Here is information about my current favorite Northern California/Southern Oregon Getaway! For the past 12 years or so I have been regularly taking some variation of this 7-10 day adventure you will find set forth below.
I recommend that during the non-winter season you schedule your trip to include a visit to Ashland Oregon’s Shakespeare Theatre Festival and/or the Mendocino Film Festival/Mendocino Music Festival/Mendocino Mushroom Festival; during the winter season you should schedule your visit to include Mendocino’s Crab and Wine Festival and/or Whale Festival!
Away we go!
1) Mendocino: on route drive through Anderson Valley (Highway 128) stop at Navarro as well as Husch Wineries.
a) Stay at the Little River inn. Try to get an ocean view room toward the north side of property where you can hear the waves!! The food is wonderful. Be sure to eat there for at least one dinner (try crab cakes and cioppino) and one breakfast (try blintzes and Swedish pancakes) otherwise used the Hotel Tonight app to see what’s affordable and available.
b) Stroll through town and along the coast at the end of town and be sure to stop by the Gallery of the Senses perfume store and the Mendocino Art Center on Little Lake Street. While in Ft. Bragg consider visiting Ananse Village a store with an amazing collection of African Art and crafts – 17800 CA-1, Fort Bragg, CA.
c) Night time events to try: check out whose playing at the Headlands Coffeehouse in Fort Bragg, what’s playing at the Mendocino Theatre Co., Gloriana Opera Co and/or Sweetwater Eco Spa (hot tub/sauna/massages)
d) Try outdoor excursions such as: Coast Botanical Garden walk to the ocean, Skunk Train, Canoeing, Kayaking, horse back riding, visit the Sea Glass museum and then go the sea glass beach and collect some actual sea glass.
e) Other restaurants to try: Mendocino Cafe on 10451 Lansing St, Good Life Bakery, Albion River Inn, Flow Restaurant and Harvest Market has a nice salad bar.
f) For more information, visit Mendocino websites such as http://www.go-mendo.com/ http://www.mendocino.winecountry.com to check out their calendar to find out if there are any festivals or special events going on during your travel time. Also pick up a copy of the Mendocino Visitor’s Guide published by the Mendocino Chamber of Commerce.
2) Next stop: visit the Montgomery Woods State Reserve and Orr Hot Springs! Turn off of Highway One at Comptche-Ukiah Road and visit one of California’s most majestic virgin redwood forests. Afterward make your way to Orr Hot Springs for a soak and possibly an overnight stay. You will need to bring your own food and beverages.
3)(optional) Consider visiting the Victorian Village of Ferndale, which is a few miles shy of Eureka. It ís a quaint little town, nestled between the two redwood forests in a thriving dairy community. We stopped by the Tea Shoppe, located in the center of town for a pot of freshly brewed tea and slices of homemade pie.
4)(optional) Visit Eureka and walk around their newly refurbished “Old Town”. For a sampling of what life was like for the lumberjacks in the 1800’s, consider having dinner at the historic Samoa Roadhouse and museum. On route to Crescent City consider veering off the beaten path by stopping off at Hoopa Tribal Museum on the Hoopa Reservation, where you can also get guided tour of traditional village.
Another interesting side trip is to the picturesque coastal city of Trinidad for short visit to their Patrick State Park as well as to the Tsurai Village. Also consider seeing humongous redwood trees by driving through the Avenue of the Giants.
5) Why not give, Crescent City a try? Be sure to eat lunch or dinner at the Charthouse, one of the local’s fav restaurants. If you are traveling in the summer, consider scheduling your trip to include a visit to the Klamath Salmon Festival. It is organized by the Yurok tribe and includes an opportunity to learn about their culture as well as eat salmon prepared in the traditional manner.
6) On route to Ashland, be sure to stop off at Jedediah Smith State Park, just north of Crescent City to take a short stroll through Stout Grove and during the spring time the Smith River is said to be a beautiful blue. I actually went swimming in the river and it was refreshing albeit a bit cool.
7) A must see scene is Ashland, Oregon. If you are traveling between May and October, you must attend several plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They not only have Shakespearean plays but also contemporary, classic and ethnic ones as well. Here is a budget traveler’s tip: stand outside of the box office around lunch time and there are usually people trying to get rid of extra tickets via gift or deep discount; you can also sometimes get them prior to evening performances …some times they do not become available until moments before the show starts. You should consider making a sign that says “need tickets” and stand in front of the show you want to see.
a) My favorite inexpensive places to stay: Stratford Inn or Manor Motel. My favorite places to stay: Ashland Creek Inn or the Plaza Inn Suites.
b) My fav places to eat: for breakfast – Greenleaf Restaurant (on the river) or Ashland Bakery Cafe, for lunch or dinner – Omar’s, Dragonfly, Cucina Biazzi, or Thai Pepper.
My fav coffee spot: Noble Coffee.
The best way to learn about the history of Ashland: Take the amazing audio walking tour offered by the Imagine Project (www.ashlandaudiowalks.com). Information and devices are available at the Ashland Springs Hotel.
Set aside an afternoon to check out Ashland’s numerous art galleries and artist cooperatives.
My favorite place to shop: Paddington Station.
A couple other theatrical alternatives in Ashland are: Oregon Caberet Theatre and Oregon Stage Works.
c) My fav side trips are the Britt Music Festival (June-September) in the neighboring community of Jacksonville (a tour of the town is worthwhile as well) & a day long white water rafting trip on the Klamath or Rogue Rivers with Noah’s Adventures. Be sure to check out their farmer’s market, local wineries such as Cow’s Horn, Weisingers and Edenvale. Consider taking a hike along the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail from Grouse Gap to the Forest Boundary.
8) Mt. Shasta City
a) My fav places to stay: Stewart’s Hot Springs or Lake Shasta Resort.
b) My fav places to eat are Lily’s Cafe, Trinity Cafe or Deli at Berryvale Grocery Store
c) Fav things to do is go mountain biking and/or hiking near Lake Siskiyou, Heart Lake, on the cliffs above Castle Lake and Dunsmuir Falls. I love spending a morning or afternoon alternately sitting in the wood burning sauna at Stewart’s hot springs and dunking myself in the adjacent river. I hope to attend a sweat lodge ceremony there someday which are usually on Friday nights. Be sure to fill up your water bottles from the springs in Mt. Shasta City Park.