Mendocino was this charming coastal town with East Coast flavor. People are smitten by the town’s Cape Cod-like architecture. The seaside saltbox look of the 19th-century wood-frame homes are here, explained by the fact the the original settlers were predominantly lumbermen from Maine.
It’s also an artist town, both in terms of the architecture, attitudes and people who live there. And aside from its artistic draw, it’s another beautiful hotspot, sitting at the mouth of the Big River — and at the edge of the one of the most sublime coastlines in California.
Smaller than Florence at less than 1,000 people, the numbers go up significantly in the summer as do the hotel prices.
Apparently the artist appeal started in the 1950s. Painters like Dorr Bothwell, Emmy Lou Packard and Bill Zacha were among the first to settle here. East of Eden was shot here and writers like Alice Walker have also worked in the area.
I love this description of Mendocino in the winter: “In winter, you can meet the community – the fishermen, fourth-generation loggers, first-generation marijuana farmers, apple and sheep ranchers, artists and craftspeople, and innkeepers and shop owners come out of hiding.”
In the morning, we ended up at a quiet, small cafe that served cappacino (they even had soy milk), lattes, espresso and warm pastries, croissants and scones…..looked like it was the only cafe in town. People were reading the paper with their dogs at their feet at one of the five sidewalk tables.