Anytime is the right time for reconnecting in Mendocino. With thousands of acres of rugged redwoods, 90 miles of pristine California coastline and enough wine to keep the country of Bhutan buzzed, the opportunity for rekindling romance is off the rails. From off-grid tree houses to eco-recycled water tower suites and a sleek little stay in a vineyard Airstream, check in and check out with these top 12 love shacks for the escapist at heart.
TREE HOUSES & WATER TOWERS
Seeking something iconic with a true Mendo spin? Tucked along the Pacific Coast in Albion, the Hideaway Tree House is an ideal escape set deep in a classic California redwood forest. The one-bedroom loft and southern-exposure deck offers you and yours complete privacy with an indoor fireplace, queen bed and kitchen. You can decamp and unplug with a hike along the outback trails or kick back on the deck or birdwatch in secluded silence.
In the historic village of Mendocino, Sweetwater Inn & Spa steps up with a classic converted water tower originally built in 1872. The Sweetwater Tower puts love on the list with a cozy queen suite, expansive Pacific Ocean views and private access to the Inn’s spas and hot tubs during off hours.
Farther south in the hamlet of Elk (pop. 208), the Elk Forest Retreat steps up with two unique lodgings: The Water Tower and Forest Camping Hut set deep within the redwoods. If you’re seeking a fresh tiny house experience, the Water Tower includes a queen bed, day bed, kitchen and rain shower in the bathroom. The alfresco deck offers complete tranquility among the towering, oxygen-rich trees. If a hike-in is your gig, the Camping Hut offers a more rustic experience with an elevated setting, with a queen bed and an alfresco sink and bath. The hut is accessed by a small forest path making this a true Mendocino adventure. www.shorturl.at/aLMV8; www.elkforestretreat.com; www.sweetwaterspa.com.
CLASSIC CABINS & COTTAGES
Tuck in and take off on an adventure only the wilds of Mendocino can offer. In wine-centric Anderson Valley, the Stoney Bottom Cottage offers a sleek stay in a contemporary outback cottage, complete with vaulted ceilings, two private decks and a full kitchen. Off your deck overlooking an agave garden, the cottage is ideal for star gazing, popping a Mendocino County Pinot or tucking into the fluffy king bed for an extended romp. If you’re seeking a coastal crashpad, along the coast in Gualala, Saint Orres’s Black Chanterelle guest suite is the stop for lovers who enjoy one-stop stays. You can belly up for a round of oysters or seasonal cracked crab at the on-site fine dining restaurant then bed down in the luxurious copper-domed cottage with top-flight Pacific views, a wood burning stove and two-person hot tub.
Set on three acres of floral-kissed gardens, a heritage apple orchard and meandering meadow, the Hummingbird Haven is an ideal outpost if you’re seeking a rendezvous with Mother Nature. The refuge, located in the heart of Mendocino and walking distance to restaurants and galleries, is as serene as it is sexy. The private garden entrance leads to a two-room suite designed with peace in mind. You can clock out to the sounds of the sea and awaken to freshly-baked scones and a selection of sinful locally made jams. www.stoneybottom.com; www.saintorres.com; www.hummingbirdhavenmendocino.com.
Situated on the edge of Jackson Demonstration State Forest outside of Fort Bragg, the Mid-Century Modern-inspired A Frame Cabin is just the stop for romantics with an eye for architecture. The stunning cabin offers south facing decks, a handmade cedar hot tub, sunken living room and fireplace with two bedrooms and clean, contemporary lines. This is classic Mendocino having its moment; you’re “A” list memory maker tucked deep within the redwoods, not an owl in sight.
The true definition of a love shack lies on the Western shores of Mendocino near Russian Gulch State Park. Set back in the coastal redwoods with plenty of modern amenities, this Cozy Cabin steps up with all the lure for your perfect love fest. A full-size bed premium linen, quaint living space for two and easy distance to the renowned Russian Gulch waterfalls is an added plus. Tuck in and tranquil out. www.shorturl.at/sRU79.; www.shorturl.at/jT238.
FARM STAYS & VINEYARD GETAWAYS
If an Airstream above the vineyards rocks your boat, Lichen Estate’s new accommodation is ideal for oenophiles. Lake access, miles of vineyard hiking, a fully-appointed kitchen and queen bed set the scene, with some 20+ wineries laced within the hood. Located a half-mile from the nearest neighbor, your lodging shares space with budding vines, starry nights and the crisp scent of pine … of morning Joe. Wi-Fi is on tap as is a tremendous tasting at Lichen Estate, known for its estate sparkling wines and Pinot Noirs.
Bust out the love vibes in a classic handcrafted barn loft, set on acres of rolling hills outside the enclave of Hopland. This is country living at its zenith, in a stand-alone suite with sweeping pasture views, a fully-stocked kitchen, French doors and alfresco fire pit. The Hopland Loft offers you the epitome of comfort and serenity; soak their stress away in a private hot springs hot tub, unwind to the sounds of resident birds or skip into town for a winetasting or two. The Bunk House in Albion is another experience altogether. This tiny house with a bite size bedroom offers a slice of heaven on a six-acre apple farm, surrounded by old growth redwoods. You can take to the hammock or the outdoor bath for a real rural experience, or strap on the hiking boots and hit the nearby trails. www.shorturl.at/klNW6; www.shorturl.at/djP59; https://www.lichenestate.com/stay/; www.shorturl.at/nLTV9.