Mendocino Travel Diary

 Any time there’s a long weekend, I try to get out of town and explore somewhere new. But when there’s a holiday weekend and our 8 year anniversary all in one, we definitely head out of town—and to a beautiful place at that.

This year, we decided to spend our long weekend along the Mendocino Coast. We had seen photos and heard a few stories from friends about Mendocino, but we had no idea just how deeply we’d fall in love with it. To say it was a perfect weekend would be an understatement, and I’m breaking down everything we did below.
Day 1: Since Mendocino is about a 3.5 hour drive from our house, we decided to take Friday off so we could take our time getting up there. The first stop we made was in a small town called Boonville. It was no less than 110 degrees outside so we weren’t really able to do the exploring I had hoped for, but we did grab delicious sandwiches from Boonville General Store and a sweet, refreshing treat at Paysanne afterward.
Our second stop of the day was Navarro Vineyards, a seriously stunning winery with delicious wines. After doing their tasting, we purchased a bottle of their Gewürztraminer and then made our way to our hotel in Mendocino, the Sea Rock Inn. With expansive views and quaint cottages, this place looked perfect on paper but was even more stunning IRL. I seriously cannot recommend it enough—every little detail was perfection. Just look at our adorable cabin below!
We closed out our first day with sunset drinks and dinner at Little River Inn. Pro tip: Order your drink at the bar and then enjoy it outside on the deck.
Day 2: To kick off our second day, we woke up early and hit the hiking trails to beat the heat. The views from Russian Gulch State Park were breathtaking, as is a nice walk through the Mendocino Headlands. From there, we made our way into what may be the sweetest town I’ve ever seen. Between the Victorian homes with white picket fences, adorable shops and cafés, and ocean views, it’s no wonder that we spent a couple hours just taking it all in. There aren’t a ton of great lunch spots to choose from but we loved our salads and iced coffees from the Goodlife Café and Bakery.
After a solid shopping sesh (my favorite shop was Honey & Ro!), it was the perfect time for a beach sesh. Best part? Big River Beach is just a few steps away from town and was the dreamiest place to spend the rest of the afternoon.
The dreaminess continued with happy hour at MacCallum House. As soon as we walked in and saw the massive white windows and wraparound porch, it was love at first sight. We didn’t have a chance to eat here, but it looked like the perfect place to spend an evening. Instead, we ate dinner at the Ledford House, which is the ideal spot to catch the sunset and listen to live jazz, but is a bit of a drive from town.
Day 3: On our last full day, we traveled north to Fort Bragg, a much larger town just about 10 miles from Mendocino. To be totally honest, I’d say you could easily leave this off the itinerary and opt to spend yet another afternoon in the oh-so-charming Mendocino. But if you do decide to venture to Fort Bragg, here are the top spots to hit: Glass Beach, MacKerricher State Park, Jenny’s Giant Burger, and Pacific Star Winery for a $5 tasting in Adirondack chairs overlooking the ocean.
I guess you could say we saved the best for last for our anniversary dinner because our meal at Wild Fish was one for the books. Whatever you do, make your reservation in advance because the restaurant is teeny tiny and fills up quickly.
Day 4: Though it took significantly longer, we ended up driving all the way down the coast to go back home. Along the way, we stopped whenever we saw something that caught our eyes with our favorite places being: Point Arena Lighthouse, Bowling Ball Beach, Bodega Bay, and Nick’s Cove for fish and chips.

I’m already looking at the calendar to see when we can spend another weekend in magic Mendocino. If you’re looking for more long weekend destinations, check out my travel guides for Big Sur and Seattle.

Look Back on Summer Adventures

From beaches to bougainvillea, this summer has been filled with so many memorable adventures. While our trips to Santa Fe and Southern California, as well as our weekend getaway in San Francisco, were certainly the highlights, we’ve also really enjoyed staying local and soaking up the sun. I’m planning to savor every second of this last month of summer, but here are some of my favorite photos from the season thus far.

Bay Area Exploring: The Presidio

I was long overdue for an explore day around the Bay Area, and for this edition, I headed out to the Presidio neighborhood of San Francisco. We parked right around Sacramento and Laurel Streets and were confronted with the most stunning houses I have ever seen. Ever. Period.

If you’re a fan of the HGTV show House Hunters, then you’ll understand when I say that I could have spent all day long in this neighborhood, attempting to peek inside the windows. Home goals right here.

Bay Area Exploring: Marin Headlands

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Every weekend, I try to explore at least one place I’ve never been before. Of course, some weekends that means just trying the new lunch spot that opened up down the street. But when I have more time, you’ll undoubtedly find me about an hour’s drive from home, camera in hand and taking it all in.

The other weekend, my boyfriend and I had one of those freer weekends so we hopped in the car and headed out to Marin. It was such a gorgeous day, so we decided to stop by the Marin Headlands like we’ve done in the past. This time, however, we noticed people were hiking down the mountain and decided to follow suit. We did not regret our decision when we landed on a gorgeous beach–what I learned is called Kirby Cove–with a tree swing and all. See what I mean below!

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How incredible is this tree swing? Despite the difficulty in getting on and off (it’s a lot higher off the ground than it seems), it was absolutely magical.

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From now on, any time we head out to the Marin Headlands, we’ll be sure to make Kirby Cove a must-do on the list as well.

San Francisco Stunners

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Whenever my boyfriend and I decide to head into San Francisco over the weekend, we know we’re taking a chance on weather. It could be 75 and sunny in Oakland, but the second we cross the Bay Bridge, we’re immersed in a thick layer of fog.

So while we definitely can’t count of San Francisco to deliver on the weather front, we know for sure that it will never do us wrong when it comes to: shopping, eating, and architecture. Once the shopping and eating are done, of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is just walk around and admire all of the beautiful houses (well, more like apartments that are divided amongst six roommates). Whether it’s Hayes Valley, Pacific Heights or the Marina, every corner you turn will be another architectural goldmine.

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