Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Scenic Weekend Getaway...to Mendocino we go!
There are a few two-word combos that never fail to put a smile on my face: dark chocolate, free drinks, afternoon nap and my absolute favorite – weekend getaway. There is nothing like winter rain and busy work weeks to make you want to get out of the city. I know I need out bad when I start spending time at work trolling the Jetetter, travelzoo and Travel and Leisure websites planning out dream vacations and surfing/yoga retreats that I don’t have the time or money to go on. But even with money and time-off limitations there are a lot of great weekend getaways just a short drive away. A couple of weekends ago my husband and I ventured 3 hours north of San Francisco to the beautiful Mendocino coast. Having heard that it was “outdoorsy and chill” (it was), I planned the trip by scouring yelp, vrbo.com, and travelzoo for the best places to stay. There are a plethora of options for a romantic weekend in Mendocino. Because we’ve been saving money, eating in and working hard I chose to splurge a bit with our lodgings. We stayed at the Stanford Inn and despite incredibly rainy weather we had an awesome time. Keep reading for all the good travel tips…
Mendocino is beautiful. The drive up from the bay area is gorgeous and there are so many different ways to enjoy it. Here is what I would highly recommend
Where to stay?
Save: If you are looking for a vaycay on the cheaper side rent your own cabin at the Andiron Seaside Inn and Cabins. The cabins are fairly modest but comfy and stylish. Plus you get your own dvd player and the likeable inn owners have free wine, cheese and fruit out in the lodge for a daily happy hour.
Splurge (*My Recommendation*): Stanford Inn by the Sea
Just up the road from the town of Mendocino, overlooking the bay, each room of this large inn boasts dramatic views of the pacific, cast over the top of the inn’s beautiful vegetable gardens, horse and llama pastures. Rooms are cozy and comfortable with the space and amenities of an expensive hotel. A fireplace with stacked firewood, big tv with dvd player and cozy four poster bed make you not want to go anywhere else!
Breakfast: Dannnng that was some good granola! And lattes and eggs and vegan baked goods (for the larctadly inclined)... The list goes on and on, but it was all good and definitely worth splurging the big bucks to stay at this bed and breakfast.
-Free bikes to use to get to town
-Indoor pool, hottub and sauna in their neato greenhouse.
-Canoes and kayaks available for rent.
-Homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies placed in your room every afternoon by housekeeping “aka the magical cookie fairy” ---- I am NOT kidding!!!!!
From left to right: The inn (from my balcony), the husband enjoying the afternoon cookie delivery in our room, the Mendocino coastline.
Where to eat?
Save: Buy a picnic from this market and eat on your living room floor by the fire. Finish off the night with some s’mores in the fireplace!
Spend a little: Chow down on a burger or veg burger from the locally famous Mendo Burgers.
Splurge: Café Beaujolais is for sure pricey but definitely considered the best restaurant in the area. It is super cute and the food and service do not disappoint. If you have any food snob tendencies--- this is your best bet!
What to do:
Outdoors: Go hiking or trail running on the old lumber road just down the street from the Stanford inn, it borders the river and is beautiful for a run or walk.
Rent a canoe or kayak here
Relaxing: Get a massage here
Wine Tasting: Take a 35 minute drive down to the Husch Vineyards Winery in Philo for an intimate and inexpensive wine tasting experience on their beautiful vineyard. The wine is great, the people are friendly and you won’t find the packs of tourists flooding the more famous parts of wine country.
How to get there: 3 hours north of San Francisco, take the 101 north from SF for about 80 miles to 128 West. You stay on 128 for 55 miles going through redwood forests and passing some great little vineyards. Then head north on the 1 for 10 miles of dramatic coastal views before you hit Mendocino.