Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Trip: Fort Ross State Historic Park

Located about 20 miles south of The Sea Ranch is the Fort Ross State Historic Park.  We made a trek down to the park when we had one of our bicycle guests who was taking a rest day. We had just received our annual park pass and figured it was time to put it to use. Also, this is one of the places that I grew up within a few hours of and have passed dozens of times, but never stopped.

Fort Ross was a  Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841 that was chartered by Russian government. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California's cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Settlers included Russians, Native Alaskans and Californians, and Creoles (individuals of mixed Russian and native ancestry.)

There are both original and reconstucted structures. The craftsmanship is pretty incredible. The entire park is set on the bluff, with fabulous views to the ocean and small inlet, below. They also do historic reenactments at the park, which could be pretty neat to see.

Things to know before you go:
- $6 day use fee
- Nice interpretive displays
- Bookstore
- Picnic benches
- Check schedules, as they have had limited hours due to budget cuts

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