While romance is most definitely in the air, February is by no means the only time couples should cultivate the mood.
One of the most romantic destinations in California is the awe-inspiring destination of Mendocino…and sometimes it’s best enjoyed when all the “amateurs” are not celebrating over the same Hallmark holiday.
Whether it’s romance or just some good ole R&R, Mendocino sets the stage for intimate encounters as well as great adventures. Here are some suggestions to get you and your loved one in the mood ~
What to do:
- Whether you’re a novice or experienced rider, trail rides along the beach or in the Redwood Forest are a favorite pastime. Ricochet Ridge Ranch offers a variety of excursions, including private retreats, sunset rides and week-long riding treks. Recognized by Outside Magazine as “One of the Top 25 Trips of a Lifetime,” this corral provides quality guides and friendly horses for any journey. For more information, visit http://www.horse-vacation.com.
- There is no adventure more bonding for a couple than learning how to stroke in time with one another. At Catch a Canoe, visitors are patiently guided through the nuances of paddling in unison so that the voyage up and down Mendocino’s Big River is not only symbiotic, but coupling as well. In addition to outrigger canoes, this outfit rents bikes as well. For more information, visit http://www.catchacanoe.com.
- For all the right reasons, Napa and Sonoma have put themselves on the map for wine enthusiasts, however, Mendocino County boasts some of the most robust wineries and friendliest tasting rooms in California. Favorites include Scharffenberger Cellars (for which sparkling wines are their reputation, but try the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), http://www.scharffenbergercellars.com; Maple Creek Winery for a range of wine and art, http://www.maplecreekwine.com; and Lula Cellars for a great selection of Pinot Noir, http://www.lulacellars.com.
Where to stay:
- For many years, the pull of The Heritage House Resort has been of great allure. Sitting on 37 acres, the resort features sweeping views of the coast and beach access, but is also nestled into the comforts of mature trees that create a quiet serenity. Rooms feature fireplaces, expansive balconies with views of the cashing surf, cozy beds that beg for lazy naps and snuggling, quiet accommodations that feed the mood and every amenity for which one could wish. The hotel’s restaurant, 5200 Restaurant and Lounge, boasts panoramic views and farm fresh cuisine that is a celebration of local ingredients for both breakfast and dinner. For more information, visit http://www.heritagehouseresort.com.
- Managed since 1980 by Jeff and Joan Stanford, the Stanford Inn by the Sea is the most full-service property in Mendocino. In addition to its 41 guest rooms, this pet-friendly property features The Ravens all-vegan restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner; daily yoga and tai chi; fireside chats on healthy living every Friday night; cooking, gardening and healthy living classes; Ayurvedic treatments; the Mendocino Center for Living Well; and is part of the Greenbelt Project. The Stanford Inn is also home to the afore-mentioned Catch a Canoe. For more information, visit http://www.stanfordinn.com.
Places to dine:
- Nestled in a building that was built in 1909, by the same architect that developed San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, Mendo Bistro is perhaps Fort Bragg’s culinary gem. Chef/owner Nicholas Petti uses the freshest ingredients of seafood and produce, but the cheese platter and “choice menu” of proteins, sauces and preparation are not to be overlooked. The service was very cordial and accommodates even the most random of diets, so no one will walk away hungry. For more information, visit http://www.mendobistro.com.
- While all of the assets at The Stanford Inn are enough to create intrigue, The Ravens serves the best vegan cuisine in California…favorites include the Sushi Roll, served with Ravens dynamite sauce; Dos Tacos Biologicos with Jalapenos, crimini mushrooms, onions and shredded cabbage; (massaged) Kale Salad with raisins, avocado verjus vinaigrette and sautéed trumpet royale ceviche; Sea Palm & Root Vegetable Strudel; and Spinach Ravioli; to name a few favorites. For more information, visit http://www.ravensrestaurant.com.
- For a locals’ type of experience, Piaci Pub & Pizzeria is a small and casual eatery that captures those who are looking for carbo loads and stick to the ribs cuisine. Even during weekday lunch encounters, customers are indulging in one of many hand-crafted brews while sinking their teeth into one of the hearty calzones, flatbreads or thin-crust focaccias. This is a great option for anyone looking at mid-day nourishment before or after hiking, biking, kayaking or horseback riding. For more information, visit http://www.piacipizza.com.
While there is so very many things to do in Mendocino County, the recommendation is to schedule LOTS of time for just being, not doing. However, for those with a robust thirst and hunger for more, visit http://www.visitmendocino.com.