Jughandle Creek Farm: Not A Commune.

This is Jughandle Creek Farm. It’s right across Highway 1 from Jughandle State Park. And it is NOT a commune.

At least, according to the caretaker, who just moved here from Arizona, and who seemed particularly focused on crushing any rumors of hippies, tie dye, or free love associated with this establishment. In the interest of continuity, we’ll call him Dennis.

Jendocino: So I read that this place is one of the oldest known communes in Mendocino County...

Dennis: No, no, nope. Not a commune.

J: I’m confused; didn’t you host a big conference for The Commune Project and the Mendocino Institute?

D: Yep. Big success.

J: But you yourself are not a commune.

D: Right.

J: Ummm...

D: See, in the early 60’s, some environmentalists pooled their money and started buying up property along this section of Jughandle Creek because they wanted to preserve it. These are young people we’re talking about, and they didn’t have many resources, so they lived together in the farmhouse. Some of them built the cabins you see, and lots of them lived in tents. They were industrious, too. Had to be. They supported the entire community on the farm here by establishing a dairy and one of the first organic gardens in the area.

J: So, hippies.

D: No, no. They were industrious.

J: So industrious environmentalists who bought property together, lived together, worked together, and developed the land together.

D: Yes!

J: But not a commune.

D: Exactly.

Today the Jughandle Creek Farm calls itself a nature retreat with youth-hostel style accommodations. They work closely with youth on coastal restoration projects and they raise lots of native plants for the state parks.

Overnight guests stay in rooms in the farmhouse and are welcome to use the farmhouse kitchen to cook and prepare food harvested from the garden - just so long as they put in an hour or two of work in the garden, too.

The sign above reads, “Share the work, share the harvest.”

Hey, Jughandle Creek Farm - your commune is showing!

“Jughandle Earthworks.” A Jughandle door handle.

They have tent camping here for about twelve bucks. Beautiful campsites with the beach and the Jughandle State Park right across the road. Or, for $35 you can stay in one of the rustic hippie cabins on site like the one pictured above.

For the same price you can get a room in the farmhouse (interior pictured here). Either way, you have to share a bathroom, share the chores, and make your own bed. But don’t worry; it’s not a commune or anything.

Jughandle Creek Farm: Gateway to Ecological Staircase and Reserve; Training Site for Restoration and Monitoring; Nursery for Native Plant Restoration Projects; Nature Education Center for Schools and Youth Groups; Historic Farm; Inexpensive Overnight Facility for Nature Lovers; Retreat for Family Groups and Agencies; Music Gatherings and Benefits; Nature Day Camp; Community Forum Meeting Place; Wedding Site; Not A Commune.

Maybe an autonomous collective?


  1. Such a great piece, Jen. So interesting...and (yet again!) what great photos. Perchance some publisher might pick up your blog as a guide to Mendocino and its surrounding area (as and when you get more entries in)? I'd certainly consult it -- totally fun, well-written and informative!

    BTW, this is Shefali :) (whitesocks!)

  2. Thank you, Whitesocks! Those are some very kind words! I'm working on fleshing the site out over the next month or so, then I'll see where I want to take it. To be honest, I'm having a lot of fun with the idea that not very many folks are paying attention to my little posts out here in the wide, wide world of the interweb - at least for the moment. It really frees me up, and I find I'm much less concerned with what I post - an artistic blessing, if you ask me. After all, if only two or three people are looking, who cares how kooky I am? However, I have considered promoting the site once I have more content. I also want to invite guest contributers. So be ready for that request, whitesocks! I'm thinking you would be good at a subversive limerick of some kind...