Mendocino - California

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Mendocino gets much mention as the "New England Village of the Pacific Coast." The town was founded by loggers and lumber barons from Maine who built their homes, stores and inns in the New England style. A visit today gives former New Englanders startling remembrances of times past.

Set on a rugged headland facing the ocean, the town began as a lumber port at the mouth of the Big River with most of the houses constructed between 1840 and 1860. Flower children of the San Francisco Bay Area found Mendocino to their liking in the 1960s and brought an artistic renaissance to the area.

Mendocino is a favorite visiting place for couples on romantic weekends, and the little town is an easy morning's drive from San Francisco.

You could make it an all-day adventure by driving north along Highway 101 from the Bay area, then turning west to reach the coast via State Route 128, driving through the Anderson Valley with its fine wines and friendly wineries. Another way to drive north to Mendocino is to take the very scenic Highway 1, along the Pacific Coast through Marin, Sonoma, and then the southern coast of Mendocino County.

Mendocino is in the midst of a wonderful recreation area with scenic state parks, hiking trails, cliffs and headlands to walk along.Whale watching has become a growing pastime of visitors to Mendocino. The huge gray whales make their northern and southern migrations just off Mendocino Headlands. Fort Bragg, with more to see is ten miles north of town. You catch the Skunk Train there.

A good place to start your visit to Mendocino is the Ford House Visitor Center, an 1854 home that now is the town information center. Mendocino Headlands State Park winds along the ocean shore, with several trails leading to small beaches.

Mendocino Art Center and Gallery, 45200 Little Lake St., offers exhibits of photography, painting and crafts and is open year-round. Summer performances feature drama, dance and musicals.

The Kelley House Historical Museum & Library, 45007 Albion St., provides historical views of the region in another old home built in 1861 for settler William Kelley. The museum's gardens feature plantings from a century ago. The building and gardens are open daily, during afternoon hours.

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Van Damme State Park is located south of town at Little River.
Caspar Beach RV Park, a private operation, is to the north at 45201 Pt. Cabrillo Drive (707-964-3306).
MacKerricher State Park is a coastal beach preserve, three miles north of Fort Bragg.

For more Places to Stay near Mendocino,
Go to the Mendocino Coast Page

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