Mendocino vacation rentals
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Your guide to Mendocino
Welcome to Mendocino
Ruggedly beautiful Mendocino was once a logging town populated by transplanted New Englanders, and their aesthetic influence remains. This small town surrounded by redwood forests and perched on a headland ringed by the Pacific Ocean is dotted with charming Victorian-style homes with white picket fences.
While Mendocino has hung onto the architectural sensibility of its former residents, its current character is decidedly funkier. In the 1950s, artists began arriving here, and the founding of the Mendocino Art Center in 1959 cemented the place as a bustling arts colony. The town retains that bohemian nature today, which has imbued this pastoral paradise with many of the charms of urban living, sans the crowds. The Mendocino Theater Company has staged more than200 productions in its 75-seat black-box theater since its founding in 1976, and the hamlet’s streets are lined with galleries and boutiques selling upscale handicrafts. You’ll also find wine, craft cocktails, and world-class farm-to-table fare here.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Mendocino?
If you’re looking forward to long scenic hikes, spring and summer boast the highest number of warm, sunny days, as well as wildflower blooms. Fall and winter can be chilly and rainy — but the cooler weather is starkly beautiful, and eminently conducive to a cozy dinner with an ocean view. Regardless of season, a warm coat is always a good idea in this coastal town. In March, Mendocino marks the return of migrating gray whales with the Mendocino Whale Festival, which includes beer and chowder tastings. In November, Feast Mendocino celebrates all things culinary, especially the region’s abundant mushrooms, and offers fungi-focused meals, exhibits, and tours.
What are the top things to do in Mendocino?
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Museum
This historic lighthouse first shone for sailors navigating the Mendocino coast in 1909. It is remarkable for its well-restored Fresnel lens, an enormous four-sided glass light heralded at the time of its invention for how far it could be seen at sea. You can visit the lighthouse, as well as a restored lightkeeper's residence replete with 1930s-era furnishings.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Coastal trails with dramatic views criss-cross this 347-acre greenbelt atop dramatic bluffs, which is home to marshland, coastal scrub, redwoods, and conifers. At the foot of the cliffs lies secluded Big River Beach, accessible by vehicle via winding, two-lane Highway 1, or on foot via bluffside trails. From November through April, gray whales migrate off the Mendocino coast, and the headlands provide an ideal vantage point for spotting them.
Kelley House Museum
This museum chronicles the history of Mendocino County. Among its permanent exhibits is one devoted to the wreck of the Frolic, a 210-foot brig with a cargo of silk and other goods that ran aground off the coast of Mendocino. Included in the exhibit are artifacts salvaged from the wreck, including shards of ornately decorated dishware, a shoe, and an 1,100-pound cannon.