Where to go for a romantic getaway on the Mendocino Coast
Love may be in the air this week, but all along the Mendocino Coast, romance is on the calendar every day of the year. Whether for a wedding or an anniversary celebration, a proposal on bended knee, or just a much-needed weekend getaway by the sea, the craggy, surf-splashed shores of Mendocino County provide an inspiring backdrop for amour.
The fancy Victorian-style gazebo at the Elk Cove Inn is an ideal setting for sunset views and popping a bottle of bubbly or popping the question in the village of Elk. High above the driftwood and tidepool-bearing Greenwood State Beach where a fishing lagoon meets the Pacific Ocean, visitors will see towering rocks line up near the shore and a little beyond.
Rooms in the craftsman-style lodge and 1800s mansion have ocean-view balconies and fireplaces. Visitors can enjoy the on-site restaurant and wander the voluminous gardens that are popular sites for small weddings.
“Once they (partners) get married here on the property, many of our guests return year after year. One couple comes every few years and recently celebrated their 45th anniversary with us,” said Elk Cove Inn co-owner Melissa Boons. “We also help out with pre-planned proposals.”
Staff can arrange a bonfire on the beach, complete with s’mores and wine for visitors, too. A few hours here are sure to rekindle forgotten passions.
For those who want a slow start to their day, breakfast is delivered to guest rooms and is included with every stay. For dinner, there’s the in-house restaurant named Sibo Restaurant that is open for dinner Thursday to Monday. A special Valentine’s Day package and menu is available through February 14.
And just up the road a brand-new property is gradually opening its rooms and two on-site eateries.
Sacred Rock Inn has high ceilings and wood-paneled rooms with decks, window seats and Jacuzzi tubs face a panorama view where waves are crashing against the eponymous “sacred rock.” Accommodations are named the castle, water towers, bluff cottages and the restored Victorian is known as the “white house.”
The inn is also a popular site for weddings.
"When the inn is fully open, we will welcome wedding parties of up to thirty guests, and at the restaurant we'll offer rehearsals and receptions, also, with full-property buyouts,” said Sacred Rock Inn General Manger Tom Halen.
When planning a trip, ask for room 243. Guests will find a tub for two that has an endless view of the sea and the tiny beach below.
Located on the property, Greenwood Restaurant serves breakfast and lunch along with a wine list that only includes local producers. The restaurant specializes in locally-sourced oysters, mushrooms, duck and poultry. A few steps away, the Elk House is a snug, pub-like gathering place with a menu full of comfort food and libations from family-run, Mendocino County wineries and distillers.
Opened last year in the town of Mendocino, Nicholson House is a stately Victorian former family home of the late 1800s that has been transformed into a whimsical art deco-inspired hostelry with elegant crystal chandeliers. Rooms offer huge soaking tubs, steam showers, fireplaces and feather beds. Couples can unpack and settle in, then enjoy California-French gourmet dining right next door to Cafe Beaujolais, a star of the local dining scene for more than fifty years.
In 2015, Cafe Beaujolais won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, which recognized 3,600 outstanding restaurants worldwide that offer extraordinary wine lists.
Eat, drink and relax
Adjacent to Nicholson House, sweethearts can melt into relaxation at Sweetwater Eco Spa in Mendocino with a restorative soak in a private or communal redwood hot tub and a cedar-lined sauna. Massages are also available. A comforting retreat for locals and visitors since the 1980s, the sprawling property also includes a small inn, a clutch of clapboard cottages and three-story-tall water towers with rooftop decks where guests can gaze out over the town and the sea.