Jan 27, 2020
Well, well, well! Spring is once again around the corner. Can you believe it! Many of you might already be thinking of getting outdoors for an extended all day walk, exploration to a new area, backpack amongst the giant redwoods, or camping at the ocean. There is a ‘good feeling’ about car camping; you pull in, unload, set up the tent, blow up your bed, get your sleeping bag to create a cozy sleep area, cook simple food, and just hang out. You talk, sing, make funny skits, or go Snipe Hunting (all of you know about this).
This month I want to give a shout out to the Ocean Cove Store and Campground. The land was surveyed October 18th, 1860 and soon after the store was built by the first owner Dr. Henry Jackson. Dr. Jackson sold to Fred and Anna Liebig who operated Leibig’s General Store for at least two decades. By 1898 the property was sold to W.J. Walsh who gave it the name Walsh Landing. Mr. Walsh was the owner of Salt Point Ranch and established the boat landing, where timber harvested on the ranch and surrounding areas was then loaded from the bluffs onto “Dog Hole” schooners and sent to San Francisco. Hans Dreier, a well-known director at Paramount Pictures bought the property in the late 1920s and built a “get-away” home. He liked horses and beautiful women and hosted “wild parties” which opened the locals’ eyes a bit. He also built the six cabins in the back of the store. He made one movie in the area while he owned the property called Frenchman’s Creek. Later the cabins and campground were well known as a fishing and abalone picking spot.
Tony and Mary Lopes purchased the property from Mr. Dreier in the 1940s and Mary operated the store, cabins and campground for nearly 30 years. Soon after Mary passed away Bill McMaster purchased a portion of the property and later some of the family who still own the property today with great love and care. Also soon after Mary passed away, the Manaro’s became a part of the story when Gary contacted the family inquiring about running the property. And thus began the 40 years for the Manaro’s as caretakers alongside the McMaster’s ownership. Gary Manaro’s interest in running the property was due to his dad who used to bring Gary and his brothers fishing to the cove every year.
Today the Manaro Family is celebrating the 40 year anniversary as caretakers. Gary and his family will celebrate the year with many old time campers who have been coming for over five generations. Gary’s own sons grew up attending Fort Ross School and now helps with the management. One of the big changes coming this year is moving the store, built in 1860’s closer to the campground so folks don’t need to cross Highway 1. Interesting to note is that in a prior renovation in 1970’s a giant poster of Abraham Lincoln for President was found on the wall.
Being a private campground they offer many services that state, county, and national parks cannot do. They can fix just about anything on the spot including a boat motor that won’t start, or an RV that needs attention, or if a boat needs pulled from the water. Most campers are on a first name basis with the Manaro’s. The campground can accommodate all sizes of groups and as well as sizes of RV’s and trailers. Need an extra table, no problem they will bring you one. And the sunsets are free! Check out their new cup created just for the anniversary as well as learn more about the history and services at http://www.oceancove.org/.
For all the events on the North Coast please check out The Gualala Art Center events calendar athttp://gualalaarts.org/category/events
Timber Cove Resort at https://www.timbercoveresort.com
Action network at http://www.actionnetwork.info
Four Eyed Frog at http://www.foureyedfrog.com
KGUA at http://www.kgua.org
Point Arena Theater at https://www.arenatheater.org
I will be offering a lecture about my recent trip to Siberia where I was hosted by the Yakutia people, the Sahka. The history along our coast is tied to this far away land and amazing people. Please join me.
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