Romantic Redwood Retreat in Tudor-Style Hotel
After the completion of the Redwood Highway in 1926, nine brothers and sisters constructed a Tudor-style hotel to accommodate the growing number of tourists traveling the country road. Soon, the resort's private riverside location and sophisticated English charm began to attract luminaries such as Clark Gable and Eleanor Roosevelt, who cherished the estate's gourmet cuisine and outdoor recreation. The Benbow Inn—named for the family that built it—has managed to preserve its original splendor, and continues to please with its enchanting landscape and genteel hospitality.
In petite queen rooms, a pair of wingback chairs sport polka-dot upholstery and are set against the striped and floral bedding of a mahogany queen bed. Period antiques, sherry decanters, and an extensive library lend the rooms a dignified air. Without the distraction of a TV, guests can look out onto the terrace or garden area, where walkways wind through landscaped flowerbeds and across an old stone bridge that spans the river. Herb and organic vegetable gardens also grow on the property; their produce is transmuted into colorful meals at breakfast and dinner in the Tudor-style dining room.
Garberville, California: Quaint Pastoral Town in Heart of Redwood Belt
The Avenue of the Giants, a sprawling collection of the tallest trees in the world, lies 6 miles north of the hotel. More than 50,000 acres of redwood groves stretch out along the coastal highway here, where visitors can hike through miles of pedestrian trails. Trunks measuring 10 feet in diameter also ascend from Richardson's Grove State Park, a living museum of ancient redwoods, whose fishable waterways overflow with salmon, steelhead, and strips of peppermint bark during cooler months.
Antique stores, art galleries, and old-fashioned mercantile shops dot the Victorian village of Ferndale, which was named one of America's prettiest towns by Forbes magazine. Located about an hour north of the hotel, the former dairy town preserves its old-fashioned spirit with blacksmith shops and candy stores that vend hand-dipped treats, but also hosts avant-garde events such as the Kinetic Sculpture Race.
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