Elegant Suites Overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Signposts up and down the Pacific coast warn of the surprising power of the ocean as it lurches toward land, but from the quiet rooms of the Hill House Inn—where floor-to-ceiling windows look out on gently rolling waters—the sea can seem an altogether peaceful thing. A rustic Victorian garden surrounding the inn augments the serene scene with bushes and wildflowers blooming with colorful displays.
Inside the rooms, sunbeams filtered through lace curtains fall onto a commodious wooden armoire and cushy chaise. While sipping a cup of freshly percolated organic coffee, guests take in sweeping views of the Pacific. In the morning, a continental breakfast set up in the inn's restaurant features golden malted waffles and fresh fruit to fuel morning adventures such as a stroll through the gardens, a visit to downtown Mendocino, or a marathon tree-hugging session in nearby redwood forests.
Mendocino, California: Rustic Arts Village Amid Redwood Forests
Wave-polished driftwood piles up on the Mendocino coastline, which stretches along a picturesque headland located about a 4-hour drive north of San Francisco. The town is popular with artists, many of whom find creative uses for the gnarled redwood pieces, beach glass, and seashells that wash ashore. A 6-foot-tall horse bust made entirely of driftwood stands outside the Mendocino Art Center, which houses artwork echoing the textures and palettes of the coast.
About 5 miles south of Mendocino, hikers trek throughout the Van Damme State Park, crossing wooden footbridges and naturally mulched trails winding alongside the Little River before ascending to a pygmy redwood forest. Back on Mendocino’s Main Street, a multitude of eateries dish out freshly plucked fruits of the sea. Hidden within the ribbing of a water tower, a flight of stairs zigzags up to the Bay View Cafe, where the wait staff recommends the hot crab sandwich, an ample serving of dungeness crab blended with cream cheese and topped with avocado and melted jack cheese.