Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, The Watertower Gallery

The Watertower Gallery  611 Albion St., (707) 937-5664.  Thur-Sun 10-11:30am.  Inside the town’s oldest working water tower, you can view the art of, or take a class from, pastel artist Suzi Long. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, July 29, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, The John Dougherty House

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The John Dougherty House  571 Ukiah St., (800) 486-2104, (707) 937-5266.  8 units; $$-$$$.  Unsuitable for children under 12.  Some wood-burning stoves.  Full breakfast.  No pets.  This 1867 salt box-style house is one of the oldest in town.  Depending on the weather, a communal living room with fireplace or sheltered deck with lounge chairs is a good place to enjoy coffee or tea and afternoon cookies.  Rooms are in the main house, in an adjacent water tower repurposed into a charming two-room suite with a 16-foot-high beamed ceiling and wood-burning stove, and in two cottages amid a lovely English garden that holds a memorably fragrant purple rose bush.  All of the cozy rooms are a little different, and most have pine furniture, stenciling on the walls, and ocean views.  Bed linens are 600-thread-count Neiman Marcus sheets, and they are always ironed.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wine Country: Glen Ellen, Jack London State Historic Park

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Jack London State Historic Park  2400 London Ranch Rd., (707) 938-5216.  Park:  Daily 9:30-5.  $6/vehicle.  Museum:  Daily 10-5; free.  Cottage:  Daily noon-4; Thur-M Nov-April; $4, 62+ & 13-18 $2. Jack London, who wrote 191 short stories and 51 books, was once one of the highest paid authors in the country.  This multi-talented man was also a gifted war correspondent, and by the time his life ended at age 40 had become a passionate farmer--who wrote for income to support his new occupation.  This 1,400-acre park (London's nephew donated it to the state) contains the ruins of his 26-room Wolf House (reached via a pleasant ½-mile trail), his grave, and The House of Happy Walls--a museum built in his memory by his widow.  Kenwood Vineyards to make wines, which are designated as from here by a wolf logo on their bottles. 
Beauty Ranch includes the cottage he actually lived in as well as two cement-block silos (the first in California) and Pig Palace, a deluxe piggery designed by London.  Picnic tables are available.  Vineyards here produce grapes purchased by nearby

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

80 North: Berkeley, Sol y Luna Taqueria

Sol y Luna Taqueria  1926 Shattuck Ave./Hearst Ave, downtown, (510) 540-8880.  L-D daily; $.  Narrow and deep, this cheery spot specializes in Michoacan cuisine and has both indoor and outdoor seating.  After ordering at the counter, visit the salsa bar where you’ll find a giant bowl of freshly made tortilla chips plus a changing group of condiments that includes salsas, pickled carrots, and beans.  The drinking water jug dispenses water lightly flavored with fruit—watermelon, strawberries—and cucumbers.  Orders are brought to the table.  Among the menu selections are a tasty guarache ranchero, crispy tacos, big burritos, yummy sopes, and a fried chicken torta that someone on yelp says “slaps Bakesale Betty's sandwich in the face and kicks it in the crotch!”  Filling include carne asada steak, carnitas, broiled chicken, soya, and organic tofu. 

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, July 22, 2013

880 South: Fremont, 4 antiques shops

Four Fremont antiques shops--all on one block.
Antique Treasures  37541 Niles Blvd., (510) 742-0664.  This shop is reputed to have the largest collection of heritage lace in the Bay Area. 

Bite and Browse Collective  37565 Niles Blvd., (510) 796-4537.  Daily 10-5.  Munch on a homemade cookie while you browse this antique collective featuring 25 dealers.

Iron Dog Antiques  37589 Niles Blvd, (510) 793-8847.  This curated mix of antiques that go well with modern decor makes for a good browse. 

Keith’s Collectible and Books  37573 Niles Blvd., (510) 790-0101.  Here you’ll find collectibles that include everything from ceramic chickens to Thomas train cars to books. 

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, July 19, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, Blue Door Inn

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Formerly the Whitegate Inn.

Blue Door Inn  499 Howard St., (800) 531-7282, (707) 937-4892..  6 rooms, 1 cottage; $$-$$$+.  All gas fireplaces.  Afternoon wine; full breakfast.  No pets.  Surrounded by a garden and white picket fence, this updated 1883 Victorian is tastefully furnished in contemporary English style.  Housebaked cookies are always available, and in the morning guests are served a gourmet two-course breakfast in the formal dining room.  Rooms are named after royal residences and have similar decor.  Beds feature padded fabric headboards and are dressed in posh Neiman Marcus linens.  The Buckingham room has a large bathroom with a magnificent oversize soaking tub with tiny jet holes around the bottom (three rooms have this kind of tub) and
a fast-fill waterfall faucet, and the Kensington room has an ocean view.

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1 South: Monterey, Cooper-Molera Adobe

Cooper-Molera Adobe  (525 Polk St./Alvarado St./Munras St.  Tours F-Sun at 10:30am & 1:30pm.)  This refined 1820s adobe is meticulously restored and part of a 2.4-acre complex with additional farm buildings, historical gardens, chickens, sheep, and a visitor center with a gift shop featuring items themed to the 1800s.  

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Monday, July 15, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, The Highlight Gallery

The Highlight Gallery  45052 Main St., (707) 937-3132.  Inside this spacious gallery you’ll find fine ceramics and beautifully crafted jewelry, too.  But the piece de resistance is the exquisitely detailed Noah’s ark that is the shop’s window centerpiece. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 South: Mettler, Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms  At The Old Tomato Weigh-Station, 9557 Copus Rd.  I love their website description:  “We pick our fruits and vegetables only when ripe to ensure optimal flavor and nutritional value. Seasonal favorites include cherries (18 varieties), blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, citrus, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, pumpkins, and many more.  We are one of the few fruit stands that actually produce the majority of the products that we sell.”  You can also shop for ”jams, jellies, specialty canned goods, tender chewy beef jerky, dried fruits and nuts, homemade pies, cookies & turnovers, creamy fudge, cut fruit salads, all sorts of snacks, and more free samples than you would find at a Costco store.”

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image courtesy of attraction

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

5 South: Coalinga, Harris Ranch Restaurant

Harris Ranch Restaurant  Exit 334.  Surrounded by tall palms, this spot appears like an oasis on the horizon.  The complex features Early California hacienda-style architecture and consists of a gas station, hotel, and restaurant/gift shop.  The ranch is known for its beef but also grows vegetables, fruit, and nuts.  The restaurant uses their own choice beef exclusively and serves more than 2,000 meals each day.  Popular menu items include the Gourmet Ranchburger, made with that tasty beef and served on a housemade cheese-bread bun (all breads and pastries are made in-house), and a delicious prime rib sandwich with grilled onions and mushrooms.  A more substantial Barbecued Beef Bones dinner consists of three big ribs cooked in a tangy barbecue sauce served with a delicious spinach salad side.  More options:  sandwiches, salads, Mexican items, breakfast items (available all day), and great pies.  Little Ranch Hands meals for children under 10 include a choice of hamburger, grilled cheese sandwich, barbecued beef rib, or hot dog, and all are served with french fries and a horse-shaped sugar cookie. 
    Any wait during prime dining times can be spent browsing in the Country Store gift shop.  If you’d like to take home some of their flavorful steaks, ask to have them vacuum-sealed and they will stay fresh for approximately 4 hours.  And don’t forget to pick up some baked goods for the family to munch on in the car and for the next day’s breakfast. 
    If you arrive here tired, you can spend the night at the adjacent Harris Ranch Inn.  123 rooms; $-$$.  Heated pool; 3 hot tubs; fitness room. 

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image © 2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, July 8, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant

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MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant  45020 Albion St., (800) 609-0492, (707) 937-0289.  19 rooms; $$-$$$+.  Some wood-burning fireplaces & stoves.  Hot tub.  Full breakfast; restaurant.  Pets ok in some rooms.  Built in 1882 by William H. Kelley for his newlywed daughter, Daisy MacCallum, this converted Victorian mansion was one of the first B&Bs in the area.  The six attractively decorated rooms are furnished with antiques, many of which belonged to the original owner, but TVs are, unfortunately, no longer covered with fabric TV cozies.  The second-floor communal game room has a spectacular ocean view.  A water tower suite is fitted with a bed on the first floor, a bathroom with an ocean view on the second, and another bed with an ocean view on the third.  (The water tower has a working redwood tank on the very top, and the original 50-foot-deep hand-dug well below still produces water.)  Accommodations are also available in newer cottages adjacent to the house.  Some rooms have private hot tubs.  Non-guests can purchase a gourmet organic breakfast, which is served in a sunny cafe or, in good weather, outdoors. 
    The restaurant (D daily; $$$.  Reservations advised.) serves dinners in the house’s dining room.  The regional menu might offer Niman Ranch rack of lamb with a lavender-rosemary popover, or crispy fried chicken with green-onion mashed potatoes and mushroom-sherry gravy.  On cold nights, guests are warmed by crackling fires in two fireplaces built of smooth river stone.  Light dinners and snacks are available across the hall in the cozy Grey Whale Bar & Cafe, also operated by the restaurant.  Drinks are handmade with organic fruit, herbs, and spices and include margaritas and daiquiris.

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, July 5, 2013

1 North: Elk Cove, Elk Cove Inn

Elk Cove Inn  6300 S. Hwy. 1, 20 mi. S of Mendocino, (800) 275-2967, (707) 877-3321. 15 units.  Some fireplaces.  Unsuitable for children under 12.  Small full-service spa.  Arrival wine & cookies, afternoon cocktails/wine & snack, full buffet breakfast with champagne.  Pets ok in some rooms.  Located down from the highway atop a bluff, this traditional craftsman-style house was built in 1883 as an executive guest house.  It offers a variety of rooms and suites in several buildings, and many have a spectacular ocean view.  Opened to guests in 1968, it was the first B&B in this area.  In this very quiet spot you can hear the frogs chirping softly at night.  Guest rooms are all delightfully different and most have an ocean view, fireplace, and balcony.  Some, like the primo L.E. White Suite, has a full-on ocean view.  Attached in a row, the Oceanfront Cottages include Greenwood, which has refinished hardwood floors, a wood-burning stove, and a shower with hand-painted tiles and a large window cutout with ocean view.  Rooms in the Victorian house are the least expensive and perhaps highest in charm--it’s hard not to fall in love with the inn’s least expensive room here, the robin’s-egg-blue Swallow’s Nest and its hand-painted-tile shower.  Breakfast includes a fabulous full buffet with champagne and takes place in a large space with yet another spectacular ocean view.  Everything is freshly made and choices include an array of yummy items such as Southern spoon bread, cottage cheese Morning Pie, diminutive orange scones, veggie omelettes, deviled eggs, biscuits and gravy, bread pudding with Bourbon praline sauce, and much, much more.  Coffee is from the acclaimed local
roaster Thanksgiving Coffee.  After, allow time to walk the trail in front leading down to mile-long Greenwood State Beach, where you can view imposing Gunderson Rock up close, collect smooth stones, and explore caves and tide pools.  Another trail leads into town. 

Check out the local surf.

Things to do in Mendocino.

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers