Tucked in a bend along Highway 101 between Cloverdale and Ukiah, Hopland has all the makings of a chill weekend jaunt, with organic vino, solid food, and outdoor adventures. If you can only slip away for one night, this quirky rural town will get you mellowed out and well fed in no time.
FRIDAY: Where to Play + Stay
There is no chance of missing your first stop in Hopland. The 12-acre property of the Solar Living Institute is a beacon of sustainability, with demonstrations in permaculture and renewable energy, a gigantic organic garden, a biodiesel fueling station, and a training center for certified solar installers. The nonprofit was established in 1998 after founder John Schaeffer sold the very first solar panel in the United States and found success for his business, Real Goods Trading Company, which also remains onsite. A variety of workshops are also available for layman, and events including solstice celebrations and field trips for kids are popular too. With some planning, you can book your stay to coincide with an Intro to Aquaponics class, or perhaps learn how to build a straw bale house.
Did we mention that this is also where you'll be staying the night? The institute's 89-square-foot Tumbleweed Tiny House is the coolest place to stay on two wheels. Book through Airbnb ($79/night) for a one-of-a-kind stay with a bedroom loft, organic linens, a small kitchen, and WiFi—it's rustic and modern at once.
Or, if you'd like to get even closer to the land, this is a great place to camp. With advance notice, you can pitch a tent and have access to the property's outdoor kitchen, bathrooms, shower, and firepit ($35/night).// Solar Living Institute, 13771 S. Highway 101 (Hopland), solarliving.org
Dinner + Drinks
After you've perused the grounds and checked into your tiny house, head north on foot a couple blocks into the equally tiny downtown where you'll be met with a well-deserved drink. The inn-meets-restaurant-meets-marketplace Piazza de Campovida has plenty of options to quaff. Duck into the restaurant, Taverna, to enjoy the area's long history of hops.
Named as it is, it's easy to assume that Hopland has some stories about beer. But, looking around at the area's grapevines muddles the picture. Once a booming beer industry in the 1920s and home to California's very first post-prohibition brewpub, Hopland has seen its signature business dry up, especially since the shuttering of the Hopland Ale House and the Mendocino Brewing Company's move to Ukiah. But in 2010, Campovida owners Gary Breen and Anna Beuselinck set out to celebrate the town's beer-drinking heritage, bringing a hearty menu of handcrafted brews to Taverna. Order a pint or two, and stay for pizza dinner—the pies here are topped with seasonal ingredients (think burrata, arugula, figs, heirloom tomatoes, fried eggs) from the family's sister Campovida Farm. Also try the spicy potatoes, daily focaccia, and radiccio salad with roasted dates. // Piazza de Campovida, 13441 S. Highway 101 (Hopland), piazzadecampovida.com
Bluebird Cafe sign(Courtesy of Foursquare)
SATURDAY: A Greasy Spoon + Wine for Breakfast
Enjoy the bright morning at Solar Living and perhaps a souvenir stop (fermentation crock?) at the onsite store, before retracing your steps to town for a big breakfast at Bluebird Cafe, an old-school diner with huge portions of classic fare. Perch yourself on a stool under the vintage neon clock and get ready for smothered burgers, crispy fries, complementary morning pastries, and pie a la mode. // Bluebird Cafe, 13340 S. Highway 101 (Hopland), 707-744-1633
Don't dillydally—you don't want to miss the 11am tour at Campovida's vineyard and farm. The 50-acre property was once planted with hops, but while many of the original buildings from the 1890s remain intact, this is now the terroir of Campovida wines, made with biodynamic, organic, and sustainable methods. On Saturday mornings, "Garden Master" Ken Boek leads visitors around the property with glasses of wine in hand for tastings, perhaps a bit of bocce ball, and a stroll around the organic farm and vineyard will have you hungry again in no time. // Campovida Farm, 13601 Old River Road (Hopland), campovida.com
No question that sustainability is the theme of this trip to Mendocino County, where organic is a way of life. The groundsat Terra Sávia, an all-organic estate vineyard and olive oil orchard just outside of Hopland, are perfect for a lazy late afternoon snack. Check out the "tasting shack" for samples of wines (including a blanc de blancs and sparkling rosé), olive oil, and homemade bath products before perusing the warehouse art gallery, and be sure to say hi to the many chickens, pigeons, cats, and goats. During harvest season, you might be lucky enough to witness the high-capacity Vitone olive mill in action; you'll be treated to the freshest oil around. This mill serving more 200 area olive oil producers who come here to press their olives as well. // Terra Savia, 14160 Mountain House Road (Hopland), terrasavia.com
Fuel for the Journey Home
Before hitting the road, clear your head of its wine haze with a stop at Steep Organic Coffee & Tea, where artisan roasted Thanksgiving Coffee from Fort Bragg is brewed in interesting concoctions such as the local honey latte. Need something in your belly? The treats are primo here, with ice cream from Healdsburg's Noble Folk as well as pastries and gluten-free almond tea cake. Don't miss their unique collection of crystals and mineral specimens—you're still in Mendo, after all. // Steep Organic Coffee & Tea, 13275 S. Highway 101 (Hopland), steephopland.com