Built in 1886, The Weller House Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The adjacent water tower is the tallest structure in Fort Bragg, and it’s possible to climb it for city views and whale watching from the top of the tower.
You can stroll through landscaped gardens or tango in the 900-square-foot ballroom, paneled in California redwood.
Some of the six available guest rooms feature hand-painted tiles, stained-glass windows, and fluffy down comforters; some also have clawfoot tubs and fireplaces.
In the morning, there’s a complimentary breakfast of freshly squeezed organic orange juice, locally baked breads, organic oatmeal with monukka raisins, organic eggs, jams, and homemade marmelade.
The Weller House Inn is situated in downtown Fort Bragg, one block from the Skunk Train depot. The train whisks passengers through acres of virgin redwood forest. Availability can be checked online.
Mendocino Coast, California: Small Towns Along Scenic Oceanfront and Redwood Forests
Located about three hours north of San Francisco, Northern California’s Mendocino Coast is a region filled with tiny towns, art colonies, and varied terrain. Within a few minutes of one another are sunlit valleys, fertile vineyards, rocky headlands blanketed by fog, and serene forests of old-growth redwoods. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens showcase the area’s geographical diversity through its native rhododendrons, prickly succulents, and colorful blooms stretching to the ocean.
Partially because of its scenic land- and seascapes, the coast is popular with painters, who gather in artists' collectives such as the Mendocino Art Center. To see the land that inspires local artwork, head to Russian Gulch, Mendocino Headlands, or any of the region’s coastal state parks. At Mendocino Headlands State Park, waves crash into carving arches, grottos, and stony bluffs, while MacKerricher State Park north of Fort Bragg contains dramatic sand dunes.
Although normally quiet, the region comes alive during a series of whale festivals every March and April, when California gray whales pass by the coast as they migrate from Mexico to Alaska. You'll find one of the best vantage points for whale watching at Point Cabrillo Light Station, a lonely lighthouse first lit in 1909.