Feature Photo: Mick Haupt via Unsplash
En route to Mendocino, I turned off 101 at Cloverdale and headed to the coast on 128 through Boonville and started thinking about what I’d order when I reach Goodlife Café on Lansing Street. Their menu is organic and pastries are fresh-baked and fantastic. It was noon when I’d reached my destination so I ordered the grilled cheese and veggie soup combo. It did not disappoint. Across from Goodlife is Anderson’s Alternatives. Among other things, Anderson’s sell slabs of redwood that buyers then use as tabletops. It’s the ultimate place to poke around in. Also intriguing is Gallery Books on Main Street chock-full of best sellers and old classics, Rainsong Shoes and The Study Club, where selections and merchandising are curated to perfection.
After lunch and shopping, the sun had a few hours left before sinking into the Pacific. I drove to the mouth of Big River, parked my car and hiked inland, following the trail until I ran out of sandy banks. Afterwards I headed back to my lodging, the 66-room Little River Inn, two miles south of Mendocino, now in its 80th year of hosting with its nine-hole golf course scenically tucked in among pines and meadows — it also has a classic bar that’s famous for a stellar view of Mendocino sunsets.
Up early the next morning, I headed north on California Highway One to the town of Fort Bragg and found myself wanting to visit a spot I’d never explored. It’s where Highway One crosses the Noyo River via a lofty bridge — I couldn’t resist heading down to the cluster of fishing shacks, trailered boats and weather-beaten cafes hugging Noyo’s shoreline. All I can say is the restaurants may be weather-beaten, but fish isn’t served any fresher, anywhere. Once again, I was not disappointed.