Things to Do
We love Mendocino! It’s mellow and exciting all at once. There is a blend of those who have never left the ’60s and others who are way into sophistication. The water towers are a source of delight. The seascapes … divine! Of course, the many and varied restaurants are a favorite with guests. We’ve put together our TOP TEN things to see and do when visiting the Mendocino Coast and Joshua Grindle Inn. Let this remind you that staying the night is great and staying longer is better. Enjoy …
1) Explore the coastline – Sheer bluffs rising from a rocky shoreline, crashing waves, unique rock formations and sandy beach coves. A must see for all visitors, whether walking, bicycling or viewing from the car. State Parks dot the coastline and provide access for viewing, excellent hiking trails and information on the local habitats. Our favorites are the Mendocino Headlands and Russian Gulch.
2) Mendocino Art Center – Local artists create, teach, exhibit, and preserve art; and cultivate a vibrant regional arts environment to ensure access to all people, enrich each visitor’s experience, and preserve the community’s artistic heritage.
3) Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens – 47 acres of gardens stretching to the coastal bluffs. Featuring many different garden areas such as the Heritage Rose Garden, the Mediterranean Garden, the Woodland garden, Heaths and Heathers garden. Bring a picnic basket or get lunch at Rhodies. Open year round.
4) Museums – Kelley House and Ford House Museums – See the Kelley House as it existed in the 1860’s and learn about the rich history of Mendocino. Walking tours: Take a guided tour around the village and learn about the history of the coast and town, the mills and the artists.
5) Local Theater Companies– Mendocino Theater Company and Gloriana Musical Theater, both offering rich live entertainment year round.
6) The lighthouses! Point Cabrillo and Point Arena Historical Lighthouses are both nearby. Tour the lighthouses and learn their history. Point Cabrillo State Park includes 300 acres of an impressive variety of wildlife and hiking trails.
7) Horseback riding – Join a group or reserve a private trail ride on the beach or through the redwoods.
8) Kayaking rentals and sea cave tours – Rent a kayak and explore the ocean and local waterways or go on a sea cave tour and let someone else do the work. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your time on the water.
9) The Skunk Train – All Aboard the famous Skunk Train! Nostalgia rings down the line in the sights, sounds and smell of trains moving through the wild. Rides run through the redwoods between Fort Bragg and Willits.
10) Noyo Harbor – Charter fishing and whale watching boats can be found at Noyo Harbor as well as great fresh fish and seafood at this working harbor. Sunsets from this vantage point are often spectacular.
Despite its small size, the town’s scenic location on a headland surrounded by the Pacific Ocean has made it extremely popular as an artist colony and with vacationers.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which, 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2) of it is land and 5.2 square miles (13 km2) of it (69.58%) is water.
Mendocino experiences a cool summer Maritime Mediterranean climate. Summers are characterized by frequent fog and highs mostly in the upper sixties and lows in the fifties. Winters rarely, if ever, see frost or snow, due to close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Mendocino averages about 43 inches of rain per year concentrated mainly in fall, winter, spring, and early summer.
Many films and movies have been filmed in and around Mendocino and Mendocino County, including Dying Young, The Russians Are Coming; Overboard; The Dunwich Horror; The Karate Kid, Part III; Dead & Buried; Forever Young; Same Time Next Year; Racing with the Moon; Pontiac Moon; and The Majestic. Mendocino was depicted as turn-of-the-20th-century Monterey in the James Dean classic East of Eden, and it served as a New England resort town in Summer of ’42 (the latter film featuring numerous local Mendocino High School students as extras).
However, the TV series Murder, She Wrote has had the largest impact on the community.Nine episodes of the 264-episode program were filmed in Mendocino, while exterior shots throughout Mendocino were used in the remaining episodes. The program was broadcast for 12 seasons, from September 1984 until May 1996, and won many awards. Many local residents looked forward to the yearly filming, as over a hundred and fifty were chosen to play background parts. A lucky few were cast for speaking roles. Murder, She Wrote also brought in more money to the town due to increased tourism — by some estimates, around $2,000,000. The local high school band appeared in one of the episodes and received enough money from the appearance to go on a band trip.
Mendocino is also the home of the Mendocino Film Festival which was first held in May 2006. Because the area is a haven for artists, the festival honors them with a special “artist category”, in addition to the documentary, feature and short film categories.
“The innkeepers were great and the breakfast was amazing! Everything was very clean and tidy and the grounds were beautifully maintained. And the inn was only a short walk down the road to main street and the water. It was great, we hope to come back soon!”
Kristin, West Sacramento, CA