When dawn breaks over the Pacific Ocean along California's Mendocino Coast, fog occasionally enshrouds two massive, moss-covered rock formations standing near the shore. They look a little like a brontosaurus couple sharing an intimate moment, which is why they're called the Kissing Dinosaurs. The Greenwood Pier Inn is located right across from these canoodling sea statues. A romantic vibe permeates the cliff-top bed and breakfast, where couples can enjoy an outdoor hot tub, English-style gardens, and artful marble and tile decor crafted by the owner.
From the private decks connected to several guest rooms, look out on Greenwood Cove to glimpse migrating whales, dolphins, and sea lions. The Goldfish room on the second floor offers breathtaking views of the ocean bluffs, and you can admire the large arch in Wharf Rock from the Whale room's private deck. Fireplaces, jacuzzis, and complimentary bottles of champagne and wine upon arrival help set the mood for romance.
The oceanfront Greenwood Pier Cafe serves seafood such as salmon, as well as grilled meats. The café’s windows look out on vegetable patches, babbling fountains, and Buddha figures. Although dinner can be delivered to guest rooms, those strolling to the café discover hidden landscaping features such as goldfish ponds and flowers planted in boots. The eatery is closed on Mondays.
Elk, California: Scenic Arts Alcove on Historic Highway 1
The unincorporated community of Elk is located off California’s historic Highway 1, known for its scenic vistas of Pacific coastline. Called “one of America’s unofficial pilgrimage routes” by Travel + Leisure, the Pacific Coast Highway connects San Diego to Northern California’s Redwood National Park. If you’ve got the time, take the half-hour drive north to the small town of Mendocino, most of which has been designated a US Historic District for its Victorian-style architecture.
Back in Elk, rugged bluffs and booming tides inspire local artisans who celebrate the interplay between man and nature through carvings, paintings, jewelry, and crafts. Greenwood Pier Inn’s garden shop and country store showcase the work of Elk’s artists as well as imports from Bali and mosaics of sea stones, earthenware, and broken china washed ashore from ancient shipwrecks.
What You Get
$149 for a one-night stay for two in the Goldfish, Starfish, Bluebird, Whale, East Gallery, West Gallery, or La Petite Oiseau room with champagne and wine (up to a $309 value)