Being a regular reader of Chez Us, you know that we normally do not write about traveling, as often as we should. We do love doing it, and do it often. Maybe we should change that for 2012? Recently we decided to jump into the car and take a jaunt up to coastal Northern California. Four hours north of the Bay Area, nestled on top of weather beaten bluffs lies Mendocino; our destination for some quite time away.
We started out early in the afternoon to avoid traffic and to take advantage of sunlight. Though we have done the drive on 101 north many times, this day was exceptional, maybe because we excited about the solitude that awaited us. The sunshine was filtered, and the day was crisp. The vineyards along the roadways were still barren from winter’s death. But, it was still beautiful. Two hours into the drive, our road began to wander towards the coast. The climate became cooler as we submerged ourselves into redwood forests. Still equally as gorgeous as moments before. Our timing into Mendocino was perfect as the sun was just beginning to dip into the sea.
Our home away from home for two nights was the Stanford Inn. The resort is located on a hillside, right before entering the village of Mendocino. It is an eco-friendly property that also happens to be pet-friendly and vegan. As soon as we walked into the lobby with it’s roaring fireplace we felt at home. The check-in staff was more than accommodating from showing us to our room to giving suggestions for dinner that evening. We were anxious to take advantage of the sunset and our gorgeous room, so she excused herself with a gentle smile and good-bye. Nevertheless, we felt there was a strong sense of community at the property and we were eager to check it out the next day.
Our room was modern while still having log-cabin charm. The walls are made of knotted pine, which gave the room a gorgeous amber glow, and a beautiful fireplace kept the evening cozy. Views were from a picture book as smoke gently circled the night-time sky above the resort. There is nothing like the smell of a wood burning fireplace on a crisp, winter evening, to say romance. I loved the wood paneled bathroom that was cozy and reminiscent of a sauna in a Swedish lodge. We had picked up a bottle of wine and picnic supplies on the drive up, so we decided to take advantage of the fireplace and the view from your room. So far the Stanford Inn was proving to be very romantic.
We woke up early the next day, so we could take advantage of what the property had to offer. After grabbing a two cups of coffee, we took an early morning. The grounds of the property are lush and green with views abound. We found an indoor pool that was inviting us in with it’s warm steam, gardens that produced some of the vegetables that they use in the restaurant as well we bumped into a couple Llamas. It was peaceful; us, morning birds and the sound of the waves beating against the bluffs.
After our morning jaunt, we dined on the complimentary breakfast that is served in the Raven’s Restaurant. The Raven’s Restaurant is in the hotel and offers casual dining with views of the Pacific. We were anxious to introduce our taste-buds to the vegan cuisine, and were not disappointed at all. The coffee was richly roasted and the tofu eggs even had us fooled.
There are many activities to keep busy at the Stanford Inn; something for everyone. There is an abundance of hikes and biking trails, literally out the front door of the property. The property has mountain bikes that you can use free of charge; just think, one less thing to pack. If, that is not your idea of relaxing, how about wine tasting? Mendocino county is known to have some of the oldest organic vineyards in the US, Fetzer being the best known. Or maybe that book you brought has been calling your name; why not hit the spa for a massage and facial before getting cozy next to the fireplace in the lobby. If someone said they were “bored” at the Stanford Inn, then the real problem was their lack of imagination.
If, you can tear yourself away from the romance of the Stanford Inn, then jaunt down to Mendocino Village. It is quaint and historical village, that still has the charms of yesteryear. The Pacific ocean rumbles below the bluffs and creates amazing views from every standing angle. Park your car and just wander around taking in the cute shops, coastal galleries and delicious restaurants. There is a little something magical for everyone.
Looking for a getaway this spring? It is whale watching season along the Northern California coast right now, and if you are looking for a chance to get away from it all, we definitely recommend the Stanford Inn and Mendocino. The Stanford Inn will make you feel at home, and the charming town will keep you interested for days. Be sure to check out the specials page as the Stanford Inn is offering some great packages right now. Who knows maybe we will even bump into you!