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Walnut Creek Magazine

Escape to California's Secret Corner

Jul 31, 2020 08:43AM ● By Pam Kessler

Wind your way from the East Bay to Highway 128, a country road that curves through the epicurean community of Booneville, the Pinot Noir vineyards in Anderson Valley, and the fragrant redwood forests. Head north to Highway 1 where the Pacific Ocean’s crashing waves provide the backdrop for pet-friendly, posh resorts and private glamping options.

While plenty of destinations here are ideal for soulful weekend retreats, none quite parallel the 37-acre coastal property and breathtaking views at The Heritage House Resort. Located on the bluffs in Little River, just outside Mendocino, this historic spot opened in 1949 after the original 1877 New England-style farmhouse was converted into a small inn. It grew over time and became famous as the setting for the 1978 film "Same Time, Next Year," starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.

Newly transformed suites blend rustic and contemporary elements in safe, spacious interiors. Soak in your deep tub or lounge on your private deck with a glass of wine. Explore the scenic grounds, hike down to the secluded beach, or sip a cocktail in the lounge before a sumptuous meal on the deck of fresh scallops or ranch lamb chops—pups are welcome to join you.

 Mendocino Grove is the place for glamping with an edge. Tucked away on 37 redwood-rich acres, this unplug boasts 60 elevated safari tents outfitted with heated beds, down comforters, and cotton linens.  Hot showers, gas barbeques, picnic tables, and bocce ball are also on tap. Enjoy a complimentary light breakfast before a leisurely hike with prime Pacific views.  

A little more rugged foray can be had at Mendocino Magic, a spot for glamping under the stars.  Set on a private 600-acre reserve with miles of mountainous trails, some sites include hot showers, solar lighting, and queen-sized beds with linens.  Once a logging camp set along the pristine Holland Reservoir, its crystal waters, dense forests, and refreshing streams offer an ideal place to connect with the outdoors.

When it’s time for a jaunt, the streets of charming Mendocino Village are filled with art galleries, boutiques, and all kinds of outdoor eateries. A visit to Harvest Market on Lansing Street is a must for handcrafted honey, artisan bread, and farmstead chèvre. To-go grill kits from Trillium Cafe come with warm apple crisps to cook over the fire. Afterward, head to the sprawling, outdoor Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and meander 47-acres of colorful rhododendrons, fuchsias, dahlias, magnolias, heather, and succulents.

For lunch with the locals, Sea Pal Cove, in the picturesque fishing village of Noyo Harbor, is famous for its decadent fish n chips and clam chowder. While waiting for your order on the outdoor pier, watch the fisherman cleaning their fresh catch. Cool misty California coastal mornings often turn into warm sunny days, so dress in layers, regardless of the time of year you visit.