The romantic hideaway where married-to-others lovers Alda Alda and Ellen Burstyn cuddled and clashed in a once-a-year cinematic tryst continues to lure couples seeking tender memories on the Mendocino coast.
The world has changed dramatically since 1978, when the movie "Same Time Next Year" was filmed at The Heritage House, an historic inn perched on a point south of Mendocino. And so has The Heritage House itself. The old inn has been in the throes of a makeover ever since it was bought by a Florida real estate entrepreneur in 2012.
Currently 32 rooms have been luxed up with handcrafted Duxiana beds, European linens and gas fireplaces. As of late last week there were still a few rooms left for either Friday or Saturday nights of Valentine's weekend.
But there's more than 60 romantics holding out on a waiting list for "The Same Time" or the "Next Year" rooms still under renovation. They are housed in a separate cottage built by Universal Studios especially for the movie. Some of the interiors were shot there, and some in an identical cottage built on an L.A. movie lot.
"Many are calling wanting one of those rooms and waiting to book to re-experience the resort only when that building is available," says Dwayne Lewis, who manages the 37-acre ocean bluff resort.
When they re-open sometime in March, fans of the movie about a man and woman who meet in 1951 and return to the same rustic room once a year for 25 years, won't recognize its "contemporary Pacific" decor.
A promoter who books celebrities for film festivals has approached the inn about inviting an aging Alda and Burstyn back for a reunion. Nothing has come of it but it's an idea that Lewis says is "something we're interested in, very much so."
Meanwhile, Valentine's guests will be greeted with champagne, chocolate and a card inviting them to create a memory and promising, "We'll see you same time next year."