“Glamp” with Style: MENDOCINO GROVE
Mendocino is one of Northern California’s best-kept secrets. Often lingering in the shadows of more popular seaside escapes like Monterey and Santa Cruz, the hidden hamlet is about to make some major waves of its own.
Just under four hours from Sacramento, it’s a destination that delivers everything us valley dwellers crave—cooler temps, moody coastline, a rolling river, and dense forests—without swarms of sightseers. Add to that a charming downtown district that’s awash with artists, pastel-splashed Victorians, and both casual and elegant eateries, and you have the recipe for vacation success.
Though B&Bs are as plentiful as the Pinots around these parts, in a setting this spectacular you’ll want to sleep somewhere that puts nature first. Enter Mendocino Grove. Sited directly off Highway 1, minutes to town and within walking distance to Big River, it’s where luxurious lodging and camping collide, aka “glamping.” Guests of all ages, groups of all sizes, and leashed pups are invited to experience everything that’s magical about camping—al fresco eating, s’mores by a roaring fire, and easy access to hiking—without the inconvenience of pitching a tent and packing gear galore.
Boasting both “classic” and family” safari-style tents that sit aboveground on wooden platforms, each one comes appointed with comfy beds, warm down comforters, wool blankets, cotton linens, lanterns, towels, and more. Outside, you’ll find a personal picnic table, fire pit, and loungeable leather chairs.
Just a short walk away are flush toilets and hot showers (coins not required)—fully stocked with organic, yummy-smelling products—a communal redwood deck with on-demand hot water/tea, and a serene, open-air meadow featuring hammocks, horseshoes, and bocce ball.
Rise and shine with complimentary coffee and morning munchies (fresh fruit, yogurt, etc.), followed by weekend activities like morning yoga ($10) and a free guided hike around the property’s Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
With plenty of quiet places to cozy up and other areas that encourage campers to converge, it’s the perfect balance of privacy and conviviality.
If you can muster up the energy to peel yourself away from the premises, Catch a Canoe & Bicycles Too is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Rent a handcrafted redwood outrigger canoe for a gentle paddle down the 8.3-mile Big River Estuary (the second-largest in California) where you might pass by harbor seals, river otters, and a variety of birds.
After working up an appetite, head into town for a meal at Trillium Café, where the cozy digs and warmhearted workers will literally make you feel right at home—albeit a home that has views of the ocean, a culinary garden, and a kitchen that pumps out killer dishes like beet-cured salmon and toast, ginger roasted organic chicken, locally caught fresh fish, and melt-in-your-mouth desserts.
After returning to the “Grove,” relax fireside with a glass of locally made, world-class wine (the nearby Anderson Valley region is home to some of the state’s best) with the ultimate midnight snack: a freshly roasted marshmallow sandwiched in between melty chocolate and graham crackers. Yep, your summer definitely needs s’more moments like this.
For more info and to book your stay, visit https://mendocinogrove.com.
By Megan Wiskus