So many of the couples who elope at San Francisco City Hall, come from far and wide around the world. Because of this, they often plan an extended honeymoon trip to make the most of the energy they’ve put forth getting here in the first place.
I love talking to my couples about all of the exceptional locations one can visit to celebrate their newfound marital status. In this blog post, I’m going to share a little about one of our favorite places. We’ve probably visited four of five times, and always found new adventures, whether we snuggled up in front of a fireplace in the wonderful pubs, or walking hand in hand along the rugged coastline, THIS place has it all.
This quaint off-the-beaten-path town, is Mendocino, California. The first thing that you’ll notice as you drive on the California 1 highway is the VIEW! You can’t miss it, and it’s spectacular. Depending on the time of year, you might see seals, and you might even see baby seals! Then you come upon this colorful little town, nestled cliffside and you’ll know it was worth the drive.
Founded in 1850 and known for the famous Mendocino Music Festival, this artists colony is a three-hour drive north of San Francisco. To get here, you’ll travel the windy roads, past vineyards, organic farms and wooded areas, that are worth the drive all by themselves. You’ll be deposited on the coast, and there you will find this little town. It’s perfect for your romantic retreat.
Mendocino was put on the radar in the 1950’s with the opening of the Mendocino Arts Center. We’ve been there and it’s a fascination and eclectic place. The hippie movement of the 1960’s and 70’s was in full swing here, and you’ll still see influences today not only with the art and music, but the restaurants have plenty of vegetarian,vegan and gluten-free options. Strolling around all of the open artist’s studios with a hot drink on a foggy day is really fun. A lot of the artists will be working while you’re there, and others have their pottery,sculpture and painting for sale just feet away from where they created it.You can meander to your heart’s content, and still probably not see everything. The fun part is that you’re just a few blocks from the heart of town, so you can turn right around and hit all of the great shops and restaurants when you’re done. The whole downtown area is very walkable and the shoreline cliffs are also accessible from town, which is unusual.
If you two are the outdoorsy types and love hiking through the woods or along the stunning coastline, then you will never be disappointed with this area. Check out Caspar Headlands State Reserve, or just up the road is Jackson State Forrest. This is the largest state-owned forest in all of California. Picture 50,000 acres of old growth redwood trees! Oh, be still my heart. Did I mention that there are rivers and waterfalls? No proper honeymoon is complete without a waterfall selfie. Am I right? Camping is also available in this area, so check online to see what’s open.
Of course, if you want the full Mendocino experience the only way to do that, is by staying in one of the more unique properties in the area. There are plenty of vintage B and B’s, restored captain’s houses and fancy Inn’s….but the Andiron Inn and Cabin’s won us over.
Owned by the husband and wife team of Scott and Madeline, plus various rescue Greyhounds. They took over the Inn on its 50th birthday in 2009 and set about creating a space with a central meeting building which features scrumptious coffee and made while- you- wait- buffet breakfast. In the afternoon they have tea time/wine tasting and it’s really fun to meet the other guests, read the newspaper and play board games with total strangers. A lot of the guests actually show up and socialize which is nice. We’ve met the most interesting people there. If that’s not enough, just step outside the door and visit the corral with their two goats, Peanut Butter and Jelly. They love it when guests pop into their enclosure to brush them. Just don’t wear your good shoes, trust me on that one.
The cabins are all lovingly curated with a retro, shabby chic vibe and each is 100% unique. Many features salvaged or re-purposed items that you won’t find anywhere else.
The cabins each have their own names, such as Here, There, Curious or Make. The names of each little house will correlate with what you might find inside. I think of them as little treasure chests.
Since you are on your honeymoon, there’s only one cabin that fits the bill just right. It’s the William and Mildred suite, and while those names might not evoke a romantic encounter….you’ll have to trust me on this one. By far the largest cabin, and boasting a 1940’s camel bar, huge Jacuzzi tub, and organic toiletries made locally in Napa, this cabin is literally a love letter.
You see, Madeline’s parents met in London during World War 2. He was a U.S. flyboy and she was a nurse with the RAF. They fell in love but were separated for two years as the war raged on, but they always wrote to each other. This cabin is covered with their actual framed love letters! As far as wedding Feng Shui goes, you’ve hit the jackpot. In case you were worried, they both returned safely to the United States, got married and had nine children. Madeline is the youngest, and she assured me that they did live happily ever after.
The cabin has everything you’d expect. An adorable kitchen, deck and BBQ, two bathrooms and a spacious living room with a fireplace, and large dining room. If your honeymoon includes friends or relatives, this is a great cabin for everyone to gather in. There is also a sleeping loft if you have any kids with you. Pets are very welcome.
If you’d like more information you can call them at 1-800-955-6478 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.