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This was my first visit to Mendocino, and truth be told, I was excited about exploring this part of California. However, I must confess I under estimated the beauty, charm, and tranquility that Mendocino has to offer.  I vividly recall conversing with the hotel I stayed at, and the woman mentioned in her email how excited she was for us to explore this little slice of heaven- truly the most fitting description. Mendocino is an incredibly unique place that I can certainly envision returning to. This heavenly haven offers farm-to-table dining, breathtaking ocean views, chic boutiques, and majestic redwood trees. The thought of residing in this serene community even crossed my mind. I felt incredibly safe, and overall it was a stunning and special place that I’m thankful to have explored and spent time in. Mendocino is truly an ideal destination to disconnect, reflect, and immerse yourself in all the beauty it offers. 


This experience varies based on your starting point. Having driven up from Los Angeles, our 8 hour journey led us to arrive around 3pm. On our initial day, we focused on unwinding and savoring the comfort of our hotel room and the surrounding views. Given that, a significant portion of our first day was dedicated to recuperating from the drive and embracing relaxation. Personally, I always like to have ample time to unwind and explore without feeling rushed. Therefore, I recommend planning at least three nights in Mendocino. Three days allows for leisurely exploration, moments to relax, and the opportunity to embark on a day trip to the Redwood Parks if interested. 


Mendocino, being a smaller town, has limited public transportation options. Exploring Mendocino is best done by car. This offers convenience and scenic beauty. Driving will allow you the freedom to leisurely uncover hidden gems off the beaten path, and take in scenic viewpoints at your own pace.


Nicholson House

Whether you’re seeing a romantic retreat or a serene place to disconnect, Nicholson House is an ideal choice! This charming boutique retreat that will transport you into a fairy-tale getaway. Every aspect of this cozy and chic hotel exudes romance. Situated at the heart of the town, you’ll be steps away from shops, restaurants, and stunning ocean views. Nicholson House seamlessly blends modern amenities with charming vintage accents. Our stay in The Spa Suite (room #7) was a real treat, featuring a spacious balcony, ideal for coffee and tea moments, a cozy fireplace, a luxuriously comfortable bed, a walk- in steam room and shower, and a stunning clawfoot soaking tub. I must mention that the heated tile flooring was among the numerous outstanding features of my stay. Additionally, Nicholson house extends a warm welcome to your four- legged friends, making it an ideal option for those who love dogs. I can’t wait to return in the Spring or Summer, where I plan to bring along my two dogs. 


  • Skunk Train is an enchanting journey through the redwoods. You’ll pass through scenic bridges, redwood groves, and panoramic views. For specific details, check their calendar. They were closed during my visit. I’m definitely looking forward to this experience on my next visit. 
  • Explore Russian Gulch State Park for a few hours, with a $8 parking fee for the day. The park offers a wealth of beauty. Begin your journey at The Russian Gulch Bridge view point, providing dramatic coastal views. Continue to the Headlands Trail for breathing taking ocean cliffs and a sink hole. Don’t forget to venture into the Fern Canyon Trail, a 5.3 round trip hike through majestic redwood forests that leads you to a beautiful waterfall.
  • Take a stroll around the town and explore the unique boutiques featuring fine art, books, locally crafted home goods, jewelry, home furnishings, and innovating clothing . Among my favorites are: Folklore; The Study Club, My Chic Farmhouse, and Nahara Healing Arts. 
  • Penny Royal Farm: Penny Royal farm is located in Anderson Valley on the route to Mendocino. Despite the rain on our visit, the farm showcased its stunning beauty. A family-owned sustainable farm, dairy, and vineyard, Penny Royal produces its own wines and cheeses. My experience here included a delightful wine tasting complimented by the most delicious cheeses. The farm also provides tours that allows visitors to meet their charming farmstead.
  • Portuguese Beach: Is a dog friendly beach situated in the Headlands State Park. This is the perfect place for a coastal beach walk. The trail forms a 3 mile loop, and during low tide you can access the beach through a picturesque set of wooden stairs.
  • The Madrones is a Mediterranean estate nestled amidst vineyards and redwood forest in Anderson Valley. This charming compound comprises two tasting rooms, an elegant hotel, a wood- fired pizzeria, and an herbal apothecary, The Bohemian Chemist focuses on locally sourced- sun grown cannabis. They also provide seasonal tours. 


The Waiting Room: The Waiting Room is next door to The Nicholson House. Guests staying at this cozy accommodation will receive a complimentary voucher for each day of their stay. The Waiting Room offers delicious baked goods, a well as a variety of coffees and teas. This cozy coffee house features a fire place and nostalgic elements, such as a vintage record player and albums. Some personal favorites include the fresh Blueberry galette, Almond croissant, and the Goat Cheese artichoke galette. 

Pattersons Pub: Pattersons Pub is a quintessential Irish pub, This local gem will instantly make you feel right at home, embracing you with a warm welcome. The pub exudes a sense of comfort and hospitality. You can’t go wrong here, the food, drinks, and people are fantastic. Our favorites here were the fish and chips, calamari, and the clam chowder. 

Little River Inn Restaurant : Little River Inn is a charming coastal restaurant located at the Little River Inn Resort. Indoor dining offers ocean and garden views and the garden patio is cozy and pet friendly. We nearly tried everything here! Some of my favorites were the clam chowder soup with real steamed clams, the fresh fish Basa and chips, and the Kale and Brussels Caesar salad. Don’t miss their mixed berry cobbler, absolutely mouthwatering! You’re experience here will leave you with a sense of warmth and comfort.

Luna Trattoria: Luna left me utterly impressed. The moment you enter this enchanting garden, it transforms you into a romantic oasis offering an incredibly delicious and authentic Italian dining experience. During our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting the owner, who shared that his recipes are authentic recipes from his home town in Bologna, Italy. Our entire meal was a 10/10. Some of our favorites include: the Lasagna, Spaghetti Carbonara, the Classic Bruschetta,  and the Zabaione ice cream for dessert. I’m still day dreaming of this meal!

Cafe Beaujolais: Adjacent to The Nicholas House, Cafe Beaujolais is a French restaurant renowned for its romantic and fine dining ambiance. Regrettably, it was closed during our visit but it is celebrated for serving fresh local seafood, organic meats, and exquisite wines from local Mendocino Wineries. Despite the seasonal closure, we had the opportunity to enjoy a takeout lunch, savoring their Nashville hot chicken sandwich and the Beaujolais bowl featuring fresh shrimp, jasmine rice, veggies, and their homemade dressing. I can’t wait to return for a complete dining experience. 

Mendocino Mart: Nestled in Mendocino Village, Mendocino Mart serves up delicious organic and tasty sandwiches, mains, and sides. We stumbled upon this local spot after a long hike, and it turned out to be the perfect-post hike meal. Among our top picks were the pesto chicken sandwich and the bbq chicken & Swiss combo with chips. Make sure to not leave Mendocino without savoring this locals favorite. Take-away or indoor and garden seating is available. 

The Brickery: Unfortunately, The Brickery was closed when we visited due to the holiday, and were quite disappointed. They are best known for their wood-fired pizza’s and Neapolitan thin crusts. The Brickery offers fresh pizzas in a laid back, fun, and beautiful garden that is both dog and kid friendly


Little River Inn: Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, The Little River Inn Resort is a charming historic gem with amenities such as: a golf course, private hiking trails, tennis courts, and beautiful gardens. The guest rooms offer breathtaking ocean views, cozy fire places, and private hot tubs. With options available for every budget, the resort is also dog friendly 

Stanford Inn: Perched on the hillside, Stanford Inn sits atop a meadow overlooking Mendocino Bay. Guests praise the majestic grounds, organic gardens, cozy fireplaces, and the pool and hottub. Ravens a plant based restaurant specializing in organic and vegan cuisine is also located on property. Stanford Inn is a pet friendly and renowned for hosting rescue animals like horses, ducks, and llamas. Additionally they offer cooking classes and a private yoga studio. 

Heritage House Resort &Spa: This hidden gem is situated along the rugged coastline of Mendocino. This resort presents private cottages, suites, and rooms all exuding romance and breathtaking ocean views. The contemporary aesthetic is complemented by luxurious amenities including: premium bath products, welcoming fire places, spacious outdoor decks and soothing rainfall showers. Just outside the suites and rooms, a cliff side staircase leads you to a rocky beach and private trail surrounded by Eucalyptus trees.

The Inn at New Port Ranch: Home to sandy beaches, redwood forests, private trails, and ocean views. The Inn at New Port Ranch is a luxurious option in Fort Bragg offering luxurious accommodations, million dollar views, and fine dining options.


miranda, away

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FTC DISCLOSURE: My website contains affiliate links to the hotel booking website Booking.com, as well as RewardStyle. I earn a small commission (no extra cost to you) when you use these links.

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