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Frolic Cove (aka: Pottery Cove), Northern California

Posted by Jody on November 11, 2011

Frolic Cove is one of our all time favorite Pacific Coast finds.  Simply put: It’s an amazing, peaceful, rocky cove bordered by very small patch of sand, nestled within the  beautiful steep bluffs of the Northern California coast. In the cold waters off shore rest the remains of the Frolic. The Frolic shipwreck site is “one of the best preserved mid-nineteenth-century shipwrecks in California.” (CA State Parks)

Frolic Cove, Northern California (©Jody Diehl)

Frolic Cove, aka: Pottery Cove, Northern California (©Jody Diehl)

The brig Frolic ran aground on a submerged reef and sank off the Mendocino County coast on July 25, 1850. It was on the final leg of its trip to San Francisco, having sailed all the way from China with 135 tons of cargo. The ship and its cargo of Chinese goods destined for the market in San Francisco were lost beneath the turbulent seas. The Frolic wreck now lies in Pottery Cove just northeast of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. The Frolic is a unique gold rush era cultural resource, and its sinking is a particularly interesting story that involves many of the major events of mid-nineteenth-century California. The Frolic site was nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.” (California State Parks)

Sadly, it appears that this beautiful, secluded spot may soon be unavailable to the public, as Frolic Cove lies within the boundary of the Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park (map). This historic park, an absolute coastal treasure, is scheduled for closure by the State of California no later than July 1, 2012.  Be sure to visit Frolic Cove if you can, while you still can!

We’re going to keep our fingers crossed!

A Good News Update on December 2012: This coastal treasure remains open to the public with limited facilities and reduced services.  Please check the park’s website for further updates.

Click here for more on the Frolic and the Frolic Cove Project from California State Parks.

4 Responses to “Frolic Cove (aka: Pottery Cove), Northern California”

  1. We live on the Mendocino Coast, three miles north of Fort Bragg and love walking along the Haul Road at the edge of the beach on Mackerricher Park land every morning. I asked a friend who’s working hard to prevent the closure of the park around the lighthouse about the potential that the cove and beach would be closed to the public. She said, “No. There’s no way to close it.”

    • E.G.D. said

      Here’s knocking on wood! It would be an absolute tragedy if they really did close it. Do you think your friend would be interested in writing a guest post? It sounds like she would have some good, strong information to share, and I for one would love to have an update. Thanks for sharing her quote! -E.G.D.

  2. For a more extensive history of the Frolic you might want to visit the Point Cabrillo Light Keepers website. The site contains an extensive history of the Frolic and the light station in general.
    Here is the link to the site:

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