Located where the Gualala River empties into the Pacific Ocean, Gualala has always been a commercial hub for the area since its inception in the 1860's. It began back then with a hotel, a saloon, and a lumber mill or two. Logging the local redwood trees became especially profitable after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when huge amounts of lumber were needed to rebuild the city.
Timber was the reason one made the trek to Gualala back then. And that trek wasn't an easy one. In fact, from the the Bay Area, one came by train from Sausalito to Duncans Mills, then up through Cazadero and the high meadow country and then down to the coast at or near Stewart's Point. Wells Fargo ran stage coach service, including Western Union.
The coast road started to really take shape in the 1920's, but it was still dirt. One had to open and close a dozen or more farm gates to make the journey from Jenner to Gualala until the State of California took over responsibility for the coast road in the 1940's. The journey today by car (on paved road) takes just over 2 1/2 hours from the Golden Gate.
All manner of commercial services are found in Gualala, including two grocery stores, a pharmacy, two hardware stores, a small medical center, a veterinary clinic, and many choices in restaurants and shops. (Please visit our concierge window for more info.)
Many locals call Gualala home, going back several generations. As the work demographics changed from timber to tourist/visitor, the local work force changed with it. The development and construction of The Sea Ranch, as well as southern Mendocino County, has mandated the need for many contractors, skilled laborers, and professional service people to keep the local economy and the communities running smoothly.
Blessed with a mild maritime climate, Gualala and her neighboring coastal communities enjoy an idyllic, cool climate. At coast-side, the temperature rarely exceeds 75 degrees in summer and rarely dips below 32 degrees on the coldest winter mornings. Flowers bloom 365 days a year. English flower gardens are a pleasant diversion along our coast with all manner of roses, heathers, herbs, flowering trees, etc. For those wanting to experience occasional summer heat, simply move up into the coastal hills about 900 feet. On the warmest days, temperatures may exceed 90 degrees near the coastal ridge tops.
Many want to know.....how does one pronounce the name of the town? Actually, there are two accepted pronunciations by locals. The one most often heard is with a silent "g".... wa'LA'la. The other, less often heard but still accepted, is using a soft "g"....gwa'La'la.