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Mendocino and Fort Bragg: My picture perfect weekend getaway!

My blogging world had come to a stand still of late. First studying for the exam, then prepping for the Half Dome hike and then my parents visiting. More trip blogs coming up on all that later, but I’ll start off with a weekend trip that was nothing else but PERFECT! Couldn’t have asked for more :).

When I started the trip, all I knew was that it was going to be a weekend getaway somewhere along California’s northern coastline. So, a couple of months back, one fine Saturday morning, we started driving along California’s northern coast to the spectacular wine county of Mendocino. It is about 2.5-3 hours drive from the bay area, north of San Francisco. The drive to Mendocino has a lot of winding roads of which I am not fond of, so when we hit the coast, I was very relieved. The only thing I had heard before about things to do in Mendocino was about some train ride, so I was really looking forward to all the surprises that were about to unfold.

Once we reached Mendocino, our first stop was at the Ford Museum. Mendocino itself is a very small town with a lot of local stores so we decided to take a walk exploring them. After some strolling around, we headed to Moosse Cafe for lunch. With a beautiful garden and an amazing view of the coast line, this organic restaurant is one of the best I have been to. We had the Vegetable Succotash & Quinoa (pink quinoa) and the original vegetable burger. I am not a fan of burgers but I have never had such a delicious one before. Good food definitely meant a great start to the weekend :). Post lunch we headed to a place called Glass beach. This place was a public dumpster some 50-60 years back where glass artwork was trashed and now tourists visit this cove beach to pick up rounded sea glass. If you have been following my blog regularly, you would know I am glass frantic, especially when it comes to art. Of course, we got our hands dirty to collect glass pieces at the beach, that’s what most people at the beach were doing. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the colored sea glass I picked up in one of my art works. But, let me tell you, “Glass beach” is an ABSOLUTE MUST DO – one in a kind beach to see millions of tiny colorful glass that sparkle in the sun.

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After a visit to the glass beach, we decided to take a small hike since there are a lot of state parks in Mendocino and we wanted to explore the coastline. We choose to hike the Ecological Staircase trail that lead to the terraces at the Jug Handle State Reserve and checked out the Pygmy forests too! If you are curious about what Pygmy forests are, they are just a bunch of tiny trees clustered together, hence the name. So after our short hike, we headed back to Mendocino town to hang out at a coffee shop that we had spotted earlier in the day. Moody’s Coffee Bar. Being a coffee lover, a visit there had to be part of my perfect getaway, right? After picking up coffee, we headed to the beach again. If you go to Northern Cali. beaches in summer, it can be foggy and that’s what happened to us too. We did miss the sun, but it was still pleasant. After spending time at the beach, we decided to go for early dinner at one of Northern California’s best vegetarian restaurants – Ravens at Stanford Inn. This place deserves a separate blog post, but I do not have pictures since we went there without a camera. I highly highly highly recommend it. Mendocino is heaven for foodies and Raven’s probably would be high up if not at the top of the list of Mendocino highlights 🙂

Only when I thought I was done with all the surprises for the day, I found out we were heading to a town called Elk, about 15 miles from Mendocino. The drive to Elk is gorgeous and has mind-blowing vistas of sea arches at the coastline. We stayed at an oceanfront cottage at the Griffin House Inn. The inn has cottages, each of which have different decor and layout. The town of Elk has an extremely romantic and cozy feeling to it. Oh and by the way, there was no internet connectivity, no cell phone coverage and no televisions :). Indeed a peaceful getaway! Next time you want a break from the hustle and bustle of your busy life, you know where to go.

Skunk Train ride - Fort Bragg

The next day we decided to take the Skunk Train Ride in Fort Bragg. It’s a scenic 4-5 hour train ride that takes you through the Redwood forest in Northern California. They stop for lunch at Northspur and then takes the same route to get back to Fort Bragg. I have never traveled in an open car train, so standing out on the open car was pretty exciting. Though I have to admit that coming back the same route can get a bit monotonous. They could have kept it a 2-3 hour affair instead of the 4-5 hour round trip. Anyways, I did like the live banjo music and the train songs. Made the ride quite lively.

Well, that was how my picture perfect getaway ended. Definitely one of my most remembered trips. So next time you are thinking of a getaway to a pretty town with AmaZing food (yup, with a capital Z), excellent beaches, great hiking, spectacular views, plenty of relaxing, then plan a trip to Mendocino :).


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