Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Marvelous Mendocino!

We took a little trip up the coast this weekend, finally making our way to Mendocino. After traveling along windy roads through Redwood forests, and more windy roads along the coast (carsick, much?!), we made it to the seaside town of Mendocino. The nuggets were excited! Read on for our adventures in this amazing (and very dog-friendly) part of the world.

We stayed at a fun, quirky little place called the Andiron Inn & Seaside Cabins. Perfectly met our needs- reasonably priced, close to beaches & town, good space with cute decorations and friendly owners, and nice little cabins with decks, kitchenettes, and grounds for watching animals and running around. Captain was excited to sniff all around, and watch wildlife- including a heron, some bunnies, some deer, and birds - from our deck (ok, ok, he whined and wanted to go chase them....)

Watching for wildlife

Enjoying the deck of our cabin at the Andiron
While Nugget 2 was thrilled to meet the goats and chickens at our Inn, Captain wasn't too sure about them...
Captain cautiously sniffing those goats
 Of course there was PLENTY of beach time:

Van Damme Beach

Enjoying the coastal views (and scaring Mommy by getting to close to them)
So many gorgeous beach spots, and so many of them feeling so rugged and untouched. We had some of the most amazingly beautiful beaches all to ourselves (I suppose we were there fairly early in the AM, though, thanks to Nugget 2!).

Some favorites: Mendocino headlands (pictured above) for just plain gorgeous coastal running along the cliffs - Captain and I were THRILLED to be running along this trail!

Caspar beach (not sure the name of the spot but it was out Cabrillo Drive) - we had this little beaut all to ourselves in the morning (also first pic of the post):

Seaglass beach in Fort Bragg was fun for tidepooling:

....and while I was showing Nugget 2 some cool moss Nugget 1 thought it was tasty and refreshing.... which made Nugget 2 giggle uncontrollably.... ;)

Big River Beach - right by the town of Mendocino, great for wading, watching waves and surfers, and oogling the wondrous coastal views...

(And yes, ALL of this is dog-friendly- much of it off-leash permitted - or at least completely accepted and unregulated!)

And not sure name of this last one, as we stopped on a whim on our drive back, but looking at the map I think it might be Navarro...

We also did a little hike/walk out to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, which was pretty cool, but dog-owners be wary- there were signs that it was a tick-infested area, and we had to watch out for foxtails. Luckily, Captain listens well, and his short hair makes it easy to spot ticks (we didn't get any, thank goodness!)
Trail to Cabrillo Lighthouse

Amazing coastal views abound

In short, this area took my breath away. The coastal views are just plain crazy beautiful, and seem to go on forever, with something new and beautiful to look at around every curve of the road. I'm actually kind of shocked we've lived in California for almost eight years and haven't had more friends tell us to go there. While Tahoe is beautiful, everyone and their mother goes there, so it can often feel overcrowded (unless you time it right - as we did on one of my favorite trips to Tahoe) - whereas this felt much more rugged and untouched (granted, we went on a Monday/Tuesday, but it was during the summer). It's also a pretty quick and relatively easy & traffic free drive from the Bay Area (if you can get over the potential carsickness from the curvy roads! I felt much better driving than trying to sit in the back entertaining Nugget 2). SO much fun outdoorsy stuff to do in the area.

Other highlights: We stopped in to walk through some Redwood old growth forest on the way back as well, but it was sadly no dogs allowed on the trails (always such a bummer!)

Some final notes- we also had a delicious brunch at the Stanford Inn, an eco-resort with some of the most beautiful grounds you will ever see.
It may be vegan food, but I still want you to drop it.
Brunching with the Nuggets at the beautiful Stanford Inn!
Next time we might just have to splurge and stay there (it is dog-friendly as well!) Actually, in looking up spots in the area, there seem to be many great options for dog-friendly accommodations. Just another massive perk to this amazingly gorgeous area!
I'm already dreaming of going back...


  1. 1: Beautiful scenery. 2: My daughter and her family just moved back to Utah after spending two years in Patterson, Ca. They would have really enjoyed going to these places. 3: How did Nugget 2 get taller than Nugget 1 already?

    1. Ha, yes she's growing fast! She consistently has been checking in at >90th percentile for height, thanks to her Daddy. ;) We all enjoyed the scenery!