We consider November/December two of the most glorious months in Mendocino. It is the perfect time to plan a trip from the Bay Area, Sacramento, Tahoe, Reno or the Central Valley.
Depending on your route you will find gorgeous redwoods, amazing wines, beautiful vineyard vistas, stunning coastal views, and as we begin the great gray whale migration – whales ahoy!
Here are 3 Important Steps to having an amazing time in Mendo:
- Book a great place to stay and make some reservations – IN ADVANCE. It has been very busy at the coast, so you will want to make sure you secure a spectacular place to lay your head after a busy day of adventures.
- We recommend The Seagull Inn, Headlands Inn, or Agate Cove in The Village; Little River Inn, Albion River Inn, or Heritage House Resort south of Mendo; as well as some of the vacation rental homes north of town. One of our faves is Mendocino Sunrise.
- We still prefer outdoor seating when we dine, so we love Patterson’s, Mendo Café, or the Brickery for lunch; Albion River Inn for dinner and a spectacular sunset, or Noyo Harbor Inn deck for a delicious dinner overlooking Noyo River sipping on a cocktail and watching the sea lions frolic below.
- Make a Plan. Start your day at Goodlife Bakery with an Americano and one of the most amazing gluten free pastries in the area. This is a great place to plan your weekend adventure.
- Wander around town to familiarize yourself with all the local shops – The Village Sock Shop, The Study Club, Rainsong Shoes, Barge North Co and Mendocino Jams – so you know where to do your power shopping on your way out of town. We hate to invoke the words too soon, but we’ll just say that the “gifting season” is around the corner.
- Of course the Mendocino Headlands are at the top of everyone’s list. But you should also plan a hike at Russian Gulch State Park, visit Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, sink your toes in warm sand at Casper or Jughandle Beach. Stop for lunch at Princess Seafood in Noyo Harbor or make your way further north for a picnic at Pacific Star Winery. Take in some of those amazing views from Sally’s Bluff (it’s her Fault too, just ask). Meander your way back down the coast – full circle – to enjoy a little more wine tasting at Meyer Family Cellars Tasting Room while gazing at the green headland trails, deep blue ocean, fluffy white clouds, and (importantly) plan your gallery crawl for the weekend!
- Don’t miss the art galleries! Mendocino and Fort Bragg have some wonderful galleries and art spaces. Plan to dedicate at least a day to exploring some of them.
- Starting in Mendocino, spend some time with us (disclaimer: self-serving section of this Blogpost!). Take in the new Larry Keenan Exhibit of Iconic Photos of the Beat Generation, previously out of circulation and now exclusively at LSG. Check out the work of Jon Klein, local adventure photographer with a remarkable collection of local landscape and wildlife images. Soak in some of Elizabeth Gorek’s lovely original oil paintings or Madi Bowman’s watercolors using a technique inspired by the bark of the rainbow eucalyptus tree. Sit down in one of our Eames chairs and take in some of the fine furnishings of Michael Doten or the gorgeous live edge redwood tables of Craig Hathaway.
- While in town, stop by Partner’s Gallery, Prentice, Highlight, and of course the epicenter of it all, the Mendocino Art Center. They really are the jewels on the coast and we recommend all of them.
- If you decide to head north again, plan some time at the Botanical Garden on your way to check out Northcoast Artist Gallery and Edgewater Gallery on Mainstreet in Fort Bragg and stop by the Franklin Street Photo Gallery.
- If you go south, wind your way along Highway 1 and stop at the Elk Artists Collective for an eclectic mix of local art and craft. Continuing further down the coast, you can also find some lovely work at the Gualala Arts Center before you wind your way back to the Bay Area.
For more of our favorite places or to get personalized recommendations based on your route, call us or stop by the gallery. We are always happy to help!