Need A Dog Or Vegetarian-Friendly Getaway? Mendocino Is The Answer!

Hit the road with 15-pound neurotic puppy Dexter, head to Mendocino.

mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

Three and a half hours north of San Francisco on the coast is an old fishing village and logging community that has been transformed into a hippy community focused on tourism these days. See my earlier post on Mendocino, so I won’t repeat any of those tidbits and instead focus on the dog/veggie side of the town. Note that I am not vegetarian, but that is just how the weekend shook out. For the most part…

First, we check dogtrekker.com to find pet friendly hotels, restaurants, bars, and activities, book, and eventually my wife and I pile in the car and hit the road with our 15 pound neurotic puppy Dexter.

mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

We hit the Didjeridoo Dreamtime Inn (again!) and settle in. They have a house dog Romeo, so all dogs get run of the property with dog treats and water already out.

Off to have a drink at Dick’s Place on main street. Again, dog friendly! We have a glass of local Navarro rosé and decide we have to hit the winery on the way back home.

mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

For dinner, we head to Raven’s in the Stanford Inn by the Sea. Not associated with Stanfurd college (yes that is how I spell and refer to it…), so this Berkeley alum is ok eating here. This is not only a pet friendly restaurant, but a fully pet friendly hotel as well. We aren’t staying here this time, but the place is truly amazing. Bicycle and Canoe use is complementary on the nearby river and trails and although this is more expensive than Didjeridoo, it is definitely now an option for the future.

Raven’s is actually vegan, but the food is so fresh, creative, and satisfying, just naming the dishes won’t do it justice. And their extensive wine list is exclusively vegan (some wines use animal products in filters apparently). We sit in a large, warm living room area with a fireplace just outside of the fine dining room that has several dog friendly tables. Dog people always want to chat and have their dogs play, so it was like a group play date and dinner!

We wake up the next morning to find out our innkeeper has suddenly gone vegetarian! It used to be the best breakfast and even though I would rather have bacon with it, still a great breakfast, including eggs and french toast.

It is whale month (March), so off to an 11am guided whale watching tour. You can do this unguided by just parking on west side of 1, opposite Gordan Lane and taking the trail west towards the water. Dogs on leash are allowed, but many aren’t just the same, Dexter is off leash when my wife isn’t looking… We see about a half dozen whales over the course of an hour. Although you can see the blowhole mist with naked eye easily enough, don’t forget binoculars!

mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

Back to Mendo (locals call it, which we are now…) to hit the Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites for lunch on their main street patio overlooking the ocean. Totally blocked by wind, definitely warm enough during the day, and of course totally dog friendly! Then off to walk around shops, most of which are dog friendly with water and biscuits out for the pooches, and then back to the great outdoors to take the same beautiful headlands walk we have done several times before, but this time with Dexter!

After a lengthy nap in the sea air, it is time for dinner. We had a reservation at Trillium, which has a dog friendly patio with a heat lamp, but we decide it is March and still too cold. In warmer months there are tons of options for dog friendly restaurants with outdoor space, but for now back to Raven’s for round two! We have a 2006 Harmonique pinot noir, which is to die for. We ask why our favorite winery Toulouse is not on the menu here and are told they make Foie Gras… One minor strike for the vegan restaurant!

We wake up in the morning and head for Anderson Valley wine country. And of course all wineries are dog friendly here. We hit Lazy Creek and Navarro given how much we enjoyed them along the way. We also hit Toulouse to figure out the mystery. The grounds are breathtaking. They tell us they have never made fois gras, but there is a goose on their label which apparently causes the confusion. Best pinot noir in the valley, period!

Mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

Then suddenly famished, someone tells us about the dog friendly Stone and Embers, but we immediately hear from another couple very passionate about Pennyroyal Farms. This is a winery and a goat farm that makes cheese and grows their own vegetables so we head there and have some fantastic vegetarian dishes like their signature cheese platter, pea and asparagus salad, and arugula goat cheese fritters, but we also have grilled hickories and beets with bacon (have it without if you must…) and prosciutto grilled cheese (obvious fix if needed). I wash it down with a top-notch pinot noir flight, Anne-Marie has a glass (or two) of rosé, and Dexter has his usual water. The food, wine, and sunny patio keep us there far too long.  I remember there used to be very few food options other than a greasy spoon or two in this area, so good to know more places are opening up in this idyllic part of the world.

mendocino
INSTAGRAM @jcanter71

So if you like to travel with your dog, with or without meat, Mendocino and Anderson Valley are a great option to getaway!

Jason Canter

Contributor

Jason loves beaches, sailing, diving & trying new foods. His travel style is about staying central & close to the action. His favorite country is Mexico & he never travels without his Tumi roller.

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