Mendocino, California

Blair House
  • Blair House

If you’re feeling stressed and want to step back to a time when life was simpler and more tranquil, a trip to the small coastal town of Mendocino might be just what you need.

Trying to describe Mendocino without using trite adjectives like “quaint,” “cozy” or “charming” is like trying to describe milk without the words “white” or “liquid.” Content to exist in an earlier century, Mendocino has succeeded in shunning fast food restaurants, strip malls and chain hotels — it’s the only coastal California town designated as a historical landmark.

Mendocino sits atop verdant headlands at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. A New England-style village, it’s replete with grand Victorian houses, Saltbox cottages, romantic bed-and-breakfast inns and world-class restaurants. The rugged coastline is breathtaking, and gray whales can be seen November through April as they migrate.

If you’re a fan of the television show Murder She Wrote, you’ll recognize Blair House as the home of Angela Lansbury’s character Jessica Fletcher. Rooms are $100-200 and pets are welcome (707-937-1800; [email protected]). Book a hot tub and massage at Sweetwater Spa & Inn and you’ll float out the door in a state of blissful relaxation.

Lush, fragrant gardens are ubiquitous in Mendocino. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers 47 acres of nature’s finest flora. Van Damme State Park, just south of town, has a unique pygmy forest and is ideal for an afternoon hike.

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Thanks for a lovely article! There is no question that the village of Mendocino is the crown jewel of Mendocino County in Northern California.

For those who want to enjoy even more of this scenic area, there are nearby communities, including Fort Bragg, with fascinating ways to spend some time. Or just get seriously lazy. There's more info at www.fortbragg.com, www.mendocinocoast.com, and www.GoMendo.com. For information about inland Willits, go to www.willits.org.

Beyond the coast you have "the other wine country," the home of the famous Depression-era racehorse, Seabiscuit -- and even the fabled Skunk Train, which connects Fort Bragg to Willits much of the year and showcases redwood forests along the way.

Here comes the modesty forbids alert, you can learn more about travel in Mendocino County at www.TinyURL.com/jaygordon. Yeah, that's me. We all hope you love Mendocino County as much as we love San Diego. Six friends and I just returned from the Thanksgiving weekend in San Diego!

You come see our redwoods and rugged coast, and we'll keep visiting your sunny beaches and Balboa park. Well, okay, and Old Town and all those other delightful destinations you offer.

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