a Mendocino weekend

Mendocino, slightly more than three hours north of San Francisco, is a picturesque little town on the northern California coast. Originally settled by lumbermen from New England during the Gold Rush, it was abandoned during the Great Depression but rediscovered decades later by artists. Mendocino has become a popular weekend tourist destination with something to offer visitors year-round: boutique galleries, wine tasting, gourmet food, hiking, biking, and canoeing, as well as whale-watching and storm-watching during the winter months.

We spent two nights at the Stanford Inn by the Sea which describes itself as a pet-friendly eco resort by the ocean. Stanford Inn Mendocino is a rustic four star property with gourmet vegetarian cuisine and excellent service. The resort is indeed pet-friendly, and Lacey, our Australian Shepherd/Border Collie, enjoyed the hospitality as much as we. We stayed in the Bishop Pine Suite which is a true Deluxe 1 BR Suite. The Master Bedroom has a King bed, the large living room has a queen-size sofa bed, table in one corner, and wood burning fireplace in the other. The bathroom is large (albeit with only a single sink in the large counter top and shower in the tub). Don't come if you're expecting Four Seasons — there's no marble in the bathroom — but the knotty pine paneling on the walls is totally appropriate for a country inn. Lead-in guest rooms are comparable in size to Superior rooms, and larger Executive guest rooms in the new building are comparable to Deluxe rooms.

Stanford Inn has a beautiful organic vegetable farm; the vegetables are grown for meals at the property's vegetarian restaurant, the Ravens. Stanford Inn also offers a heated indoor pool, jacuzzi, and sauna, as well as a Spa which offers "Massage in the Forest" and Yoga classes. The room rate includes a gourmet breakfast for two daily, as well as complimentary afternoon tea (and dessert) every day at 3:30 p.m. The Stanford Inn is truly something special on the Mendocino coast.

A must-do: the Mendocino Historical District Walking Tour offered Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. Meeting up at the Kelley house, we enjoyed a two-hour walking tour of the village, learning about the history of the community, saw some of the historical buildings (including the oldest Protestant church building in California), and heard some fascinating stories about some of the colorful individuals of Mendocino's 150 year history. Among the sites to see is the carved wooden statue atop Mendocino's Masonic Temple. The tour is well worth the $10 per person which goes toward the support of the Kelley House.

Stanford Inn Mendocino (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2010 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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