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.
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. 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.
In 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.
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.