A couple of weeks ago, we continued our exploration of Northern California coastal vacation spots with a trip to Mendocino. We both have never been to Mendocino before and after an amazing weekend trip, we can’t wait to go back.  Mendocino is a small coastal town about 3.5 hours away from the Bay Area and San Francisco. Definitely a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway.

Where We Stayed in Mendocino:

We stayed at the gorgeous and fairytale like Blue Door Inn; a cute little white cottage house surrounded by pretty flowers and with views of the ocean. The Blue Door Group has three bed and breakfast houses within walking distance from each other. We were placed in the JD House on the second floor with a large outdoor deck & views of the water, a wood burning fireplace, a large bathtub and a living room seating area. The room was beyond perfect!

(We loved sitting on the deck overlooking the ocean while enjoying some great champagne. I mean, it is vacation right!?)

What We Explored in Mendocino:

We spent a couple of hours just walking around the cute little coastal town of Mendocino. From all the colorful houses and shops, to eating our hearts out at all the local organic spots, this town may be little, but full of so much charm.

Point Cabrillo Light Station: About a 10-15 minute drive from Mendocino is the cutest little lighthouse with amazing views of the ocean. We enjoyed the 20 minute hike to the light station where we explored the grounds and watched seals play in the water. Relaxing and gorgeous!

Glass Beach: About a 20 minute drive from Mendocino up in Fort Bragg is the infamous Glass Beach. In the early 1900s, everything from old cars to cans were tossed over the cliffs and into the ocean. Now at Glass Beach, you can find that the ocean has changed all the glass and trash into smooth, beautiful colored treasures. I could have stayed here for hours shifting through all the glass pieces to find the most colorful and prettiest ones. Definitely a great place to take kids.

Where We Ate & Drank in Mendocino:

Goldeneye Winery: We stopped here on our drive up to Mendocino because we had heard great things about this wineries Pinot Noir.  Remember my Napa post here where I talked about visiting Duckhorn Vineyards? Well this is one of their sister wineries so we knew we would love it! Beautiful grounds and yes, the Pinots were fantastic. 

Flow Restaurant: We ate dinner here the first night and LOVED it. Not only is the restaurant on the second floor so you have amazing views of the ocean, but the food is local, organic and fresh. Everything we ate here was delicious, but the brussel sprouts were my favorite!

Patterson’s Pub: We didn’t eat here, but did pop in for a late night drink. This place was packed with tons of people eating, (we heard the fish and chips were the talk of the town) drinking and watching sports. Classic pub but definitely a staple in this little town. We also stopped in on Saturday to watch and bid on the Kentucky Derby. Such a fun atmosphere with all the locals!

Trillium Cafe: To this day, this might be one of my favorite meals we’ve ever had while traveling. Such a charming little spot with some absolutely delicious food! A cozy atmosphere with a fabulous and extensive wine list. Most of the food on the menu is also organic and so fresh. We shared the Grilled Organic Pork Chop and the Grilled Organic Chicken Breast, both amazing! If you visit Mendocino, you MUST eat here for dinner.

(How cute is our breakfast at our B&B?! We were both so surprised by the widespread breakfast options offered to us each morning. Not to mention when you woke up it smelled like bacon and eggs. AMAZE.) 

GoodLife Cafe and Bakery: If this bakery were anywhere close to my house, I would be here weekly. Oh SO good! Tons of vegan & gluten free options, organic everything and amazing coffee. When the gluten free mac and cheese tastes NOT gluten free, you know you’ve found a winner spot.

Boonville General Store: Though not in Mendocino, Boonville is a great stop on the way back to the Bay Area. We stopped and had sandwiches at the Boonville General Store that were fresh, homemade and super tasty. (There are also a couple of spots to wine taste in this area if you like Pinots.)

Cowlick’s Ice Cream: Oh man is this place good! Located in Fort Bragg (great place to stop after visiting Glass Beach), Cowlick’s homemade ice cream store is a MUST. Such a cute spot with plenty of ice cream flavors and clearly a popular spot with lines out the door at times. 

Lichen Estate Winery : We stopped here on our way home (close to Boonville) thanks to a recommendation from friends. (Follow them on Instagram @pickie_foodie ) And man are we so glad we did! Some DELICIOUS Pinots and overall such a wonderful tasting experience. We will definitely be back here.

Another memorable coastal trip for the books. We will most definitely be making Mendocino a regular on our travel list. Not only is the food SO good, but the quietness of the beach town is just what you need to relax for the weekend. Now for Bryan’s take on the trip!

His Take:

Mendocino is absolutely worth the trip.  Incredible views, nice people, very good food. 

My top 3:

1) The Views: Ash and I stayed at the Blue Door Inn.  If you did nothing else on your trip but sit on your patio and stare at the ocean – you’d be fine. The whole place looks like a postcard.  One of the best ocean/coastal views I’ve ever seen.  Champagne was also a nice add here.  Wine hour with other B&B guests was really fun too. 

2) Patterson’s Pub.  Ok, so this is the total opposite of #1. After a ‘difficult’ day of sitting on your patio and hiking the dramatic Mendocino cliffs with views of the Pacific…  It’s a pub – with no windows, TV’s, along with sort of the “typical” pub crowd/food/décor.  And it’s awesome!  We happened to get there on Kentucky Derby weekend, so it was packed which was really fun.  They had a great selection of local craft brews.  Most of which under $5. 

3) Flow.  Cool restaurant with a front row seat to the ‘Pacific Ocean Show’.  We shared a few different things that were all really good.  They have beers from Lagunitas and Bear Republic among others.  They’ve also got a great local wine list.  California IPA and Anderson Valley Pinot? Sign us up!

I’d highly recommend Mendocino to anyone.  It’s a “chill” trip.  Not recommended for those who need a high level of activity or solid cell phone connection.  Prices were reasonable everywhere we went and the food was very good.  Go check it out!



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