The village of Mendocino, CA sits above a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, shrouded in fog. Three hours north of San Francisco it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I first discovered Mendocino in 2001 when I moved to California and visited again in 2005. As life has gotten more hectic, I’ve made a point to try to spend a few days there each of the last four years to decompress and recharge.
Mendocino is a place of quiet, unhurried days and evenings. There are charming rental cottages with fireplaces and views of the ocean that can be had from your bed, easy hikes down from the town center to tide pools and through headlands and longer costal hikes a few miles by car north and south of town. In Mendocino you will find the ambiance of a costal California long-gone in other busier parts of the state. The heart of the village is a 4×4 block grid making everything walkable. The whole town seems to stop in every day at Good Life Cafe (warning: not quiet) for coffee and hearty, tasty and relatively cheap eats till 4pm; the ceramic bowls and mugs made by local artists for purchase that line the walls are a perfect way to remember your visit. Sit down for dinner in a 1893 Victorian farmhouse at Cafe Beaujolais or grab some pizza and ice cream at Frankies.
Be sure to check the schedule for ceramics, textiles, and painting classes at The Mendocino Arts Center, drop by a local artist’s studio or catch a play during the theater season at Mendocino Theater. Gallery Bookstore & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books, the town’s lively, independently owned book store and Main Street Books, your local source for second hand books are must visit spots for bibliophiles looking for just the right book for a quiet evening to end the day.