the Curly Redwood Lodge. This motel was built from a single redwood tree in 1952, every bit of the structure and much of the d├ęcor. It is a stylish design from the golden years of American motel culture. The owners have obviously taken pride in maintaining this – they have subtly maintained and where necessary replaced ‘in the manner of’ – so it feels like you are walking straight into the world of Mad Men. This is a place to re-live the Dream. So next time you’re in the area: guys, slick back the hair and slip on the drainpipes; girls, grab yourself a beehive ‘do and petticoats; beg borrow or steal a Cadillac El Dorado coupe, and get on down there!

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