01 Mar Travel – Old School is Cool – Mendicino Village
Photos by: Joe Hilbers
Old School is Cool in North Coast’s Mendocino Village
Who would imagine that the stirring beauty of the craggy wind kissed Mendocino coast , surrounded by the sheer majesty of giant redwoods and dense wooded mountain ridges, would duplicate the perfect setting for the opening scenes of the classic TV series “Murder She Wrote”, that began in 1984. Set in the mythical town of Cabot Cove, Maine, Angela Lansbury portrays Jessica Fletcher, as a mystery writer and amateur detective who lives in a Victorian B&B (now the privately owned Blair house on the corner of Ford and Little Lake Street) Today while walking through the village you can almost hear the clacking of Jessica’s typewriter and are sure that you just caught a glimpse of her riding her bike through the town.
The Mendocino village with its charming cafes and boutiques, was also the backdrop for such notable movies including Frenchman’s Creek; Johnny Belinda; East of Eden; The Russians are coming; Summer of ’42; and Karate Kid III.
How Mendocino came to be
Begin your adventure with a visit to the Ford House, the Mendocino Headlands State Park Visitor Center. originally the home of Jerome and Martha Ford. History has it that when the sinking ship the Frolic loaded with valuables from China reached San Francisco, lumberman Henry Meiggs sent his employee Jerome Ford to see if anything of value could be found. The ship was never found but Ford noted the area ‘s forest of huge trees including the redwoods that stretched for miles, and foresaw an endless amount of potential wealth. In 1851 the demand for lumber in San Francisco was growing faster than supply due to the influx of people seeking their fortunes in the gold fields and in all business ventures that supported the miners.
On Ford’s advice the first mill was built on the headlands that would later become Mendocino.
In 1854 the Ford house was built here and was lived in until 1872. In 1993 Jerome Ford was recognized by the California State Legislature as the founder of Mendocino.
The Ford House is more than a historic home! It is a visitor center as well as an interpretive center for the beautiful and unique natural environment of the area and its local state parks. Permanent exhibits and photos are on display. Located at 45035 Main Street in Mendocino (707) 937-5397 or www.MendoParks.org
Where to stay
Settle in for an idyllic private escape at the Brewery Gulch Inn. a stunning rustic-chic and graciously appointed country lodge overlooking the dramatic views of the crashing Pacific. Located on three acres encompassing mature pine trees, redwoods, hundreds of rhododendrons and native plants. the Inn features virgin redwood timbers eco-salvaged from Mendocino’s Big River. The site overlooking Smuggler’s Cove and the Pacific Ocean is one mile south of the town of Mendocino.
The distinctive Craftsman-style redwood-shake inn, with its impressive porte- cochere and pitched roof, greets you with the beautiful handcrafted redwood entry door. The use of salvaged first growth virgin timber is evident throughout the inn, appearing in the rafters, paneling, windows, door frames and deck rails. The Craftsman-style furnishing has colors chosen to harmonize with the inn’s natural setting. The reception room features redwood beams and paneling, a soaring glass and steel-face wood-burning fireplace, and an impressive two story skylight. The reception desk and adjacent wine bar, which showcase wines from Lake Mendocino and Sonoma counties, are handcrafted from the salvaged redwood. There’s a small gift shop with unique items and a library with books, games and an extensive DVD collection for your enjoyment. The First floor Great Room has 14 foot ceilings and 10 foot redwood-framed French doors leading to a spacious deck. The ultimate romantic spot to view a glorious sunrise or stunning fiery-red sunset. Relax in comfortable chairs, play board games at the tables, or use the inn’s sporting scope or binoculars to explore the spellbinding surroundings. There are ten well appointed guest rooms on three levels, eight with private redwood decks, each with an ocean view framed with coastal spruce and pine trees, and a two room suite with views over the meadows round out the list of accommodations. There is Concierge services for arranging activities such as canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving ,biking, golf, tennis ,horseback riding, hiking trails, walks highlighting the area’s history, wine tours, dining reservations, spa appointments o personalized packages geared to individual interests. There’s complimentary WiFi throughout the Inn.
Arrive in the late afternoon where you will be welcomed by either Steven Smith, General Manager, or another gracious Innkeeper, or the personable proprietor himself, Guy Pacurar. After check in and a short introduction you will be handed your keys and escorted to your luxurious appointed personal retreat, the perfect place to bed down.
Here you will find a cozy seating area with leather club chairs complete with alpaca throws, a wooden desk, excellent lighting, as well as flat-screen television featuring a DVD player and Direct TV, iHome clock radio, and telephones with complimentary local and domestic long distance service. Your featherbed is dressed in Sferra linens and topped with a warm plump fluffy comforter. Your bathroom. many with an overlarge tub have amenities that include Asprey products, Himalayan bath salts, Abyss towels, and plush robes.
The inn lives up to the expectation of how exceptional food and wine are an important part of a memorable travel experience with a focus on organics and the best regional produce and products.
After awakening to the sound of the ocean, start your morning with fresh ground coffee and pastries and an outstanding cooked-to-order breakfast just the way you like it by the Executive chef (there’s special raves for the succulent Millionaire’s bacon).
At 5:30 p.m. each evening, the wine hour is followed by the private chef’s delicacies that might include freshly caught local salmon and crab, mushrooms foraged from the forests that surround you, quiche, peppercorn flank steak, French onion soup, an assorted tray of cheeses and breads, fresh baked chocolate cake, and carefully chosen wines and beers each evening from around the area. A highlight is the Inn’s hand crafted wine from the Anderson Valley known as Fathers & Daughters Cellars Wine. Family owned by patriarch Kurt Schoeneman, father of Sarah and her husband Guy Pacurar (our host) and their daughters Taylor and Ella. Some of the favorites are 2016 – Sarah’s Rustic Bubbles; 2914 Ella’s Reserve Pinot Noir; 2016 the Dance; and a 2016 Chardonnay.
*The Inn was planned and built with the environment in mind. In 2006 following 15 years of planning, the ponds that were part of the wetlands restoration were completed. These natural habitats are kept clean and conducive to plant and animal life through a system of natural rock filtration requiring no chemical additives. Native grasses and wildflowers grow throughout the wetlands. As you drive in, the wetland restoration is visible just past the water tower. It can be accessed by several trails which meander through the peaceful woodland gardens. Secluded benches for two feature views of the ponds. In 2007 the inn’s environmental standards, qualified it for membership in the coveted Green Hotels Association.
The Brewery Gulch Inn is located at 9401 North Highway 1 in Mendocino, 95460. Included in the rate are a full breakfast, evening wine hour, light dinner buffet, and on-site concierge service. There is a two night minimum and special packages are available. For more information, or to make reservations call Phone: (800) 578-4454 or www.brewerygulchinn.com
The Serenity Cottage across the way is managed by the Brewery Gulch Inn. It is yours for an incredible four-day three-night escape that includes use of a Porsche 911 Cabriolet throughout your stay, along with many other spectacular treats. Call the Inn directly at (800) 578-4454 to reserve.
Directions to Brewery Gulch Inn
Take Highway 101 north through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge. Stay on Highway 101 until you reach Cloverdale where there is a junction with Highway 128. The road is also one of California’s newest and most scenic wine roads. Highway 128 ends with meeting Highway One.
On Highway One there’s a water tower with a sign proclaiming Brewery Gulch Inn.