Like a lot of small towns along the coast of Highway 1, Mendocino is a village unto itself. Quaint bed & breakfasts, mom-and-pop shops, organic coffee houses—you have a beautifully quirky place sought by visitors and guarded by locals. In a nutshell, it's the perfect long weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Surrounded by Mendocino Headlands State Park on three sides, you'll want to start your visit by meandering along the park's flat three-mile trail for breathtaking ocean views where waves crash up against steep, heather-covered bluffs.
Once you've taken the requisite coastline pictures, make your way about 20 miles north of Mendocino's center for an afternoon tasting at Pacific Star Winery, the West Coast's only oceanside winery. Sample as many as 10 different blends, pick your favorite and then buy a bottle to take outside (they make a particularly noteworthy Chardonnay with noticeable hints of spice much more characteristic of a red than a white). Nothing can compare to sharing a few glasses with friends while lounging in Adirondack chairs overlooking the water. If you're lucky, you may even catch a hint of sun.
After polishing off a bottle, head back to town to check in to the Packard House before dinner. Old world meets modern at this elegantly minimalist bed and breakfast. Expect a warm welcome as you're taken from the living room to the dining area, where the smell of freshly baked pie permeates the air. Fill out a card with your coffee and tea preferences so that the staff can deliver a gourmet breakfast basket to your doorstep in the morning. One step inside this place and you'll want to make it your go-to destination for every Mendocino getaway.
Leave your car at the Packard House and walk over to the MacCallum House for a fancy dinner and an evening of potent cocktails. While the space exudes formal dining at its finest, the casual beach-town lifestyle means you can roll in wearing flip-flops and jeans. Choose from pork loin, duck breast or roasted chicken entrees and be sure to pre-order the raspberry mascarpone souffle for dessert. Fat and happy, step across the hall post-meal for a toast to modern mixology with star bartender Tony de la Torre at the Grey Whale Bar and Cafe.
The next day, grab a killer sandwich from the Mendocino Market before taking off for a day of kayaking on the ocean, wine tasting through Anderson Valley or beer sampling in Boonville before making the three-hour trek back to the city as your perfect weekend comes to an end.