Drive! Take PCH and experience the breathtaking scenic route from LA to Mendocino.
Located on the coast of Northern California lies the charming town of Mendocino. Explore this picturesque area by tasting local wines, admiring the ocean-side botanical gardens, hiking the rugged trails that wind along the coast and through the pines, or canoeing the pacific waters. Its natural beauty and adventurous outings make Mendocino your next perfect getaway. Escape the city, pack up the car and road-trip to this captivating town.
What makes Mendocino so quaint is its cozy accommodations. For a rustic retreat book your stay at Brewery Gulch Inn. With its salvaged redwood foundation, natural earth tones and luxurious rooms, this inn resembles a lavish cabin giving guests the perfect place to unwind. Each room enjoys an ocean view and every evening guests can indulge in wine hour which features a light dinner buffet and local beers and wines from award-winning vineyards in Lake Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
For lodging that is fun for the whole family-including pets-reserve a room at Little River Inn. This victorian-style stay features white cottages with whimsical porches and rocking chairs to match. All are welcome to experience everything that Little River Inn has to offer. Tee off at the Inn’s nine-hole golf course with a view of the Pacific at each hole. Or relieve any tension at the tranquil day spa and finish the afternoon by whale watching with a martini in hand at the Inn’s bar. Feeling adventurous? Wander the 225 wooded acres with your furry friend.
One of the most unique things about Mendocino is its natural surroundings of the waves crashing against the cliffs and the serene Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens that overlook it. This agricultural attraction spans 47 acres abundant with ponds, both manicured gardens and hidden pocket gardens, coastal pine forests and bluffs decorated with wildflowers. These unique gardens are one of very few public gardens in the U.S. that overlook the ocean and with Mendocino’s mild climate the gardens are the perfect home to unique species that cannot survive in many other locations. These world-class plant collections include rhododendrons, conifers, camellias, heaths and heathers, and many more. In addition to the gardens, families can admire the gazebo and spend time with their kids at the playground. Those wishing for a more quiet afternoon can delight in a picnic on the lawn or be on the lookout for the array of bird species that inhabit the gardens. Year round the gardens are a coastal treasure that you don’t want to miss.
On your way to Mendocino treat your palate to an assortment of wines at La Crema’s new, stunning estate located in the heart of Sonoma County. Guests can taste a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, a Rosé of Pinot Noir and a “Sweet As” Gewürztraminer. The estate is inside a repurposed barn from the 1900s. The multi-tiered barn is a charismatic place to sip on your wine while gazing at the surrounding vineyards. La Crema is the gift that keeps on giving. Continue onto Healdsburg for La Crema’s new modern, sophisticated tasting room and savor the popular Pinot Noirs with their notes of coffee, cherry and sweet spice. Walk down the block and you’ll stumble upon the Hartford Family Winery Tasting Room. Sample their award-winning Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels or have them artfully paired with local artisan cheeses.
With rolling hills and a crisp climate it is no surprise that Mendocino too bears incredible vineyards. Winemaker Jeff Hansen started Lula Cellars in 2010 with the mission to handcraft deluxe wine but at an affordable price. Sourcing exclusively from vineyards in Mendocino county, his collection includes Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Dry Gewurztraminer, Rosato and Sauvignon Blanc. Visitors must try his 2012 Mendocino Pinot Noir which is a double gold medal winner.
Come full circle and enjoy all that Mendocino has to offer at Cafe Beaujolais. Before getting a table enjoy the Beaujolais garden which is brimming with exotic plants and edible flowers which you may later recognize in some of your dishes. Don’t forget to pass by the brickery and spy the bakers kneading fresh bread for the day. Inside the sweet cottage we suggest trying the Duck Two Ways with caramelized onion buttermilk spätzle, sautéed Beaujolais garden greens and local blackberry jus lié. No meal is complete without a glass of wine. Take a peek at Cafe Beaujolais’ extensive list of over 100 wines several being from Mendocino.
Originally published at medium.com