Inn on Rocky Bluff Overlooking Pacific Ocean
Perched on a stone bluff overlooking a natural cove on the Pacific coastline, the buildings of Wharf Master's Inn surround a beautifully restored Victorian-style home originally built in 1865 and listed today on the National Register of Historic Places. Antique furnishings, such as four-poster beds and hand-carved armoires, fill the interior—a style of décor reflected in the guest rooms found in the inn's other buildings.
Despite their old-fashioned look, rooms boast their fair share of modern comforts, including satellite TV and jacuzzi tubs. Balconies attached to each room overlook either the Pacific Ocean or a courtyard dotted with natural wood sculptures.
Every morning, the innkeepers treat guests to a buffet-style continental breakfast that may include cereal, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and fruit cups. You can spend the rest of the day hiking Mendocino County's evergreen mountain ranges, touring wineries, or diving deep in search of abalone and other underwater treasures. When the orange California sun sinks to the horizon, retire to weather-beaten private decks to watch gray whales form a vast conga line as they migrate to and from Mexico.
Point Arena, California: Coastal Hideaway on Spectacular Highway 1
In Point Arena, a coastal hamlet inhabited by about 450 people, New Age shops rub shoulders with old-fashioned family grocers on the tiny main street. Surfers and deep-sea divers share the wharf with fishermen unloading their daily catch of urchins and salmon. Endangered mountain beavers and giant salamanders round out the town's natural inhabitants.
Point Arena lies within Mendocino County, known as "America's greenest wine region" for the eco-friendly methods area vintners use to create their celebrated pinot noirs and gewürztraminers. The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association is comprised of numerous vineyards easily accessible from the inn via car or pogo stick. Many wineries host year-round tastings and tours.
From December through April, the Point Arena Lighthouse provides an ideal vantage point for whale watching. Near the grounds of the lighthouse, dozens of walking trails wind through a forest filled with towering redwoods, pines, and cypresses and, in spring, a dazzling palette of coastal wildflowers.