You may need to unplug to reboot due to a fast-paced lifestyle, increased stress factors or worries over an ever-lingering pandemic. Authentic experiences in off-the-beaten-path locales are in high demand and nowhere is the Rx more ideal than Mendocino County — the first county in the nation to ban GMOs and “America’s Greenest Wine Region,” the region boasts a geographic playground laced in health-inducing natural assets from ancient redwoods to 90 miles of pristine California coastline. Add to that artisans and innkeepers well steeped in the benefits of a low-stress lifestyle and the link to longevity looms large.
WELLNESS ROMPS & RETREATS
If you are so inclined, launch the reboot romp with a visit to the new Bohemian Chemist, a vintage Art Deco apothecary and spa offering a bespoke lineup of notions and potions. Located in wine-centric Anderson Valley, this is the stop for upscale sun-grown flower, edibles and tinctures, a luxury facial or stockpiling Watermelon Rancher, Saturn Citrus or the ever-popular topicals with a focus on terpene-rich products to promote rest, relaxation and a mind-body reboot. www.thebohemianchemist.com
There are also plenty of hotel properties worthy of a winter visit. Two Wellness Retreat weekends are on tap at Mar Vista Farm + Cottages, set in Anchor Bay on nine expansive acres laced with organic gardens. Retreats (set for February 4-7 and March 3-6, 2022) include daily morning meditation, core wellness programs from the practice of forest bathing to beachside yoga, daily breakfast baskets with fresh farm eggs and evenings rife with stargazing, campfires or a solo session in the Japanese soaking tub. Set along scenic Highway 1, the rustic outpost features eleven vintage cottages with fireplaces and a sensory throwback with farm animals and Mother Nature set at full throttle. www.marvistafarmandcottages.com
As you head north on Highway 1, the Little River Inn’s new Wellness Package puts rejuvenation front and center with a two-night package including a 90-minute massage and seaweed body scrub for two, two-hour relaxation session for two with a doctor of Chinese medicine and acupuncture and two tickets to the seaside Mendocino Botanical Gardens, for a meander by the sea. www.littleriverinn.com/wellness-package
Practicing the Danish mindset of Hygge, the contemporary Arts and Crafts style Brewery Gulch Inn steps up with a two-night escape focused on cozy contentment and well-being through the enjoyment of life’s simple things. A recipient of Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 10 Hotels in California” award, this is your stop for cocooning in comfort with crashing ocean views, inspired locally-sourced organic cuisine and ten top drawer digs. Day treks include a deep dive into nearby ancient redwood groves, horseback riding along the surf and sea kayaking if you’re an A type. Available Sunday through Thursday, the Hygge Package features a 20 percent discount or 30 percent discount for an extended five-day adventure. www.brewerygulchinn.com
For the ultimate escape by the sea, you should check out the Stanford Inn by the Sea, which offers a mind-bending array of health and wellness-oriented programs. The New Year Wellness Package reboots with awareness, attention and intention at the 41-room retreat set on 10-acres overlooking Mendocino Bay. The New Year Wellness Package includes a four-night stay with a curated program designed by the Wellness Center Director. Activities include daily yoga, meditation, outdoor activities and three meals at the award-winning, organic plant-based Ravens Restaurant. www.stanfordinn.com
If budget is a foreign word, trek 12 miles north of Fort Bragg to the 2,000-acre private ranch and Inn at Newport Ranch. Here you can take a deep dive with the new Restorative Wellness Retreat package, which includes a private 75-minute yoga session, two-hour guided walk with meditation and 60-minute couple’s Swedish massage with a two-night minimum stay. Situated with a nearly two-mile perch over the Pacific, this is the last frontier with a vantage seldom seen. Nine guest suites grace the property, as well as a hot tub aptly perched atop the water tower for the ultimate chill down. www.theinnatnewportranch.com
Relax in luxury at Glendeven Inn, where they’re offering a wellness basket when you book your stay. This wellness package includes The Little Book of Yoga (with poses), tea from Flying Bird Botanicals, EO Lavender Body Lotion, and a large sachet of Glendeven-grown Lavender. It’s an inviting stay in a beautiful setting for a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience. www.glendeven.com
Sometimes all a good mind and body reboot requires is a good long soak. Enter California Landmark No. 980 – better known as the champagne mineral baths – off Highway 101 near Ukiah. Vichy Springs Resort and Spa, a 700-acre facility boasting America’s only warm and naturally carbonated Vichy mineral baths (and Olympic-size pool), is the perfect remedy for your tired soul. You can bed down in the historic Blue Cottage (1852), hike to Chemisal Falls or take to the creek side baths like a lime in Perrier. www.vichysprings.info
For a throwback to old Mendocino, Orr Hot Springs is the stop. Located next to Montgomery Woods State Park in the back country, this 27-acre bucolic escape is the real deal. You can delve into a secluded mineral bath, opt for two communal tubs set between 104–107 degrees or snag one of two stargazing tubs located atop of the bathhouse building. The enormous cold pool, a 15 by 60 ft., spring-fed plunge built into a rock sidewall set at a delightful 65–75 degrees, offers the ultimate chill down. If you are seeking a detox duo, the dry sauna and constant-flow steam room, from the same water source, does the trick; massage is also available. Orr offers 23 guest room cottages including six stand-alone yurts and cabins. www.orrhotsprings.org
MINGLING WITH MOTHER NATURE
Sporting 24 national and state parks, as well as a cache of spirited treks tucked deep within ancient groves and along 90 miles of pristine coastline, Mendocino County offers the ultimate tapestry for trekking. Whether it’s taking to the Japanese trend of forest bathing or simply beating a path, one of the more remote redwood sanctuaries is Montgomery Woods State Reserve. This is your personal nature’s cathedral with a mind-blowing mix of gigantic virgin redwood spires shooting high in the canopy, past flying buttresses and enormous treetops soaring more than 350 feet. The eye-popping fern forest, flush with a sea of giant green fronds reaching for the sky, taps one’s imagination as well. A trail follows Montgomery Creek upstream to five virgin redwood groves, crisscrossing the tranquil stream with a three-mile moderate walkabout and plenty of spots to recline and reflect. www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=434
Ideally located in the wine-centric Anderson Valley with 25+ tasting venues, the 845-acre Hendy Woods State Park puts things into perspective with two first-growth redwood groves and spectacular 1,000 year old, 300-foot trees towering over the Navarro River. Here, you have immediate entrée to 80 acres of stunning scenery with an easy all-access Discovery Trail making a bathing experience effortless. Drop into Big Hendy — the grand dame of cathedrals — for some one-on-one time with Mother Nature at her naked best. Follow the river through a flat trek of giants, stocked with quietude on delivery, for the ultimate blood pressure drop. Hug a tree then hit the Hermit Hut Trail for a peek at the original forest bather. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=438
Truly the final frontier, Smithe Redwoods State Natural Reserve lays claim to a 665-acre ancient redwood site with instant access to the breathtaking Frank and Bess Smithe Grove of virgin redwoods. Given it’s a natural reserve, the park is managed to minimize human impact, thus there are no campsites, carved trails or parking lots, simply a pull out off Highway 101, just four miles north of the town of Leggett.
Set along the South Fork of the Eel River, Smithe is the stop for immediate access to trees so large and mature the understory is minimal, providing a classic “cathedral” experience long associated with old-growth stands. Now is the time for you to tap into the 60-foot Dora Creek Falls, providing an option for a cool dip to cap the bathing process. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=427