An October 2000 trip
to Mendocino by Barb B
Quote: The rugged beauty of California's Mendocino Coastline is exciting and breathtaking at any time of year, but I really enjoy wild ever changing terrain during the fall season. After the crowds have left the beaches and the wildlife has returned.
The property is done with rustic wood and rock sculptures throughout. Most rooms have a FANTASTIC ocean view, with telephones, satellite TV, a private hot tub and fireplace (wood is provided). Some rooms have the hot tub inside the room, others have the hot tub outside on your private deck (we prefer the hot tub outside - then we enjoy the fireplace inside!!) A few of the rooms (generally over $300) also have private saunas and solarium.
This is a fantastic place for a get-away weekend, with miles of trails along the ocean's edge where you can watch whales, sea birds, gorgeous sunsets and listen to the roar of the surf below. One of my personal favorite things about this hotel is that they have many of the wonderful sculptures of Beni Bufano. Bufano is a world famous artist and a native San Franciscan. His massive 'Bufano Peace Statue' stands at the water above the hotel.
There is a gigantic fireplace, grand piano and a very comfortable bar in the lobby. The hotel is an easy (5 minute)drive north of historic Fort Ross, and the scenic towns of Gualala, Salt Point, Sea Ranch and Bodega Bay can all be reached in less than an hour drive.
Rooms are rustic, very comfortable with the above mentioned amenities, but they are NOT luxurious.
An attractive restaurant is on the premises.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 22, 2000
Timber Cove Inn
21780 North Coast Highway One
Restaurant | "The Union Hotel at Occidental"
The town of Occidental has two attractions: two wonder restaurants, both serving almost identical Italian food (at basically the same prices)--yet, everyone has their favorite! Folks who prefer Union Hotel would seldom go to Negri's--and Negri people say they prefer Negri's, but have to try the Union Hotel from time to time. The debate will go on forever, we the customers, are the winners! MY preference is the Union Hotel.
As a kid growing up in San Francisco, I remember trips with my parents once or twice a year to Occidental--solely ot enjoy lunch at the Union Hotel.
It is a quaint unpretentious place, red & white checkered tablecloths, wood interior and really great OLD pictures on the walls (from the days when travellers took the railroad to Occidental and stayed overnight at the Union Hotel).
There is a lovely outdoor patio with grape vines, flowers and cinzano umbrellas--If the weather is good, definitely sit outside. In the background you will hear the music of Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavorotti and other Italian Tenors as you enjoy your meal.
The menu offers many items--something for everyone and all very good. BUT(!) 'THE' meal to have at either of the Occidental restaurants is the Roast Chicken Dinner!!
Order some wine to enjoy with your meal. Everything is served family style (large bowls brought to your table so you can help yourself to as much/little as you want) and starts with a hearty minestrone soup. A mixed lettuce and tomato salad (with a fantastic garlic vinegrette). Antipasto follows: salami, cheese, beans, olives, etc. accompanied by crusty Italian bread and unsalted butter. Pasta course (ravioli, spaghetti or 50/50--half of each) is next, the sauce is thick and the aroma of garlic is everywhere. Main course is of course, 1/2 roasted chichen--baked with Italian herbs.amd accompanied by fresh zucchini fritters (a tad greasy for my taste) and a melange of fresh vegetables.
The servers deliver your food from little wheeled carts and they are always very happy to pack up your leftovers to go.
Pack the leftovers, and -- definitely save room for some STRONG Italian coffee (or cappuchino) and spumoni ice cream. You will probably have enough leftovers for another meal and will not feel like eating again for perhaps a day and a half, but it will have been a thoroughly enjoyable experience and lunch will probably have lasted about 2 hours!
After your meal, stroll around the little town of Occidental and enjoy some of the arts craft shops which feature some remarkably lovely and well priced items by the local artists.
Current cost for the Roast Chicken Meal is $14.95.
Union Hotel Pizza & Pasta Co
3703 Main St
Mendocino, California 95465
Restaurant | "Salt Point Grill"
An innovative menu is offered with pastas, sandwiches, soups, seafood specialty dishes and some REALLY yummy desserts. Some of the daily specialty items: Salmon Cakes with Salsa ($11.95), breaded and grilled oysters ($11.95), and a calamari sandwich on roll ($9.95).
A full bar is available, and wines can be purchased by the bottle or by the glass ($4.50 - $6.50 per glass). I enjoyed a fruity savignon blanc with my lunch.
A pleasantly simple decor with hanging flower baskets, fresh day lillies and some nicely framed wildflower prints.
A home-baked Rosemarie Bread, fragrant with its pungent garlic & rosemary flavorings is served with most menu items. My husband chose a thick white Clam Chowder, loaded with clams, potatoes and just the right blend of herbs and spices. He also had a salad of fresh greens, croutons and calamata olives. The blue cheese dressing was good, but a little thin and uninspired.
I chose a grilled turkey and jack cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. It arrived with a gigantic portion of fries--very tasty and not at all greasy! Portions of all items were more than adequate.
We enjoyed fresh espresso and cappucino. Desserts included a blueberry cobbler (to die for), pies, and cheesecakes, but unfortunately, NO Ice cream!
A walk in the restaurant's garden or in the 'Sculpture display' across the parking lot will help to wear off a few of the calories!
Open daily 9am to 10 pm.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2000
Salt Point Lodge & Grill
23255 Highway 1
Mendocino, California 95460
Attraction | "An Artist's Inspiration-Sea Ranch Chapel"
Here, on the East side of Shoreline Highway 1 at milepost 56 is the Sea Ranch Chapel, an inspiring exhibit of extraordinary natural art presented in wood, metal, stone, glass and sculpture. The California Council of the American Institute of Architects awarded Mr. James Hubbell the 1985 Award for Excellence for his superb work on the Sea Ranch Chapel. Amid these awesome natural surroundings, this non-denominational chapel was dedicated on December 8, 1985 simply, "To a young man, artist and naturalist."
Echoing the nearby windswept tree, the chapel roof is cedar, accented with copper and crowned with a bronze spire. Polished teakwood doors complement the native redwoods, and local stone is used in the surrounding walls. The flagstone paving is from Arizona; and a ceramic fountain with Italian mosaic accents confirms the blending of art and purpose expressed in this structure.
Stained glass windows invite the outdoor landscape to join the subdued lighting from the incredibly beautiful chandelier above the prayer desk. A simple chapel with only one pew, a needlepoint covered kneeling cushion and a modest wooden prayer desk. A measure of peace is found in this quiet place for reflection and spiritual renewal.
The Chapel is maintained by the Sea Ranch Chapel Foundation, a nonprofit organization and is open daily.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 26, 2000
Sea Ranch Chapel
Shoreline Highway 1
The original buildings were constructed based on traditional Russian blockhouses and log buildings found in Siberia and Alaska. Wellhouses, a Chapel, Managers' Quarters, Sentry blockhouses and Officials' quarters were all constructed as part of the Russian Compound. The Fort was never able to sufficiently provide for the Alaskan outposts and the income from Sea Otters soon became depleted. Unfortunately, the rocky terrain, wind, fog, pests and lack of trained agriculturalists kept the harvests low.
The Russian ownership of the Fort ended in 1841 when it was sold to John Sutter who moved most of the livestock, equipment and armaments from Fort Ross to his Fort near Sacramento (Sutters' Fort).
Over the years the Fort passed through a series of owners and was finally turned over to the State of California in 1903. The Fort suffered some damage during the 1906 earthquake and a fire destroyed several buildings in 1970. A total of ten buildings have now been reconstructed and renovated. A self guided walking tour is available and docents are on hand to answer questions. Frequent encampments are offered which reinact the live of the Russian inhabitants of the compound.
Fort Ross is open to visitors from 10am to 5pm daily. Entry cost is $2 per vehicle. Ample parking is available. A comprehensive museum and picnic tables are adjacent to the parking area. A short walk of about 0.6 of a mile (handicapped accessible) will take you to the restored Fort for a walking tour of the current 10 reconstructed buildings.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 10, 2000
Historic Fort Ross
19005 Coast Highway One
Mendocino, California 95450
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona