13 April, 2007
Sarah & I left home at around 9:30, heading north on US101 to Cloverdale, then northwest on picturesque, but extremely windy, Hwy 128. We were both excited to be heading to Mendocino, as I’d only been there as a child, and Sarah never. Along the way we stopped at the Apple Farm in Philo, owned by the family of a friend of ours. We’d been tipped off that they had baby goats, and sure enough, there were 3 born the previous day, and 4 from the prior week. As one might expect, they were very cute! We bought some of the farm’s superb organic hard apple cider and continued on our way.
Since we were well before our check-in time of 3pm, we decided to stop and go wine-tasting at Husch Vineyards, whose affordable Sauvignon Blanc we’ve been enjoying for several years. Alas, their reds don’t hold a candle to their whites, with most being much too young, and very tannic. We did buy a bunch of bottles of their table reds and whites, which are a good bargain.
Water Tower in Mendocino
Continuing northwest on Hwy 128 for what seemed like an eternity (it’s about 56 slow, windy miles from Hwy 101 to Hwy 1 on the coast), we finally came out at the mouth of the scenic Navarro River and headed north on our last leg. 10 short miles later we pulled into Mendocino, glad to be done driving (it’s about 135 miles and 3.5 hours from San Francisco to Mendocino).
A wild-and-crazy garden downtown
It was still early (1pm), so we walked around the lovely downtown, stopping for a tasty lunch at the Mendocino Cafe (I’ll blog separately about the generally very good food we ate on this trip), then browsing the many art galleries and little shops until 3:00 rolled around. We checked in at our B&B, John Dougherty House, unloaded, and relaxed with a glass of wine for a bit. Our room, Kit’s Cabin, was funky and cute, with a nautical theme, like the rest of the house.
Our room, Kit’s Cabin, @ JD House B&B
Once we’d sufficiently rested, we decided to go for a walk around …
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Mendocino is situated uniquely in that the town is on a coastal plateau, much of which is undeveloped, so you have several miles of ocean bluff trails right across the street from downtown. We meandered around, enjoying the beautiful scenery and birdwatching. A Black Oystercatcher foraged in the tides below, posing for a few nice pictures, several Caspian Terns flew north overhead, and an Osprey soared by.
There’s a large “blowhole” in the southeast side of the headlands, a natural bridge that collapsed, leaving a 20-foot wide hole in the bluffs going down to the ocean. Continuing northward, we passed several parking areas with folks enjoying the view (and some enjoying a bit of the old green bud). Some small black and white birds flew by and landed way out to sea, but I couldn’t get a good enough look at them to see what they were (more on them later!).
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
A Savannah Sparrow and a Song Sparrow flitted about trailside as we curved eastward on the northern end of the headlands, and we had nice views of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, perhaps 5 miles up the road. The shoreline is very rocky in these parts, with many “haystacks” offshore, providing nesting grounds for Western Gulls and Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants.
Wildflowers were scattered about, with local abundance of Footsteps-of-spring and California Poppies, as well as patches of Wild Radish & Mustard. Douglas Irises were also in bloom in patches along the trail.
We eventually came to the end of the headlands and walked back downtown for dinner at Patterson’s Irish Pub, a local’s place with basic, but tasty, pub fare.
– Distance: 2.75 miles
– Moving time: 1h 6m
– Stopped time: 22m
– Black Oystercatcher
– Brewer’s Blackbird
– Caspian Tern
– Eared Grebe
– Pelagic Cormorant
+ Savannah Sparrow
– Song Sparrow
– White-crowned Sparrow
– Western Gull
– California Poppy
– Sheep Sorrel
– Wild Mustard
– Wild Radish