Northern California

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Northern California in all of its gloriousness welcomed us with blue skies and warm sunshine. Our weekend home was the Heritage House Resort in Little River, and it gave us the perfect jumping off spot for exploring areas further north than Sonoma County usually does.

Anderson Valley

On the way up to the Mendocino Coast, we stopped in for a beer tasting at one of our favorite breweries, Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a quick flight and a wander around.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

I love the brewery’s commitment to the environment and the fact that they are solar-powered. We buy their beer whenever we can find it in the Boston area, and it was amazing to be able to try so many different beers.

Their use of the Boontling language is also fun!

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

 Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Their Blood Orange Gose was perfect for the sunny day and just a really delicious beer. They all were!

When we left Anderson Valley, we headed to the coast, where we spent the rest of the weekend on as many cliffs, beaches, and trails as possible.

Mendocino Coast

Our exploring took us to Mendocino Headlands, where the sea sparkled, then into the fog further north at MacKerricher State Park, where we found dozens of bobbing seals at Laguna Point. They were hard to capture on my phone, but I was pretty excited (jumping up and down excited) to see so many seals in one place.

Mendocino Coa Northern California Laguna Point California

The park had plenty of paths for us to get some exercise in before we stopped to eat and taste beer again.

The Tap Room,Fort Bragg California

The Taproom is a must-visit if you ever get to the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area. Even before it opened, people were lining up by the door, and we knew we’d made a good choice.

The space was super cute and cozy, and we quickly decided to share a beer sampler to get a taste of all that North Coast Brewing had to offer.

beer tasting at The Tap Room

We’re huge fans of Old Rasputin, and we ended up loving every beer on the tray, even the IPAs, which we often don’t like.

The Tap Room beer

We paired our beers with this insanely good ceviche and homemade chips plus plenty of fresh California avocado. . . heaven!

The Tap Room, Fort Bragg

At the suggestion of some locals, we then headed across the street to Pacific Star Winery for a splash of their It’s All My Fault, a delicious blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc,  and Roussanne, named because of the fault running directly beneath the winery.

Pacific Star Winery

The tasting room was so vibrant and beautiful, filled with local art and lovely regulars who were ready and willing to give us recommendations for the area, including sending us to Roundman’s Smokehouse for all sorts of incredible smoked meats, fish, and cheese. I love meeting people when we travel!

Pacific Star, Fort Bragg California

Glass Beach was another one of their recommendations. Glass Beach is a former dump, which, thanks to the trash dumped there years ago, now offers an abundance of sea glass, in addition to stunning views.

Northern California

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Our time on the Mendocino Coast was simply spectacular, peaceful, and delicious. It was also too short, but I think a lifetime in such a beautiful place would even have you asking for more!

 

Read more travel posts about Northern California on my travel blog post page.

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Tags: Anderson Valley, California, coastal living, Mendocino, Northern California, travel blog, wine, wine tasting

Where has March gone?! Blogging and reading blogs has taken a back seat to working and travel, and I am back for a bit to share some of our recent Northern California adventures, not entirely in order.

My husband had a conference in San Francisco, and it turned out I had a work event just a few days after, which meant I should just go for the whole week, which is exactly what I did, and it was pretty amazing. More on that soon.

For the weekend we decided to step outside of our Sonoma County comfort zone and headed north to Little River to stay at the stunning Heritage House Resort and Spa on the Mendocino Coast. I discovered the resort via Instagram, and they kindly extended me a media rate for our two night stay. See for yourself how incredible our experience was. . .

Heritage House Resort Little River California

After a beautiful drive through Sonoma County and into the redwoods, we arrived at Heritage House, which is nestled along the coast with the most jaw dropping views.  It’s rustic and sweet and fits right into the natural beauty surrounding it. This is a true getaway, which is exactly what we were looking for.

Little River CA hotel

Heritage House Little River

Our room was spacious and had a feeling of simplicity and complete zen. A bottle of wine from local Navarro Vineyards was a welcome treat and kind gift from the hotel’s General Manager. We actually opted not to do much vineyard-hopping on this trip and loved being able to try local wines on property.

Navarro Wine

While we did some exploring of the Mendocino Coast, we spent a good amount of our time just being on the property of Heritage House. Can you see why?

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House Resort Little River California Heritage House Resort Little River California In addition to acres of high coastline for watching the sunset (with the absolutely delicious Navarro Wine), we also had a private beach for the resort, and we soaked up some sun while listening to waves crashing. We got so lucky with the weather every single day on our trip.

Heritage House Resort Little River California  hotels in Little River, CA

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Pacific sunset

Pacific Ocean

Please just take me back.

IMG_0853

 

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House has numerous dining options within driving distance, but we opted to stay in for dinner, dining at their 5200 Lounge and also stocking up on yummy cheese and meats for snacks on our deck.

Heritage House Resort Little River California

 

The lounge was cozy and relaxed, with a great wine list, and one of the best burgers we had ever had. We spied on the food that came to tables around us, and it definitely looked like you couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House Resort Little River California Between the views, the comfortable rooms, delicious food on-site, and plenty to do in the area, with the amazing option to do nothing, Heritage House blew us away, and we wished we had stayed longer. It will absolutely be a place we return to. While we love Sonoma County, we were so happy to have ventured a bit beyond on this trip.

Thank you to Heritage House for taking such good care of us!

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Tags: California, hotels, Mendocino County, Northern California, resorts, Travel, travel blog

Healdsburg is full of great restaurants. Over the years, we have had fabulous experiences at places like Scopa, Barndiva, Dry Creek Kitchen, Willi’s Wine Bar, Bistro Ralph, and more. Healdsburg is a little like heaven.

With all  of the restaurants available, it becomes difficult to choose. Always one to want to try new things while also wanting to return to old favorites, I end up spending a lot of time trying to figure out where to eat. In the end, it’s best to ask a local.

On our first night in Healdsburg, we had dinner with Two Shepherds winemaker William at Campo Fina. It was so fabulous I forgot to take photos. Or I was jetlagged and on lots of Cartograph Rosé. Actually, it was a little bit of both.

Campo Fina was so great, and we would definitely go back. When we asked for suggestions for our dinner the next night, Spoonbar came highly recommended. After a day in Napa Valley, we headed back to the wine hour at the Healdsburg Inn and then wandered Healdsburg for a bit before heading to dinner. We may have stopped at Cartograph and joined their wine club too. It was a great day.

jalapeno cocktail

Wine tasting pretty much always makes me want a cocktail or a beer. I love wine and wine tasting and talking about wine, but at the end of the day, mixing it up a little is nice, and Spoonbar was the perfect venue for cocktails. I ordered this pretty jalapeno number called Jalapeno Business: Charbay Raspberry Vodka, Clear Creek Loganberry, Lemon, Ginger, Raspberry-Jalapeno Foam. In addition to being pretty in pink, it packed a spicy punch with nice berry accents, perfect for sipping slowly. There was a definite burn.

We weren’t super hungry, thanks to the wine hour snacks, so we decided to order a few appetizers to share as we often do.

Spoonbar

There was a grapefruit and avocado salad with brioche croutons that was fresh, tangy, delicious.

avocado grapefruit saladAnd a smoked trout mousse with homemade potato chips and Spoonbar’s Old Old Fashioned.

appetizers and cocktails  The best and most interesting dishes were also from the snack menu. Baked cheese gougeres were suspended in a pool of melted fontina. Each bite was light, fluffy, and cheesy, so decadent.

cheese gougeres

The rock shrimp and seeded granola was also really memorable for the combination of flavors and textures; sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. I would never think to combine shrimp and granola, but this just worked so well.

rock shrimp and granola

Spoonbar is a vast open space with windows out on to the sidewalk and a very cool vibe. We were on East Coast time and thus early diners, but I am sure once acclimated to Healdsburg time, we would be late night regulars. The restaurant was a perfect recommendation and a fantastic way to end a day of wine tasting.

The real end to the night came at another new favorite we visited twice on this trip, the lounge at the Hotel Healdsburg. Live music, great wines by the glass, and a super sweet staff made this relaxing spot the place we enjoyed nightcaps two nights in a row. Just a block from our home base on this trip, the Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza, the Hotel Healdsburg is a must-visit for anyone staying in town. It also happens to be home to Dry Creek Kitchen; come for dinner, stay for music. . . and be prepared to never want to leave!

What’s your favorite vacation dining memory?

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Tags: California, Dining out, Food, Healdsburg, Northern California, Restaurants, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine country

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