3 Days in Mendocino
For my birthday last weekend, my husband whisked me away for a dreamy, romantic getaway to Mendocino. Our three-day vacation was filled with coastal hikes, wine tasting, ocean breezes, and way too much amazing food. We were blessed with unusually warm weather and a lack of tourists - allowing us to fully savor the region's small-town charm and natural beauty. This was my first trip to Mendocino, and its sleepy ambiance, farm-to-table culture, and epic scenery stole my heart. I can't wait to return !
stay - glendeven inn
I love the phrase "it's all in the details" - which to me is about taking that extra step to make something perfect, and the adorably rustic (yet luxurious) Glendeven Inn thinks of all the right ones to make your stay as magical as it is comfortable. The historic inn boasts scenic ocean views, serene gardens, nature trails down to the water, and llamas roaming the property. We were greeted with fresh brownies and champagne, and every morning farm-fresh three-course breakfasts were delivered to our room (featuring goodies like baked apple crisps, warm flaky croissants, zucchini breads, and garden vegetable soufflés.) There's a daily wine hour featuring the local vineyards, and sunny lounges with sherry and cookies. The wood-burning fireplaces are remade daily, so when you return from your long day of adventuring, all you have to do is light a match.
A 4-minute drive from the main town, Glendeven is centrally located near all the beaches and local sights to explore. There are only 10 rooms on the property - each with their own unique personality and design. The personalized, intimate feel of the inn is matched by warm and attentive service; one evening the owner came out to pour our wine and serve us tapenade toasts, drizzled with oil from the local olives he'd helped pick. The inn's biweekly Shared Table dinner is also a unique, amazing dining experience (description below.) I can't imagine a more magical experience for my birthday, and will be returning again next year for my wedding anniversary. Glendeven Inn, 8205 North Highway One, Little River, from $235/night.
see - point cabrillo light station
Point Cabrillo Light Station is part of a California State Historic Park, with over 270 acres of wild, coastal bluffs and coves. You can reach the petite red-roofed lighthouse by foot on easy hiking trails (from the parking lot, the flat pavement route is about 1/2 mile, and the dirt path through the grassy terrain is a bit longer.) Point Cabrillo Light Station, 45300 Lighthouse Road, Mendocino.
see - glass beach
At the north end of Fort Bragg lies Glass Beach, littered with shiny, shimmering sea glass. The beach was an active dump site from the early part of the 20th century through 1967. Over time, the pounding waves broke down and molded the glass into smooth, colorful stones. While it's sad to think of the site as a former dumping ground, it's beautiful to see how nature can re-transform it into something beautiful. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg.
see - mendocino town
The tiny town of Mendocino is filled with rustic farmhouse architecture and darling shops, featuring local jams & preserves, art, textiles, and home pieces. You can hole up in a cozy cafe or wine bar with a fantastic view of the ocean, or explore the coastal bluffs (headlands) bordering the town. Visit Mendocino.
eat - shared table
Every Thursday and Saturday, Glendeven Inn hosts a Shared Table dining experience. Between 6-12 guests share a table to enjoy a superb four-course dinner with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Our dinner included butternut squash with cider, kefir cheese, and black lime. Meyer lemon tagliatelle with kohlrabi, maitake mushroom, rye, and koji-cured egg. Heritage pork tenderloin with black truffle, parsnip, and brussel sprouts. And heirloom apple with vanilla, buttermilk, and piloncilo. The optional wine pairings were excellent, and the conversation with strangers was as compelling as the food. You don't have to be a guest at Glendeven to enjoy Shared Table, and I definitely recommend this experience ! Shared Table, 8200 North Highway One, Mendocino. $65/pp dinner, $25/pp wine pairing.
eat - trillium cafe
Trillium Cafe lies in the heart of Mendocino village - a sunny, cozy cafe with warm wood paneling and a fireplace. We were lucky that the weather was warm enough for us to sit outside on their deck, where we could appreciate the sound of the water fountain, their beautiful garden, and incredible views straight out to the ocean. The California cuisine menu is fresh and delicious; we liked it so much we returned for lunch the next day as well ! Trillium Cafe, 10390 Kasten Street, Mendocino.
eat - cafe beaujolais
I had my birthday dinner at Cafe Beaujolais, a California French restaurant in an old 19th century farmhouse. The interior is simple and elegant, the cuisine sourced from local organic ingredients. We dined on NY striploin with pumpkin puree and bordelaise jus, and dry-aged duck breast with huckleberry gastrique. As she brought my champagne, the waitress sprinkled the table with colorful, metallic "happy birthday" confetti. Cafe Beaujolais, 961 Ukiah Street, Mendocino.