For our last post about California, we figured it would be helpful to write about what we would advise doing if you do go there. The following will include activities, Inns and Hotels, Restaurants and lastly, what to look out for! We don’t have any trips planned soon so it may be a while before there are any posts regarding places we’ve visited however, we can write about our home here in New York – and feel free to comment any suggestions you have! We hope this post is helpful and we highly recommend visiting it if you get the chance.
Whether or not you’re a horse-lover, have been riding before or even know how to, we would recommend this to anyone. Although Isabella was the only one out of the three of us who did this (and she knows how to ride), she had lots of fun and it was a lovely way to see the town from a different perspective. The ride she took was along the beach – which was beautiful especially with the sound of the crashing waves and cool sea breeze – but the Ricochet Ridge Range also does walks up in the mountains which allow you to get a view of the ocean from up high.
Let’s talk about the Ricochet Ridge Range we went to. The people who work there were very sweet and helpful. They didn’t make a fuss if you were late and if there was a cancellation at last-minute. The horses at the farm were also very trustworthy. They have done the walks many times before and are accustomed to what to do. This comes in handy if you aren’t a skilled rider. Horses will be given to you according to your height. Whether or not you are a skilled rider, the Ricochet Ridge Ranch is required to go over rules on how to mount, dismount, stop, steer and generally ride a horse. They also give out helmets if you don’t have your own. If this is an activity you are interested in doing, make sure you bring a pair of close-toed shoes or you won’t be allowed to ride.
We wrote all about are whale watching experience two posts ago, but we’ll still briefly recap why this is such a fun activity. We’ve all seen those National Geographic photos of the fluke of a whale. How awesome would it be to see it for yourself in really life, and more than once?! Well, Mendocino is home to several families of whales which do show their flukes once in a while. Once you find a beach to stop at, get comfortable and be patient. Whales tend to stay under water from anywhere for 5-20 minutes, after coming up for air. This is what you have to look out for, their spout. Keep your eyes fixated on the ocean and sooner or later you’ll see water spraying up. This my friends would be a whale.
Seeing The Redwood Forest:
Now, you would find our journey to The Redwood Forest in our last post but just like whale watching, we’ll brief on it again. You’ve all heard of this forest, with the trees that are as big as giants. If you are coming to Mendocino it’s almost unheard of to miss it because it is not that far away. To go from the center of Mendocino to the Drive Through Tree is approximately a two hour drive and from there to the heart of the forest is another half hour. If you set aside the whole day, this can easily be accomplished but you can still make it to the Drive Though tree and back to town by 1:00 if you leave at 9:00.
- THE FISHERMAN’S WHARF: This restaurant is found at the end of an old sea wharf. Despite the way the exterior looks, the inside is very homey and offers a beautiful view of the harbor which you may be able to spot and occasional seal. They are known for their fresh and local fish which is delicious. Their menu is generated towards more southern styles of dishes but exhibit simple and yummy flavors.
- WHERE YOU’RE STAYING: An option that tends to get disregarded is the hotel, inn or resort you’re staying at. You may think that it’s best to go out into town to find a spot to eat, but in all honesty, where you’re staying is more likely to have better food than what you will find. This way you can also make a reservation in advance and get a spot by the window. If you want to know which places we would recommend, just read Hotels and Inns.
- YOUR CHOICE: If you plant to travel like us, then that would mean spending lots of time in the car and not in distance from nice restaurants. Because the cottage we stayed at had a kitchen, this allowed us to pack our own lunches to take with us on the road making it easy to pull over and have a bite to eat while staring out into the sea. If where you are staying does not offer a kitchen, buying a pre-made lunch from a grocery store is never too difficult and Mendocino has a few which would offer this.
Hotels and Inns
- THE HERITAGE HOUSE RESORT: We stayed here for two nights and had the most wonderful time. We rented the Grand Suite which comes with a kitchen, living room/dining room, a huge bedroom with high ceilings and an extremely luxurious bathroom with heated floors and an outlook to the ocean from the bathtub. The whole suite had incredible views and a balcony that we could sit out on and enjoy the fresh air. Having a kitchen provided the luxury of being able to cook our own meals and be more relaxed. You most definitely do not need to stay in this exact suite to have a marvelous time, any other one will do, but if you want to add a little humph to your vacation we would recommend checking this one out. The property included beautiful trails, a gazebo, beautiful views and a lovely restaurant.
- THE LITTLE RIVER INN: We only stayed here for one night but could already tell that the inn was a quaint and beautiful place. The rooms offer a lovely outlook onto the ocean including a balcony. They have a wide variety of food options and for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just like the Heritage House, you can stay in rooms of various sizes with differing accommodations. There is also a tennis court on the property if you want to have a match! The Inn is located five minutes from the center of town making it easily accesable.
- ALBION INN: Although we did not stay here on this visit, Michelle and Ed have stayed here before (many years ago) and had a good time. We did however dine at the restaurant one evening and enjoyed our dinner very much. Just like the other options, the views were spectacular and the food was fresh and local. The dining experience was enhancing by the live music and singing.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Along with having fresh food and spectacular views, Mendocino is also known to be home to a lot of wildlife. In our previous two posts we mentioned our spotting of whales, seals and elk, however nearby the beach where the horses walk on is home to deer. You do not need to be on the horses in order to see them, just stay quiet and be patient for they will come out of hiding sooner or later. Also, you may be able to see humming birds feeding in the gardens and by flowers. We were lucky enough to have seen them at the Heritage House.
Stunning Vistas and Photo Spots:
This one may seem obvious but is not obvious enough not to mention. We known how important it is to capture that perfect family photo that you will then put on your holiday card and send to all your friends and family. Unfortunately the best advice we can give is to keep your eyes open and look out the window occasionally when driving because you will turn upon beautiful vistas that are unknown to others. As said, all three recommended places to stay have beautiful outlooks and places to capture photos that will remind you of the wonderful time you had. The beach that we went to and happened to spot the very excited family of whales is called MacKerricher State Park. Here is where you are most likely to see seals basking on the rocks, families of whales having fun, capture those memorable photos and best yet be alone and not bothered by fellow tourists. Just be able to be in the moment and experience everything as it comes.
Talk to me Mendocino.
Closing my eyes I hear the sea.
Must I wait, must I follow.
Won’t you say come with me.
– Linda Ronstadt