North to Mendocino

North to Mendocino (Three and a half hours driving time)

  • pic_itinerary_coast2Head out Coleman Valley Road from the Inn to Highway 1. One of the most beautiful drives you’ll ever take, this road takes you through forests, pastoral valleys, and finally, to the rugged coastline.
  • Turn right on Highway 1 and drive approximately 20 miles to Fort Ross State Historic Park. No visit to the north coast is complete without touring this historic Russian settlement of the Russian-American Trading Company. The beautifully restored and reconstructed fort has an excellent visitor’s center. Take time to view the interpretive exhibits and peruse the selection of books and Russian items for sale.
  • Continue north to the town of Gualala and the Alinder Gallery, which features a terrific collection of Ansel Adams photographs. Also featured are works by the country’s best contemporary photographers, including Inn favorite Christopher Burkett.
  • If the Inn’s folk art inspired you, plan a stop in Anchor Bay, just a few miles north of Gualala. The town’s feed store sells fabulous folk-art bird feeders in the form of beehives — the handiwork of one of the locals.
  • Just north of the feed store on the left is the Food Company, an absolutely splendid place to stop for lunch or a snack. The freshly prepared food looks as good as it tastes
  • Continue north to Sea Ranch — the site of the first architecturally controlled second-home community in California. As you leave town, you’ll notice a fire station on your right and just beyond it small a chapel set back from the road. The chapel is an architectural gem and a most worthwhile stop.
  • If you plan to stay in Mendocino County, consider the town of Elk, where there are several lovely inns. Our favorite is the recently redecorated Harbor House, which offers spectacular views of the coast and gourmet dinners.
  • Fifteen miles north of Elk, you arrive in Mendocino, which many call the “Cape Cod of the Pacific.” Mendocino is a famous tourist destination with many great shops and attractions. Inns we like here include Stanford Inn by the Sea, which has a great vegetarian restaurant, and the Joshua Grindle Inn. Cafe Beaujolais, which serves California cuisine, is our favorite restaurant.
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