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Mendocino: A Wild and Sophisticated Weekend

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The picturesque seaside village may look like a movie set (indeed, the TV series "Murder She Wrote" and such films as "Same Time Next Year" were filmed here), but its allure runs deep and wide. There's fine and funky dining, beach combing, hiking, abalone diving, a population of artists and crafts people, and a calendar full of food and wine festivals. And the drive from San Francisco takes you through the Anderson Valley and its countless opportunities for tasting superb North Coast varietals.
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Russian Gulch State Park, California 95460, USA
The Russian Gulch State Park may have the perfect forest hike: A seven mile loop to a 35-foot waterfall through new growth redwood forests. Start at the beach parking lot and take the Fern Grove trail to the waterfall. Then, loop back on the North...
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100 W Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
The Skunk Train (formally the California Western Railroad) dates to the 1880s and cruises between Fort Bragg and Willits, over trestles, through tunnels, and past some amazingly old Redwoods. It is indeed a "tourist attraction" but also a...
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9529, 9401 CA-1, Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
In Mendocino's Brewery Gulch Inn, the Osprey room (upstairs, southwest corner) commands a view, across Highway 1, of Smuggler's Cove and the Pacific Ocean. The eco-conscious inn occupies a sweet location, away from the road and just a minute or...
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8211 North, CA-1, Little River, CA 95456, USA
Llamas seem to be popular in Mendocino County, but on a recent visit we saw none lovelier than those roaming the spacious grounds around the Glendeven Inn, a rural B&B in Little River, with a wine bar, farm-to-table dinners, and ocean views. This...
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Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
And what did we eat at The Q, the downhome but culinarily upscale barbecue shack near Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg? Delicious pulled pork, onion rings, and cole slaw (not shown), and this generous serving of super tender brisket with sides of sweet...
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961 Ukiah St, Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
Anytime we get anywhere near Mendocino, we have to stop at the Brickery, the stand-alone bakery behind the renowned Cafe Beaujolais restaurant. This is where the breads are baked for the restaurant, but the bakers also sell retail right out the...
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44850 Comptche Ukiah Road, POB 487, Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
The terraced organic garden that steps down the hillside in front of the Stanford Inn (above Mendocino Bay) provides some of the vegetables and herbs for the innovative cuisine in the hotel's Ravens' Restaurant. A stroll through the farm, with a...
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18501 Philo Greenwood Rd, Philo, CA 95466, USA
At the Apple Farm, sleep in wooden cottages surrounded by one of the valley’s last major orchards. Sally and Don Schmitt, founders of the French Laundry, the legendary restaurant in Yountville, California, run the farm with their daughter and...
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Boonville, CA 95415, USA
Boonville, a tiny town in the middle of California's Anderson Valley, is proudly anti-establishment and idiosyncratic. The area has its own language, and a radical newspaper that isn't afraid to print controversial stories. The last time I passed...
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31502 CA-1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
In 1986, self-described Connecticut Yankee Will Jackson bought an 850-acre cattle ranch with beachfront property and a tiny inn, a few miles north of Fort Bragg. In September 2015, after six years of securing permits and four years of...