Whales, car safaris, spas, restaurants, wineries, parks and coastline await

By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva

Most Americans are hitting the local roads this fall. They’re seeking safe havens in which to de-stress. RV rentals are soaring.  And families are piling into them en-route to  much-needed vacations.

We’ve come to grips with the ban on foreign travel.  And we adjust by substituting  locations like magical Mendocino. It’s just 114 miles north of San Francisco and easy to reach by plane or car.  Nearby airports include San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS.

Magical adventures

From wine tasting to adventure sports, Mendocino has something for all tastes. There’s the annual grape harvest, mushroom haul and artisan provenance to consider.  And  the viewing of  migrating gray whales from  December through April.

Want more action? Tap into B. Bryan Preserve’s new DIY Car Safari Tours.  It’s almost like being in Africa with all the rare animals.  We’re talking  Rothschild Giraffes, Greater Roan, Sable and Kudo Antelope and other species. Feed a giraffe in Mendocino You can even feed a giraffe. And,   VIP tours in a vintage Land Rover and  individual painting sessions with the giraffes.

Tippling at the seashore

There’s a fun weekend happy hour at Little River’s Andiron Seaside Inn and Cabins.  Set on five acres of meadow and woods are 11-quirky retro cabins.  The Inn hosts weekend happy hours with resident goats (Peanut Butter, Coco and Sugar.)  You can grab a drink  and stroll a safe distance in the outdoor amphitheater. The newly-renovated Glendeven Inn & Lodge offers in-room chicken treats for treks to the hen house as well as a daily happy hour with the resident llamas.

Fall feasts and fetes

Climb aboard the historic Skunk Train and enjoy the Pumpkin Express–a scenic round-trip to an autumnal pumpkin patch wonderland. Visitors of all ages will relish this seasonal attraction that ventures  through the pumpkin patch and nearby redwoods.

Over in wine-centric Anderson Valley’s  Bewildered Pig packs “PigNics”  to go.  Treats include chef Janelle’s  local albacore salad Nicoise, sweet corn, chanterelle risotto, house-made port rillettes and a piquant citrus tart.

Rustic repastsIn Boonville, San Francisco’s A16 restaurant amps  up pop culture with a series of weekend dining adventures that pair local talent with its signature Southern Italian flair.  These four course meals highlight local farmers, brewers, vintners and artisans.

Th charming Harbor House Inn  dishes out  three-course lunches served on the deck overlooking the cove.

Sipping ciders

Cider is synonymous with fall. And Gowan’s Heirloom Ciders pours six apple cider wines. Each are hand-crafted from organic apples among 100-year-old orchards.  This “Gowan’s Cider Tasting in the Orchard” is a must do experience.

 Soaking in a hot spring

Make more  Mendocino magic  while hiking in ancient redwoods and soaking in  natural hot springs.  Keep the mood going by going inland west of Ukiah. There you can kickstart the day by strolling into Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.  Tucked off Orr Springs Road, this 1,323-acre mythical reserve delivers five virgin redwood groves. There are  trees spanning ten feet in diameter and  a stunning Jurassic-style fern forest. Finish with a   soak at Orr Hot Springs.

The 27-acre redwood hideaway is a remote sanctuary with a cold spring pool, multiple hot spring soaking tubs and claw-foot baths in a meandering creek setting just north of Ukiah. Housing is 23 guestroom cottages and yurts.  Room #6 has the only direct link to the tubs (read 24/7).

Want to hit the road again? Just call a helpful, friendly Pavlus travel expert to get your rolling at 800-528-9300.

Please follow and like us: