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Micro-Trip: Village of Mendocino to Lost Coast

36 Miles

2 Nights

Photo Courtesy of Brendan McGuigan

Gallery hopping, inspired dining

Tucked along the Pacific with a sweet New England-style visage, Mendocino, a Designated California Historic Landmark, is the stop for gallery hopping, renovated lodgings and inspired dining.  Break the drive with a hike to Devil’s Punchbowl at Russian Gulch State Park then stay in a vintage water tower, retro inn or classic B&B. South of town the stately Brewery Gulch Inn is the call for romance, or go off-grid glamping at the 37-acre Mendocino Grove. Have dinner at nearby Ravens at the Stanford Inn featuring a plant-based menu and deep wine list. As the sun rises, book a canoe trip up Big River at Catch-a-Canoe or a sea kayak cave adventure nearby. If you’re looking for more outdoor adventures join MendoParks and California State Parks for a series of self-guided whale education during the Gray Whale migration!

Photo Courtesy of @Alliarayne

Rest and reboot

Slow walks, art galleries, rest and reboot. The village of Mendocino is just that, topped with quirky bars, heady hikes and quaint walkways packed with adventure. Pop in for a night at the uber-sleek five-room Blue Door Inn, historic Joshua Grindle Inn, Alegria or Raku House or water tower suite at Sweetwater Inn, old school hot tubs onboard. Stroll the headlands fronting the sea, scout Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, or knock back a few at Dick’s Place, an institution along Main Street with legendary Bloody Marys.

Panoramic views with cocktails

All cuisines are represented here with a plenty of standouts. Set in a water tower, Flow Restaurant is the stop for panoramic views backed with a custom cocktail. On the kitschy side, the new Fog Eater Café specializes in Southern fare with a vegan twist, pleasing both palate and pocketbook. A stop at Patterson’s Pub is always in order, belly up for the most delicious pub grub and the best stocked bar north of the Golden Gate. Trillium Café offers a fresh garden setting with entrees spanning short ribs to bouillabaisse and nearby Café Beaujolais steps up with classic French bistro cuisine, a heady beer list and wood-fired pizzas on weekends.

Noyo Harbor Inn

A lively harbor scene

Next it’s on to Fort Bragg, a once sleepy lumber town mounting a renaissance with new lodgings, lively harbor scene and wealth of retail and museums. The Arts & Crafts-style Noyo Harbor Inn is perched on the harbor overlooking the Noyo River, its 15-rooms featuring deep cherry wood and commanding views. After a restful night at the ocean front Beachcomber Motel take a beach cruiser and trek along the trestle of 10 Mile Beach or take a bluff side walk through Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Dine on local crab while seals and sea lions vie for basking space on the docks at Noyo Harbor. Lunch at Princess Seafood, run by an all-female crew and fishing operation. Take a tour around the harbor with Captain Dan on his electric boat or head out on the high seas to snag salmon, albacore and other creatures of the deep.


Offbeat outings

This is where you catch the historic Skunk Train or, for an offbeat outing, snag a seat on the new railbikes (seasonal). These pedal-powered vehicles set on the working rail line tracing the Pudding Creek Estuary through stands of pristine redwoods set deep within Mother Nature’s den. A stroll through town delivers Triangle Tattoo & Museum, one of the few museums in the world dedicated to the display of tattoo artifacts. An offbeat afternoon might include trekking out to Pacific Star Winery for a tasting overlooking the sea and heading north to the Lost Coast’s entry point, the 2.3 mile Peter Douglas Trail, for a moderate hike among the surreal ancient candelabra-shaped redwoods, Roosevelt elks on board.

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