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A Guide to The Perfect Weekend in Mendocino, California

A Guide to The Perfect Weekend in Mendocino, California

Tian Lee explores a perfect weekend in Mendocino with charming inns, wine tasting, and seal spotting by kayak on Big River.
By Tian Lee

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Three hours up the coast from San Francisco is the charming, sleeping coastal village of Mendocino. Tony and I headed up there for the Memorial Day weekend for a last-minute one night weekender trip. Surprisingly, one night and two half days can feel like a week, especially when you’re surrounded by baby animals, intoxicating landscapes, and incredibly yummy vegan/health-friendly food options. Once a logging, fishing and ranch town – it has a really interesting piece of California and American history when you look deeper.

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Weekend Highlights: (Clockwise): Inn at Cobbler’s Walk Bed & Breakfast; enjoying a glass of wine on the inn’s patio after check-in; kayaking Big River; scenic bluffs near Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

Day 1 | Coffee for the Road | 11 a.m.

Everyone knows I love me a good Italian shakerato before I hit the road. But if you don’t have time to make one at home before the long drive, you can make a pit stop for a cup in Sebastapol (a charming town in Sonoma County). Grab a cold brew from Taylor Made Organic Coffee and a ham and cheese croissant.

Day 1 | Lunch in Town | 2 p.m.

Grab a surprisingly good vegan and “non-fried” falafel sandwich from Frankies Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor once you get into downtown Mendocino. They have a really interesting “mushroom iced coffee” I didn’t get to try, but I put it on my “next time” list for sure.

Day 1 | Check In & Get Comfy | 3 p.m.

A few hours later, we checked into our bed and breakfast The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk. The owner also owns the inn across the street, Glendeven Inn. This is an amazing B&B, and they have six “pet” llamas, chickens (which you can feed), a small garden farm, and an awesome wine tasting happy hour out in their patio where they offer light appetizers to pair with the wine. The best part is a hot three-course breakfast they serve you at 9 a.m. in the morning. Eggs come from the chickens on the property.

Llama Mendocino Juicy Peach Diaries

Playing with llamas: The owners of the Inn at Cobbler’s Walk and Glendeven Inn own six llamas, and you’re welcome to go into their pens and play with them (if you’re a guest). Here’s me learning how to get them to kiss me. Apparently you approach them slowly with arms at your side and pucker your lips. You’ll get a smack if they’re feeling up to it.

Juicy Peach Weekender Breakfast Cobblers Walk

In-room hot breakfastAt 9 a.m., the innkeeper drops off a basket with a three-course hot breakfast. Ours included freshly squeezed orange juice, a delicious mediterranean quiche, zucchini bread, and baked apples with spices and wildberries. 

Day 1 | Watch the Sunset at Dinner | 7:45 p.m.

The innkeeper helped us make last-minute reservations at The Ledford House in Albion, a great chill french/mediterranean restaurant that had panoramic views of the sun setting over the Pacific. Great, affordable wine selections, pate and amazing gnocchi. Dishes range from $20-$40.

Day 2 | Kayak the Crystal Blue Waters of Big River | 10:45 a.m.

Rent kayaks at Catch a Canoe & Bicycles Too! near the Stanford Inn for a three hour paddle down the Big River. In April and May, you can spot tons of mother and seal pups sun-bathing and playing along the river’s coast. Parts of the river are so clear you can see all the way to the smooth rocks on the river floor. Bring a hat and some snacks. Next time, we’ll try and rent one of their redwood outrigger canoes – they were beautiful! Rental cost: $28/person for three hours.

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Kayak Big River: Redwood outrigger canoes and kayaks parked along the launching point from Catch a Canoe & Bikes Too!

Seals Mendocino Juicy Peach Diaries

See Also

Baby Seal Spotting: A mama and baby seal are catching some rays on the banks of the River. You can spot them from April – May.

Day 2 | A Historic Lighthouse | 2:30 p.m.

After grabbing a burger in town, we headed for a quick visit to Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse Station, a singular, but beautiful little house perched on a bluff. It’s a picturesque stop for some photos, and a nice walk if you’re looking to walk off your lunch.

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Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Station: A beautiful lighthouse dating back to the early 1900s perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. 

Day 2 | Wine Taste En Route Home | 4:30 p.m.

At dinner, we had a really good zin from Navarro Vineyards, so when we saw it at the side of the road, we couldn’t help but stop off and take a little “happy hour break” while headed home. It’s located in Philo, the town south of Mendocino. They have amazing wines here, and the tasting is free. They also have a charming patio and wonderful picnic grounds for a picnic or just a pretty place to have your wine.

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Wine tasting at Navarro Vineyards: Enjoying a glass of pinot noir on the vineyard’s beautiful patio. We had the 2011 Zinfandel at dinner at Ledford House, and at $30, it was a steal for the quality of wine it was.

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