Mendocino County is known for its beautiful coastline, redwood forests, wineries, microbreweries and liberal attitudes towards marijuana. Also, in July of last year the Ranch Fire devastated miles near Clear Lake in Mendocino County. For my first trip there last week it was for an art workshop at the Mendocino Art Center, a wonderful experience I highly recommend. There are a wide range of art classes available for weekend artists and friendly, beautiful accommodations within walking distance. (My friend and I stayed at MacCallum House, and I highly recommend them!)
I think of Mendocino as Carmel about a century ago: quaint, historic buildings that are impeccably well-preserved and with history hiding between its lanes and alleys. For example, there is a cemetery with a Chinese grave site within its perimeter, established in 1863, and segregated from the “mainstream” plots. Ditto for the Catholic cemetery. Little known but well-worth stopping by.
The artisanal grocery stores, curated galleries, and wide range of retail clothing and jewelry shops try to represent locals only in their goods. And an unbelievably well-stocked bookstore (Gallery Bookshophas an entire table devoted to the local history of Mendocino. And the food (check out Trillium and Cafe Mendocino restaurants) are not to be missed.
For all of you who plan to visit northern California, I highly recommend the Mendocino Coast, and if you are there in May and love flowers, make sure to stop by the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (on 47 acres). Last week’s rhododendron show was memorable–and the largest in the U.S.!
Who knew Mendocino had so much to offer?!