Mendocino is an unincorporated community of approximately 900 residents that can be found 10 miles south of Fort Bragg in Northern California’s Mendocino County. Many of its visitors come to relish in the beautiful oceanside scenery, and the community’s reputation as an artist colony is certainly appealing to art enthusiasts. Much of Mendocino is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so this is also a great destination for history buffs, and anyone with an interest in the film and television industries should appreciate the Mendocino’s film and TV history and the annual Mendocino Film Festival, which is held in the spring.
Mendocino Beaches Image: donjd2 (flickr)
Mendocino is situated on a headland and surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Scenic and secluded beaches mix with tidepools, sea arches, and grottos along the Mendocino coast, and miles of trails wind their way along the resident cliffs. Mendocino Headlands State Park was created to protect much of the village’s coastal area, and it serves as an excellent destination for beach lovers and any other number of people. In addition to swimming and surfing, activities that can be enjoyed at Mendocino Headlands State Park include sport diving, fishing, and hiking. This is also a popular destination among photographers and painters, and it can be a fantastic place for picnics. Beach enthusiasts should know that there are other enticing beaches up and down the Mendocino County coast. An example would be Fort Bragg’s renowned Glass Beach.
Mendocino County is well known for its redwoods and giant sequoias. These majestic trees figure among the tallest living things on earth and can be found in good number throughout the county. Among the best places to admire redwoods during an escape to Mendocino County are such nearby park areas as Montgomery Woods State Park, Hendy Woods State Park, and the Jackson State Forest. A ride on the famous "Skunk Train" that travels between Fort Bragg and Willits can also be worth adding to the agenda if you want to see redwoods in Mendocino County, as the train passes along redwood groves. You can even arrange a Mendocino llama trekking tour that includes a visit to an old-growth redwood reserve that is aptly-known as the Redwood Grove. The llamas carry all your equipment, and the tours can be custom tailored to suit your interests.
Many Mendocino visitors look to add whale watching experiences to their itineraries. Plenty of whale watching and fishing charter boats operate along the Mendocino County coast, with Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor being the main place to arrange area whale watching tours. You don’t necessarily have to board a boat and ply the area waters if you want to see whales during your Mendocino escape, however. They can often be spotted from land at such places as Mendocino Headlands State Park, MacKerricher State Park, and Chapman Point. Gray whales are the most commonly spotted whales off the Mendocino County coast, and the best time to see them is between the months of December and April.
Film & TV History
Mendocino Film Festival
The film and TV history of Mendocino Village and Mendocino County in general is an interesting one. Numerous movies have been filmed in the area. Examples include, but are not limited to East of Eden, Summer of ‘42, The Majestic, Racing with the Moon, Overboard, Forever Young, and The Karate Kid, Part III. In relation to television, Mendocino CA is best known for its ties to the popular series, Murder, She Wrote. Nine out of the total 264 episodes for this long-running program were filmed in Mendocino, and exterior shots throughout the area were used in remaining episodes. You can actually stay in the lovely, Victorian-era house that served as the fictional home of the main Murder, She Wrote character – Jessica Fletcher (played by Angela Lansbury). This home is now the Blair House Inn.
Lodging Image: Lee Coursey (flickr)
Staying at the Blair House Inn is understandably popular among Mendocino CA visitors who are Murder, She Wrote fans. Of course, you don’t have to be a huge fan of the show to appreciate the inn’s beauty, its wonderful location, and its cozy accommodations. Other inviting bed and breakfasts can also be found in Mendocino, with examples including the Packard House, the J.D. House, and the Blue Door Inn. Another great place to stay in Mendocino is the historic Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites. This full-service hotel is delightfully found in the heart of the village and overlooks the ocean and the Mendocino Headlands. A variety of vacation rental properties are located in and around Mendocino Village for those who are interested in going that route, and it is possible to go camping at nearby parks such as Russian Gulch State Park and Van Damme State Park.