Mendocino California is a tiny slice of Cape Cod on the West Coast. This charming Victorian style village is a wildly popular tourist destination. And why not? The setting is absolutely spectacular. The village sits atop a craggy headland with unobstructed views of one of the most scenic stretches of the California coast.
Photo © Solidago / istockphoto.com
The place fairly oozes romance. Many of the historic structures have been transformed into shops, galleries, restaurants, and accommodations. Mendocino bed and breakfast inns are famous for their charm. In fact, the town is listed on the National Register of historic places, and there are no fast food restaurants or hotel chains.
Joshua Grindle Inn, Mendocino Photo © James Gaither / flickr.com
Originally settled by transplants from New England, Mendocino began its life as a logging center, but in the 1950's it began to be transformed into an artists' colony. Today, the arts are still big here, and you'll find the work of local artists and craftsmen showcased in various locations in the village.
The village was made for strolling. It's small enough to be easily explored on foot. Head out to enjoy the views at Mendocino Headlands State Park, which surrounds the village. There, you'll find three miles of trails winding along the cliffs and secluded beaches.
The best time to visit is in the spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom, or during the clear, warm days of fall. Summer is the peak of the tourist season, so be prepared for crowds if you come then, and coastal fog is common in summer, especially in the morning.