Clock wise from top left:
Highway One; Point Arena
Lighthouse; Bodega Bay
Lodge; oysters at River’s
End; the Little River Inn bar
area offers great views; a
room at Sea Ranch Lodge.
surfaces were allowed. There are now 1,300
people, many of them artists, living there year-round. Leave time to explore the many inland
and coastal trails, or take out the clubs and
tackle the oceanfront golf course.
Morning comes and is made perfect once
breakfast is brought to the table at the Sea
Ranch Lodge. After the sign-free serenity of
Sea Ranch, the commercialism of 8 Gualala,
the next stop, is jarring. One exception is the
Alinder Gallery, where one of the world’s finest photography collections includes many
of Ansel Adams’ works. After perusing the
photos, cruise 14 miles, past Anchor Bay, to
9 Point Arena (population 449), one of the
smallest incorporated towns in California. For
kicks, take Lighthouse Road to the Point Arena
Lighthouse and foghorn station, which was
built in 1870. At 115 feet, it’s the tallest lighthouse in the West, with stairs to the very top.
Did climbing those stairs make you hungry?
It’s 20 isolated and beautiful miles to lunch.
Stop at the Elk Store (just before Greenwood)
and buy delicious sandwiches, fruit and wine
for a picnic at 7 Greenwood State Beach —
the trailhead is opposite the tiny post o;ce.
A warm, sunny day here is spectacular. But
don’t stay too long — 7 Mendocino is half an
hour away and there is a lot to do. Check in
at the Little River Inn, t wo miles before the
town; there are 65 nice rooms, an outstand-
ing restaurant, a popular pub and a nine-hole
golf course — what more could you want?
Time to hit the town: Mendocino has fewer
than 1,000 residents but fine shops (Gallery
Books, Rainsong Shoes), nice restaurants (Cafe
Beaujolais) and a terrific grocery (Harvest
Market). For a unique store, try Anderson’s
Alternatives. For hikes, do Mendocino
Highlands, the mouth of the Navarro River
and/or Big River Beach — excursions don’t
come any better. For a change of scenery, drive
15 minutes to 7 Fort Bragg and dine at the
Wharf in Noyo Harbor, where you will find
fresh and well-prepared seafood, obviously.
Get back to the Little River Inn for a nightcap
in the pub. Tomorrow, head back to Marin via
Highway 128 to Highway 101 — it’s only three
hours, not three days, until you’re home. M