Tallman Hotel 9550 Main St., in Upper Lake, north lake, (866) 708-5253, (707) 275-2244. 17 rooms; $$-$$$. Heated pool (closed Nov-Apr); hot tub. Continental breakfast; restaurant.
|exteriors of Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, California|
Built in 1895, this beautifully restored hotel combines rustic and chic in a delightful manner. The original hotel has four high-ceilinged guest rooms that are decorator-adorned in a soothing mix of subdued colors in a fashionable mix of patterns and styles. Should a guest fall in love with any fabric or color, a resource book is kept at the desk to advise of brands and code numbers. One of the most interesting features is the highly functional antique bathroom plumbing, which is so old it’s new again. Room #1 has both an oversize clawfoot tub with center drain and a tall shower enclosure with a wrap-around chrome fixture sporting all kinds of porcelain knobs and levers that control a giant sunflower head and side sprayers. Lodging is available in several adjacent buildings, and some new-construction garden rooms have a Japanese ofuro soaking tub on a private patio with outdoor shower.
|exterior of Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|exterior of bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|guest room in bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|wall decor in lobby at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|antique safe at check-in desk at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|breakfast room at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|breakfast buffet at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
|breakfast plate at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California|
The complex’s Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant serves a well-priced eclectic menu. The roasted beet-goat cheese salad and the baked oysters make super starters. Entrée specialties include barbecued tri tip, seafood cioppino, and my personal favorite--portobello mushroom ravioli--but a variety of burgers are also options. Local wines are featured, and beers and sarsaparilla are on tap. Sunday brunch is a particularly popular time and features live music, plus a really good mushroom omelette is on the menu then. Diners can sit in the cozy interior or, in good weather, outside on a delightful garden patio sheltered by umbrellas and plane trees. It is hard to believe the saloon is all new construction. Do take time to admire the long bar made from one seamless piece of straight-grained black walnut wood salvaged from a tree that fell down on the property. The Blue Wing Blues Festival is held here each August.
|exterior of Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
|dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
|entertainment in dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
|chef Pablo at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
|mushroom omelette at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
|beet salad at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California|
A few doors down, beneath the historic landmark town clock, The Upper Lake Mercantile operates as the hotel’s gift shop in the town’s long-vacant 1921 bank building. It features huge windows, beautiful wood floors, and high ceilings and purveys an eclectic mix of goods made by local artists and craftspeople.
|exterior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California|
|interior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California|
UPPER LAKE is a tad larger than a one-horse town. Once the end of the stage coach line from Cloverdale, it now holds a wine-tasting bar and several antiques shops. The berg now has a welcoming town arch over the street and Victorian-style street lights. Horse-drawn carriage rides are sometimes available. Highway 20 to Ukiah makes a direct route in or out to Highway 101.
|horse-drawn carriage in Upper Lake, California|
More town businesses
●Lake County Wine Studio #9505, (707) 275-8030. Tasting: 6 wines/$8. The The walls here feature the work of local artists, and hard-to-find artisan wines from local producers can be tasted. (Guests of the Tallman hotel receive a free tasting.)
|wine-tasting set up at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California|
|tasty vintages at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California|
The cheese from local maker Yerba Santa Goat Dairy & Bodega Goat Cheese which is made from “free grazing, happy Alpine goats,” is available here. I had the opportunity to taste some of these fresh and aged goat cheeses, including fresh chevre, semi-soft chevito, and dry aged shepherds cheese. They were all delicious, but my favorite was the soft fresh version. They sell almost exclusively at farmers markets, including the one at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The farm is open to visits, and when I was there, the herd consisted of 83 females and 2 males.
|Yerba Santa Goat Dairy owners at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California|
|Yerba Santa Goat Dairy cheeses at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California|
●Lavender Blue #9505, (707) 245-9643. This sweet shop purveys gifts, plants, and more.
|exterior of Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California|
|merchandise at Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California|
●Mi Chelas Mexican Restaurant #9475, (707) 275-4065. L-D Thur-Tu. Everyone raves about the food here. I enjoyed an inexpensive, delicious bowl of Azteca soup that was thick with beans and chicken.
●Oliveira Antiques #9515, (707) 275-9408. This shop features a collection of western art, a stage coach, and guns galore. The owner sometimes leads an informal, eccentric tour of his homage to the old west.
|exterior of Oliveira Antiques shop in Upper Lake, California|
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers