I’m not going to lie. There are a ton of great places all around California, and as we work to uncover those gems, I, often times, develop little crushes along the way. Since my visit to Mendocino County this past November I haven’t forgotten this little slice of California, and below are 10 Reasons to Visit this Winter:
Views from the Town of Mendocino
1) The Scenic Drive to Get There
There are really two ways to get into the coastal areas of Mendocino County. Taking Highway 1 all the way up north, but trust me, this way will take your breath away, and will take a little bit longer as far as time goes, but the views will be worth it as long as you’re not fighting against the ocean fog.
The other way to get in is through 101 then cross over on Highway 128 where you cross through Anderson Valley Wine Region, and miles of beautiful Redwoods before hitting the beautiful ocean views.
2) Anderson Valley Wine Region
If you ever wondered what Napa was like during the 70’s, you must take a trek to Anderson Valley Wine Region. Right now, full of vibrant winemakers who have a pure love of their craft, and their passion shines through in the way they talk about it. This region shines in making Pinot Noirs, Gewurtraminers and Riesling Wines due to the cooler climate.
Favorites include Navarro Vineyards, Lula Cellars, and Toulouse Vineyards, all within a few miles radius from one another.
Mendocino was recently named one of the top 10 Wine Destinations to travel to in 2015 by Wine Enthusiast, and let me tell you, you won’t regret this little piece of wine country.
3) Dungeness Crab Season
One thing I’ve learned since moving North is the pure love of Crab season that comes every winter. And Mendocino truly knows how to indulge in this one of a kind meal. Every January their annual Crab, Beer and Wine festival takes place (January 16 – 25, 2015) where area wineries and restaurants offer a variety of deals and offerings in celebration of the Crab.
4) Little Inns Along the Way
One of the best parts of Mendocino County is how much of the county lies off the beautiful coast of California offering for some pretty spectacular views. Of course, a ton of the lodging options happen to lie on the coast too.
With offerings such as The Little River Inn that offer views like below it makes for a very quaint and relaxing vacation while in town:
Little River Inn’s Bar Area within their Restaurant
And of course, some fun vacation packages are available.
Sleeping with the Crabs Package: January 4-29, 2015. (Sunday-Thursday)
- Two-night stay in an Ocean View Fireplace Room
- Four-to-five hour crabbing excursion aboard a chartered boat along Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor where you’ll launch early morning, set your pods, scan the horizon for whales, and then retrace your route, pulling in up to 10 crabs each
- Bottle of Little River Inn’s75th Anniversary Chardonnay to pair perfectly with your fresh-caught crab
- Dinner for two on night of choice
- Breakfast for two on morning of choice
They are also offering their Crabbiest Rate on the Coast (January 4-29) lodging promotion starts at $159 per night for an ocean view fireplace room and can be booked Sunday – Thursday. Rates are excluding taxes and gratuities and are based upon availability.
And their 15th Annual Crab Feed will be taking place Friday, January 30 from 6 to 9pm. Cost is $50 per person and reservations must be made in advance. Also includes a live auction featuring locally-baked, homemade pies. To reserve a space visit, www.littleriverinn.com or call (707) 937-5942. The crab feed benefits MUSE – a local non-profit supporting the enrichment of the educational experiences of students in the Mendocino Unified School District.
5) The Sunsets
Need I say more? This Sunset captured during the fall within Mendocino County, but really, anytime of the year will leave you breathless:
6) The Small Town of Mendocino
Mendocino, a sleepy little town off the California Coast that is truly fun to walk through. As you take your steps you’ll feel like you’re walking back in time. Also, the exact town where Murder She Wrote was filmed too.
Fun little shops are found throughout this little coastal town.
7) Glass Beach
And then if you drive a mere 20 minutes up the road to the town of Fort Bragg be sure to stop into Glass Beach for a one of a kind beach experience. It doesn’t get its name without reason.
Fort Bragg Glass Beach
This beach is truly on my must visit list this year to see its splendor in person. And of course, an excuse to get myself up to Mendocino County again.
8) Close to Home
Residing in Sonoma County, getting up to Mendocino is just a mere hour and a half away. Completely worth getting there too. For others in the Bay Area, it could take no less than 3 hours making it a staycation incredibly close to home.
9) Great Coastal Views
Really, it doesn’t get much better than that. And at every turn as you drive away beautiful Highway 1.
10) The Festivals
Two great festivals are happening within Mendocino County this January and February. The first being the Crab, Wine and Beer Festival (January 16-25, 2015) where area Restaurants, Wineries offer incredible events and opportunities to indulge in the crab throughout week long festival.
All You Can Eat Crab Feeds (January 24th)
The Crab Feed at Little River Inn (January 30)
Crab Cake Cook-off & Wine Tasting Competition on Saturday, January 24, from 12 to 3 p.m., in Fort Bragg
The second is the annual Alsace Festival. Taking place on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at the Boonville Fairgrounds, the Alsace Wine Festival offers wine lovers and aficionados the opportunity to taste Alsace-styled wines from around the world with carefully selected foods that pair beautifully with these aromatic, delicate, white wines while also tasting wines from around Anderson Valley Wine Region, as well.
An example of Anderson Valley Representation include Lula Cellars. They will be pouring its 2013 Mendocino Dry Gewurztraminer and 2012 Mendocino Pinot Gris (the Lula Pinot Gris is new to this festival as well). The Alsace-style wines will be paired with Tomales Bay oysters and Tart Flambé.
Little River Inn is offering a great package for the Alsace Festival, as well:
- Two night stay in an Ocean View Fireplace Room
- Tickets for two to the Alsace Varietals Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday, February 7
- Complimentary Bottle of an Alsace-style wine donated by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association
Rates for the ALSACE FESTIVAL PACKAGE for two begin at $615 (excluding taxes and gratuities) and require a three-day advance reservation.
Happy Traveling this 2015, but honestly, Mendocino County truly needs to be on your list.