As the weather in Mendocino warms up, with sunny days and starry nights, hiking and camping are at their peak, organic gardens are bursting with goodness, bees are buzzing around copious blooms, outdoor dining is all the rage, and indoor pampering goes to another level. This Spring and Summer, an array of gracious inns on the Coast and a heritage campsite in the redwoods will launch new guest offerings, while exciting changes are afoot at the Skunk Train, one of the County’s most popular attractions.
In June, the much-lauded Brewery Gulch Inn will begin offering a CBD package for guests that includes a CBD massage for two, a welcome amenity basket, and a private consultation with a cannabis expert to determine what CBD product is best for the guests’ personal health and wellness needs (Pricing and full details have not been fully confirmed yet, so stay tuned!). And because spring is a time of growth, the Inn is adding the planting of a redwood tree to their Celtic Handfasting Vow Renewal ceremony, as a real and growing symbol of a couple’s everlasting commitment. The thousands-of-years-old tradition of Celtic Handfasting is a moving way to seal a compact of forever love. A celebrant helps craft a memorable interlude in a serene setting, and the ceremony includes a photographer, flowers, a Celtic pastry, and sparkling wine for $1,300. The Brewery Gulch Inn is an arts and crafts gem fashioned from eco-harvested recycled redwood. Their 10 romantic rooms overlook wild and wonderful Smuggler’s Cove and the mighty Pacific. The thoughtfully appointed rooms feature all the amenities of a first-class hotel, including plush Sferra linens, gas fireplaces, and comfy throws. Full-time Executive Chef Stephen Smith prepares a complimentary daily cooked-to-order breakfast for all guests, as well as an array of delectable appetizers during the nightly Wine Hour, using locally sourced and organic ingredients.
Iconic Little River Inn is taking advantage of the warming weather and planting their very own garden to supply fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for Executive Chef Marc Dym’s award-winning restaurant. A sampling of items grown will include heirloom tomatoes, specialty greens and Costata Romanesco zucchini (perfect for summer grilling)! They also plan to pickle and preserve some of this precious bounty for guests to take home with them. Later this Spring, Little River Inn will start construction on an ocean-view seating area in front of the property, with a fire pit and small tables, for a casual seafood shack-like experience. And in keeping with the theme of re-invention, their most popular oceanfront Van Damme rooms are getting a refresh. The historic Inn has been in the same family for five generations and generations of families return each year to delight in this luxurious home away from home. In addition to their chef-driven restaurant, the Inn boasts a nine-hole Audubon-certified golf course, professional tennis courts and a day spa. Perfect for the whole family (and pet-friendly as well), they have 65 guest rooms ranging from the economical to the opulent – all of which have ocean views.
Come summer, the area’s most popular attraction — the Skunk Train – will launch a new a 3.5-mile hiking trail out of their Fort Bragg Depot. The flat, groomed trail runs along the train tracks, and weaves between soaring redwoods and across scenic waterways. After riding the train out to the Glen Blair Junction turn-around point, riders can choose to return to the Fort Bragg depot on foot, and savor the picturesque walk back along the new trail. The Skunk Train is a 135-year-old heritage train line that once moved enormous Redwood trunks to the rugged Mendocino Coast. Today passengers travel along estuaries and over bridges into the heart of the redwoods, through terrain that has remained essentially undisturbed for centuries, including trees that are more than 1,000 years old. Riders can observe deer, blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, turtles – and even the occasional river otter – all from the comfort of their seat or an open-air-car.
The new Spa at Noyo at the stately Noyo Harbor Inn promises an incredibly indulgent idyll. Launching in May, the Spa will offer massages, facials and other spa treatments in a charming setting overlooking Noyo River. Patrons of the Spa will receive 10% off at the restaurant, hotel or gift shop on the day of their treatment. Their restaurant, HarborView Bistro & Bar, features a seasonally changing menu of pre-Prohibition era cocktails and California Coastal Cuisine, including fresh wild-caught fish and herbs and vegetables gathered from their Chef Fabrice Jean-Pierre Dubuc’s garden. The new Spring cocktail list includes many unique offerings, such as the Mendocino Mermaid (El Dorado Demarara White Rum, Blueberry-Lavender Simple Syrup, Guava Purée, Lime Juice and Star Fruit). Meals and libations can now be enjoyed on the Inn’s expansive tented patio with sweeping views over quaint Noyo Harbor to the Pacific beyond. This world-class destination from 1868 has refurbished and updated rooms throughout, providing spacious comfort while retaining some of the exquisite features left by the Norwegian shipbuilders who embellished the inn. Many of the elegantly furnished rooms have fireplaces, soaking tubs, and private balconies.
The bees are abuzz at The Inn at Newport Ranch! The Ranch has big plans for the honey from the five new hives, including using it in their bakery and in the cheese course served nightly at dinner. The new arrivals are happily buzzing around the extensive organic gardens, promising delicious treats to come. At The Inn at Newport Ranch, they are all about sustainable agriculture and stewardship of their land. Denizens of the Ranch have just planted 3,500 new redwood trees with 500 additional trees set aside for guests to plant when they take an inspirational and educational UTV tour of the property. They are also expanding their regenerative ranching practices and minimizing their carbon footprint to ensure their 2,100 pristine acres will be unspoiled for future generations. Guests have exclusive access to this vast property that encompasses virgin redwood forests, grasslands, beaches, and cliffs with 50-mile panoramic views across the Pacific. Executive Chef Adam Stacy – whose résumé includes Michelin-starred restaurants Per Se and Saison – cooks using locally sourced ingredients (much of which comes from their own organic gardens). The Ranch’s interior spaces are designed to enhance the natural beauty of the location and each room is a bespoke masterpiece filled with handcrafted objects and items from the owner’s world travels. Recycled redwood trunks soar to cathedral ceilings, local wines as well as offerings from afar are poured in front of a 20-foot fireplace, and stunning views abound.
Starting in May, the Glendeven Inn & Lodge and its sister property, The Inn at the Cobbler’s Walk, will be offering a deluxe private Wine Hour service for two. Guests will get exclusive use of the spacious Farmhouse Lounge, which features a large brick wood-burning fireplace and glorious ocean views. Provided are a bottle of local wine, a charcuterie spread, a loaf of fresh house-made bread, and dessert. In addition, guests have a key to the Lounge for the entire afternoon and evening on the day they’ve reserved. The experience is $150 per couple. And beginning in June, they’ll offer an interactive art exhibition in the gallery. Using a vintage typewriter, guests will be able to memorialize on parchment paper their experiences of the day (all musings will begin with “On This Day….”). The guests can then either take the paper away as a keepsake or pin it on the wall of the gallery for future guests to read and enjoy. Glendeven Inn & Lodge and The Inn at the Cobbler’s Walk are adults-only European-inspired properties encompassing 16 acres total, with easy access to 1,800 acres of state park lands and pristine nature reserve trails. Surrounded on three sides by lush Van Damme State Park, both properties offer beautifully appointed rooms (some with dramatic ocean views) with wood-burning stoves and access to pastures of roaming llamas and colorful chickens. Every morning, a three-course breakfast is delivered in a basket to each room, which includes a dish made with eggs from the Inn’s more than 75 free-range hens.
This July, for the first time ever, people will be able to book a “Weekend in the Woods” at Camp Navarro. Previously, this secret hideaway under the redwoods was only available for private events and festivals. Now, guests can book select weekends in July, August or October (Thursday through Sunday nights; minimum three-night stay) at this ideal version of a nostalgic summer camp. Guests can choose from a variety of cozy cabins, deluxe glamping teepees or East Coast-style three-sided Adirondack cabins. Lodging includes daily activities, access to nature trails, lawn games and nightly campfires and s’mores. Revel in hiking, games, and gazing at the stars – or find a hammock under the perfect tree and just take it all in. Hearkening back to a traditional camp, guests must bring their own bedding, although down bedding rentals are available if guests forget anything. Situated in the lush wine country of Northern California’s Anderson Valley, Camp Navarro comprises over 200 acres of ancient forest nestled along the Navarro River and bisected by Neefus Creek. They offer gourmet cuisine (guests will sign up for a Meal Plan at the time of booking to cover breakfasts and dinners), and world class local beer and wine, as well as a staff that caters to guests’ needs, meticulous accommodations, and hand-built redwood-milled outdoor showers, allowing guests to be as rustic as they choose while communing with nature in its purest form.
The businesses above have all been self-certified to host visitors to the utmost safety standards and strictest cleaning protocols, above and beyond what is mandated by the Mendocino County Public Health Office. Masks must be worn in the county when not eating and drinking and people are asked to stay six feet away from anyone not in their household group.