Weekend on the Mendocino Coast


Okay, now that I am back from my deathbed because of a fun cold I’ve had, I wanted to share our MDW on the coast! We escaped for the long weekend up the California/Mendocino Coast to the Little River/Mendocino/Fort Bragg area. The two of us wanted to experience more of the coast and our anniversary along with a long weekend were the perfect excuses to get away, relax and reflect on what Memorial Day really means.

|F R I D A Y|

Friday after work, we drove up the 101 to the 128 and popped out on Highway 1. First, the 128 at night is DARK – those massive redwoods let no light through…so if you aren’t a fan of a route with low visibility (at night) take Highway 1 the whole way up. I will say that taking the 128 up and Highway 1 down, really let us see the crazy landscapes of northern California, how a mere mile can look drastically different; in the most amazing way possible.

Heritage House Entrance

For the weekend, we stayed at The Heritage House Resort in Little River – only about 5.5 miles south of downtown Mendocino. Situated on the edge of a rocky cove, above the Pacific Ocean, this Oasis was everything we could have asked for. The original building on the property, an ivy-covered English style home with a bright red door, was built in 1877 and is the main vein of the property. Their check-in, bar, and restaurant are all located in this building. We stayed in a small 3 room condo and were completely blown away with as soon as we entered. From the outside, we expected a more “rustic” and older room but with their recent remodel, the room was cozy and modern with a gas fireplace and the more unreal CLAW FOOT TUB which overlooked the ocean.

Heritage House Claw Foot Tub Heritage House Tub

|S A T U R D A Y|

Since we arrived at night, we didn’t get to see what our view was until the morning. When we woke up the next morning, the most beautiful gray fog was engulfing the outlet, waves were crashing on the rocks and the birds were chirping. It was the most amazing sensation to wake up to – not something we get all the time in a busy city. We made our way to breakfast at the in the main building where we planned our day of exploring. The waiters were incredibly friendly and helpful, provided us with a map and pointed out some highlights of what to see and what to avoid.

H. House Hotel Room Room View
Our day went as follows: Drive north to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens 〉 keep north to Fort Bragg and see the North Coast Brewing Co. and anything else along Main Street 〉 head back south and stop at Van Damme State Park but instead of heading to the beach we headed into the forest 〉 finally finish our day back at the resort.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

This was the most surprising part of our day. We knew it was going to be pretty but we didn’t realize how SPRAWLING it would be. There were several gardens which snaked along and eventually dropped you out on the cliff of the ocean. It was stunning. Just look at the photos!

Botanical Gardens Entrance

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens Botanical Gardens
Grass is Greener

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens Bridge Botanical Gardens Details
Botanical Gardens View

Botanical Gardens Waterfront

Botanical Gardens wild flowers Botanical Gardens Path

Botanical Gardens Botanical Gardens Succulents
Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens Chickens

Downtown Fort Bragg

Zach really wanted to try the variety of beers that the North Coast Brewing Co. had to offer. I am by no means a beer expert, in fact, I am just recently starting to embrace it and I LOVED their beer. My favorite was the Red Seal Ale! After lunch, we walked around Main Street for awhile before heading back south. We should have known to take a warmer coat but we didn’t…and it was cold!!! (so…bring a coat)

There are several other places I want to try in Fort Bragg so we will be making another trip up north (hopefully soon!)

North Coast Brewing Co. North Coast Brewing Co.

Van Damme State Park

Taking the advice of our server, we went into the forested part of the park rather than the beach. Not only did we look extremely out of place in our very “urban” outfits but everyone else that was there was clearly there for camping or a more rigorous hike than we were taking. We walked about a mile into the trail and I would be surprised if we spoke more than a few sentences to each other. The foliage was the most amazing green, the river was rushing and gurgling alongside us, the birds were chirping and it was the perfect temperature. When you have a moment like that in nature there are no words needed. It was incredible.

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park Van Damme State Park
Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park

|S A T U R D A Y – A F T E R N O O N|

That afternoon after we returned from our day’s adventures, I made it a priority to b-line for that clawfoot tub. Sitting in the warm water, drinking wine and just relaxing was the perfect ending to the eventful day. We relaxed, read and napped for a few hours before heading out to dinner at the resort’s restaurant, the 5200 Restaurant. It was a wonderful dinner, calm ambiance and once again our servers were incredible.

Clawfoot Tub with Wine

|S U N D A Y|

Making an effort to get out of bed to get out and take photographs was priority number one for Sunday morning. There was also an abandoned house/concrete structure (see below) on top of the bluff across from the resort that we were DYING to get to…unfortunately it didn’t happen but we got some beautiful photos of it. Down below on the rocks, there were divers who were fearlessly diving into the FREEZING cold water for what we found out later were abalones. We once again had breakfast at the main house, asked more touristy questions (including how the hell we get to that abandoned house) and enjoyed our last morning on the property.

Heritage House Tea

Abandoned House

Foggy Morning

Cliff Side

Hole in the Wall

Our drive home was down Highway 1 and within the first 10 minutes on the road we realized how many other places we needed to explore. We absolutely cannot wait to head back up the Mendocino Coast to find out more about these sleepy little coastal towns. We wanted to break up our drive so when we hit Jenner, about 70 miles south of the Little River, we headed inward to Guerneville where we continued on to stop in Healdsburg. Healdsburg is one of my all-time favorite locations and I can’t wait to go more in-depth about it in a later post. We had such a fabulous time and while the weather was what most would call gloomy and cold, we found it relaxing and dramatic; the perfect weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

Mendocino Coastal Rocks

| Thank you to the Heritage House Resort for their service and hospitality! |

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  • Cheri Zehner
    June 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Love your photos, particularly the one in the bathtub. The hotel looks great. Many of the mossy, ferny photos look like they could be from Washington. The Mendocino coastline is beautiful. Kevin and I went there several times before we got married and said that we wanted to retire there. It is so peaceful.