Collected by Derk Richardson , AFAR Staff
"... Where life's such a groove / You blow your mind in the morning."--Doug Sahm (Sir Douglas Quintet, 1969). Mendocino is a north coast county that I want to explore over and over again, from the vineyards of the Anderson Valley to the shops, cafes, coastline, and headlands of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Festivals abound: Crab & Wine! Mushrooms & Beer & Wine! Pinot Noir!
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...
44850 Comptche Ukiah Rd, Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
Innkeeper Jeff Stanford puts his ethics on the plate at Ravens' Restaurant in the Stanford Inn by the Sea. Vegan for both health and philosophical reasons, Stanford collaborates with certified nutrition consultant Sid Hillman and the Ravens' chefs...
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...
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...
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...
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...
2605 Vichy Springs Rd, Ukiah, CA 95482, USA
An absolutely delightful getaway only a few hours north of San Francisco. The grounds are gorgeous, the baths, relaxing and the atmosphere peaceful and quiet. Only suggestion is the food in Ukiah leaves something to be desired. Pack a picnic or...
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...
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...
5601 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, USA
Stop by the tasting room at Navarro Vineyards and sip floral, dry gewürztraminer and lightméthode à l’anciennepinot noir. Non-drinkers should tryverjus, a tart juice made from young grapes. Schedule a vineyard tour and walk between rows of budding...
Boonville, CA, USA
Two and a half hours north of San Francisco, Anderson Valley is a woodsy alternative to the more crowded Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Encompassing the towns of Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, and Navarro, this quirky rural area once known for its apples...
14050 CA-128, Boonville, CA 95415, USA
by Annie Gowan Stone Robert Mailer Anderson’s 2001 novelBoonvillefeatured such memorable characters as a marijuana-growing grandma and a potter named Pensive Prairie Sunset. Here Anderson shares his favorite haunts in the small town. “Enjoy dinner...
Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
Another highlight of the annual Mendocino Coast Crab and Wine Days festival is the cioppino dinner, held in the Fort Bragg Pentacostal Church hall. The fresh Dungeness crab is "swimming" in an amazing broth given added texture and kick from ground...
7751 CA-1, Little River, CA 95456, USA
I was invited to be one of six judges at the annual Mendocino County Crab & Wine Days crab cake cook-off and wine-pairing competition. This was the first of the 11 entries we sampled. We later tasted 50 wines (!) to see how they paired with fresh...
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...
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...
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