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 Hill 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, who stayed here in July 2012. Some visitors might recognize the inn for its recurring role in the Murder, She Wrote TV series.
Garden-view rooms look out on the hotel's lush Victorian gardens, where bunches of wildflowers bloom year-round. The newly renovated rooms feature brass beds and lace window curtains. After exploring downtown Mendocino or snuggling with redwoods at nearby Mendocino Headlands State Park, unwind back at the inn with a bottle of wine.
Mendocino, California: Rustic Arts Village amid Redwood Forests
Located along a picturesque headland about a four-hour drive north of San Francisco, Mendocino is understandably 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, where you can find artwork portraying the Pacific coast’s diverse beauty.
In the mid-19th century, Mendocino rose to prominence as a redwood-logging hub along California's northern coast, attracting a number of settlers from New England. These West Coast pioneers brought East Coast architecture with them, building their new homes in the Victorian and saltbox styles. For a peek at picturesque old buildings, head to the Ford House, which houses the Mendocino Visitor Information Center and the Kelley House Museum, which preserves 19th-century photographs and furniture in a house built in 1861.