The Mendocino Coast is Haute Hippie Heaven
Join me on a journey to the California coast, and discover five great reasons to visit.
The Inn at the Newport Ranch
With panoramic ocean views, the recently completed Inn at the Newport Ranch was named one of ‘America’s Best New Hotels’ by Conde Nast Traveler. But it didn’t achieve this distinction by being like any of the other ultra-luxe vacation properties; it achieved this distinction by being uniquely unlike them.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at this gracefully austere abode after driving up the one-way country roads was that the hotel is literally a ranch built above a spectacular ocean cliff, completely secluded on 2000 private acres. I mean — WOW! Here’s a quick video I made of The Inn at Newport Ranch, to give you a fuller picture:
Once I put dropped jaw back, I wandered through the freshly cut grass which faintly smelled like light perfume. There was just so much natural green everywhere, I felt like I was a minor character in a John Steinbeck novel. I proceeded to go inside the main ranch house, which looks like a custom-designed dream house, made especially for the modern urban girl looking for a different kind of vacay.
Once I ventured further, it was obvious that designers had artisanally handcrafted exotic hardwoods –mahogany, cherrywood, ripple sycamore, red cedar– to create not only a breathtaking interior aesthetic, but a functional confab to emphasize that you are truly “adventure lodging.” The obsessive attention to detail in this intimate residence –which is quite literally like a luxury bed and breakfast– is evident in every aspect of The Inn at Newport Ranch, from the first floor living room, to the rustic library, to the elevated hot tub and its spectacular views. As I found out, nearly everything used in the construction, and every piece of furniture was sourced sustainably and locally, to support the community.
But it gets better.
When we checked into our suite –appropriately named “The Grove”– there were massive, ancient redwood trees everywhere. Inside! Ascending from floor to ceiling. In the organic-posh living and dining room, and near the cozy fireplace, redwood trees function as both support beams and works of pristine art. The headboards are also made from fallen redwoods, and each room has a stunning ocean view.
Is this for real? I pinched myself.
This is what our two-bedroom suite (The Grove Suite) looked like:
In our suite, the only thing that interrupted the power and presence of the redwoods, was the equally eye-catching view of the Pacific Ocean seen through the 25-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows, leading to the outdoor grill and private hot tub (from which we watched the water glisten as the sun set).
That evening we enjoyed chatting with the other guests (one couple had met on Tinder and were planning to host their wedding there!) during their daily 6-7pm beer, wine and snacks hour, held in the stocked ‘guest kitchen’ in the main lodge:
Many who stay at The Inn at Newport Ranch opt to buy fresh seafood at the nearby Noyo Harbor (which is the largest fishing port in Northern California, with 175 fishing boats), and cook in their suite’s fully-stocked kitchen, or BBQ on their deck. Instead, we decided to see what vegan meals they could whip up for us in the main lodge (a delicious tempeh and veggies dish with a homecooked feel), and meet some more of the other guests.
The next day we had a delicious and fresh home-cooked breakfast (with many of the ingredients coming from their own organic gardens) and chatted with our new friends. The 34′ locally-custom-made longboard table was outfitted with fresh lavender and denim cloth napkins. All meals are at a communal table (unless you want to cook in your suite), which I loved.
The owner was there, telling stories about his Wall Street days in NYC in the 80’s, and enlightening us about the history of the Inn and Mendocino county. We were pleased to hear that the Inn will soon be getting their chicken coop, so that guests will be able to enjoy fresh eggs from happy hens instead of carton eggs from unhappy hens. I learned that all the logs used in the making of the hotel were from fallen or terminal trees salvaged from the surrounding 2000 acres, and that every effort has been made to be as eco-friendly as possible. Will Jackson, the owner, is as well-read as I am about plant’s feelings and intelligence. That’s why he didn’t clear a single healthy tree. My kind of place!
That afternoon, we set out on an ATV tour of the property. It’s hard to explain what the 2000-acre property looks like without actually being there. It was so lush, and so diverse, that it made me feel like I was in the original Jurassic World movie, and a raptor was about to pop out at any moment. The property has an 18th century graveyard on it, along with many streams and winding ATV or horseback riding pathways. As much as I loved the ATV trip, I think next time I’m going to do the route by horseback so I can see more animals and hear more of the life in the forest (ATVs are so loud!).
Here are a few more attractions that can’t be missed, all within a quick, beautiful drive from The Inn at Newport Ranch: