For my birthday (yes, we are STILL celebrating...can you believe it?), Dave created an amazing weekend itinerary, starting with a "Save the Date" that I received on my birthday morning. The night of my birthday, he presented me with a fantastic "welcome kit" including the weekend itinerary, reviews of the hotel and surrounding areas and so much more.
We drove 3 1/2 hours to Mendocino, CA and stayed at a lovely hotel called the Brewery Gulch Inn.
Here is the view we saw while driving up to Mendocino (this is taken at about 7am):
The Brewery Gulch Inn only has 10 guest rooms...total! And, as luck would have it, we were the only guests on property when we arrived! There was another couple coming in that night (Friday night), but they weren't expected to arrive until late, so it was just us! Every need was taken care of throughout the weekend. Here are a few pictures of the hotel - just amazing.
Outside of Brewery Gulch - made of redwood that was completely salvaged by the owner himself from the local river
The fireplace set the ambience of total and complete relaxation at the inn
As you can see, I had no trouble adjusting...
The bedroom...perfect craftsmanship
Brewery Gulch Inn fosters the "you're at home" feel by having fresh coffee and tea out all day, fresh pastries that the chef made himself, and a nightly cocktail hour where all hotel guests (all 20 of us max) can get together in the lobby ("lobby" being the living room area in the photos above) from 5:30pm-6:30pm to taste wines and beers from the Mendocino area while enjoying hors d'oeuvres delicacies that the chef prepares for the group.
Remnants of a Perfect Kuchen with Fresh Blueberries...yes, we did damage.
On Friday, since it was just the two of us, the hotel generously offered us a $50 credit to our bill so we could enjoy dinner in town rather than having a cocktail hour with the two of us staring at each other. We gladly accepted and headed to McCallam House, a Victorian hotel and restaurant that had one of the best burgers I've tasted in my life!
Enjoying a Martini at MacCallum
On Saturday, we woke up to a quiet hotel and wandered into the living room for breakfast (which is included). We decided to take our time and chill with a cup of coffee (and yes - new, fresh kuchen) for an hour or so before eating.
Dave getting first round of coffee
Daily Coffee Set-up
Brewery Gulch Inn Mugs that make you feel at home (unless you're at our home - which would only involve take-out cups from Peet's or SBUX)
There were two tables set (one for us and one for the other couple - Nick and Dan - that we met on our way back from dinner the previous night), and the chef came out to take our orders personally. I had to try their french toast bread pudding and Dave went with his stand-by of two eggs over-easy with home fries and bacon. Ohhhh, the bacon. This was life changing bacon and I do not use those terms lightly! We're talking locally "produced" bacon that is cut thick and - here's the kicker - seasoned with maple syrup and chili flakes!!!! Yes, amazing.
After breakfast, we went outside to relax (yes, more) and here is the view...awesome.
View from back porch
Normally at a hotel, we are there for just the 8-10 hours of sleeping. At Brewery Gulch Inn though, we could hardly peel ourselves away! When we finally did, we left for only short amounts of time. We headed to a wine tasting at Pacific Star Winery...they don't have the best wines, but the view while you are tasting said wines can't be beat.
Coastline of Mendocino
View by Pacific Star Winery
We then headed back to the hotel (you thought I was exaggerating, right?) and had wonderful 1 hour massages in the comforts of our own rooms. We debated whether we were missing anything by not visiting more of Mendocino and Fort Bragg (the two major towns), but decided against it and opted for reading and relaxing instead.
Saturday night, we joined the other guests (there were now probably 14 people staying at the hotel) for cocktail hour where we all scarfed down the delicious food while drinking heavily-poured (bottomless) glasses of wine. We enjoyed getting to know Nick and Dan (also from SF) and had a great time with complete strangers. Dave and I then headed out to dinner (most guests can get by with eating the heavy, heavy hors d'oeuvres for dinner, but let's be serious...I am not a small-plates-kind-of-girl). We had a wonderful meal at Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg and then went to a bar that happened to have a band from San Diego that we liked (K-23 Orchestra). The only problem was that we got to the bar around 10pm and there was an opening band (which was actually quite good) and the main act didn't even come on until about 11:15pm....which meant that I was promptly fighting my sleepy, droopy eyelids by 11:27pm. Sadly, we headed home.
Amazing redwood tree ring
On Sunday, we lingered until about 12pm when we decided to hit up two more wineries on our way back to SF. We first went to Husch, then Navarro. We have tried Husch (their Pinot Noir) in the past, but weren't particularly overwhelmed by the tasting experience. We definitely liked the wines at Navarro (which we had never heard of prior to visiting Mendocino) and brought some home with us to enjoy.
Husch Winery Tasting
As I'm sure many couples say/experience after a weekend away, "why don't we do this more often??" - we have pledged to live that. We realized that we hadn't been away alone together since we were married (almost 4 years ago) and have now committed to going away at a bare minimum of two times a year together...just us. There is so much to see in California to start, I imagine this could keep us busy for a very long time!
Thank you, Dave, for an amazing weekend with a husband I couldn't possibly dream of being any more perfect.
Tasting on our way home.
Home sweet home...back in SF.
For more pictures (yes, there are more...this is us afterall), you can see them here.