Stately Bed and Breakfast on Historical Property
Hill House Inn is named after business-savvy brothers Joel and Spencer Hills, who built a small empire of local shops in Mendocino in the mid-1800s. At the height of their success, they purchased a tract of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean and named it the Hills Estate Ranch. Today, Hill House Inn sits on part of that 320-acre property, surrounded by soaring cypress trees. The charming bed and breakfast has attracted its share of notable guests over the years, including Bette Davis and Kris Kristofferson. Some visitors might recognize the inn for its recurring role in the Murder, She Wrote TV series.
Guest rooms and suites look out either on the ocean or the hotel's lush Victorian gardens, where bunches of wildflowers bloom year-round. The newly renovated rooms feature brass beds and lace window curtains; suites have wood-burning fireplaces. Outside of the inn, explore downtown Mendocino, or snuggling with redwoods at nearby Mendocino Headlands State Park.
Mendocino, California: New England Look-Alike on Scenic Pacific Headlands
In the mid-19th century, Mendocino rose to prominence as a redwood-logging hub along California's northern coast, attracting a number of lumberjacks from New England. These West Coast pioneers brought East Coast architecture with them, building their new homes in the Victorian and saltbox styles. The town has such a New England look that it stood in for a Maine fishing village during the filming of the TV series Murder, She Wrote. For a peek at some of these picturesque old buildings, head to the Ford House, which serves as the official Visitor Information Center of Mendocino Village, and the Kelley House Museum, which preserves 19th-century photographs and furniture in a house built in 1861.
In the 1950s, when it was in danger of becoming a ghost town, Mendocino was thrust back into the spotlight thanks to painter Bill Zacha’s Mendocino Art Center. Still open today, the art center has taken advantage of its scenic setting along the town’s coastline, which has been the inspiration for several watercolor and oil canvases. A quick stroll south will bring you to one such scenic spot, Mendocino Headlands State Park, where waves crash along carving arches, grottoes, and stony bluffs.