Mendocino

Day trips, dogs, and dallying along the coast. Warning: Beautiful photos ahead.

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Hi Everyone,

Another week has gone by, and it’s time for another post. This week’s post is extra special, as I’m writing about one of my favorite places in the world, Mendocino, California.  Ryan and I discovered Mendocino about two years ago, pretty soon after we moved to the Bay Area. Located right above Sonoma County, Mendocino County is known for incredible wineries such as Saracina & Bonterra (recently awarded best North American Winery), mountains, and valleys. The county is full of wildlife, rare flowers and plant life, and one of the most stunning views of the ocean on the west coast. The town of Mendocino is perched on the bluffs of the coast within the county and is home to around one thousand people. Most of the local economy is fueled by artisans, B&Bs, art galleries, and restaurants. From Berkeley the drive is a little over three hours, so getting up here does not happen often, sadly. However, each opportunity to make it up for the day or the weekend is truly special. Rather than writing a lot today, I’m going to leave the rest of this post to mostly pictures, as the landscape is absolutely stunning.

Jack and I drove up to Mendocino last Thursday. We woke up early, grabbed a Philz coffee, and made our way up the coast, stopping in Hopland, CA for some photos (not pictured here), and also spent time meandering through the riverscape on US-101N. I highly recommend stopping to see the wildlife. As we arrived at Mendocino, the first stop along the way was at Big River. An inlet situated right below the Pacific Coast Highway protected as National Seashore, that is home to hundreds of species of birds, plants, and other wildlife, as well as, a local spot for a nice beach day. Check it out.

BIG RIVER

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After spending some time at Big River, Jack & I decided to hike a new trail that runs east from the seashore, inland. Recently the town of Mendocino and surrounding unincorporated towns put their funds together and purchased Big River Estuary to be protected indefinitely. To read more about the project, click here.  Below you’ll find photos from our hike through the protected lands.

HIKING

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As the hike came to a close, Jack & I were both ready for some grub & shopping. As mentioned earlier, the downtown area of Mendocino is full of local shops and purveyors/artisans. We hopped into Oliver (our Subaru) and headed downtown. Throughout you’ll find links to a couple of my favorite spots to be bookmarked, if you make it up this way!

DOWNTOWN

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Yes, there is a whole section about jam. This jam store truly has the best jam in the entire world. To admit a secret, it’s one of the reasons I drove up here in the first place. Ryan, my best friend Kara, and myself, stumbled upon this place on our last trip up north. Located on the very last corner of one of the main roads in town and a giant cliff, this local jam spot creates small batches of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and boysenberry jams. If you do not take anything else from this blog, make a mental note of this place. You can find them here. There is nothing better than contributing to a local economy. Do yourself a favor and buy some damn jam :).  Also, they have the cutest building ever.

Other Links: 

Garden Bakery of Mendocino

MacCallum House Inn, Mendocino – B&B

JAM (Yes, there’s a whole section about jam.)

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Checkout these wildflowers, absolutely stunning.

As our trip came to a close, the pup and I meandered a bit more, making our way through the small streets of town. Some random photos to follow capture the essence of this magical place. From the tiny well kept homes to the native bees, Mendocino has made a special impact on the way I see the world. California, you’re beautiful.

MEANDER

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With one last stop for a coffee at the Goodlife Cafe & Bakery, we were off and headed home. Until next time Mendocino, keep being beautiful. Also, yes, that red building is a grocery store. How?! So beautiful. What a good day to be alive. Thanks Jack for being my sidekick.

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For more information, any other recommendations, or to collaborate on any photos/projects/day trips please DM on instagram or find me at joecalasci@gmail.com

As always, thanks for reading.

Travel on.

Half Moon Bay

We traveled to Half Moon Bay yesterday. Day-trip guide, great food suggestions, and places you must see.

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places to be in the world when it’s sunny outside. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge teeming as the Pacific shines on it as it reflects the sun or the scent of the faintly cedar-like air that has been released from the grips of Carl the Fog to set itself free on the people that live in this beautiful place. These are just a couple of the reasons that living in the most expensive city in the United States can be justified. Yesterday was one of those days.

Ryan and I decided to get up, grab ourselves a Phil’s Coffee (Philtered Soul with a tad of Almond Milk), and head down to Half Moon Bay. This beautiful scape of land sits about one hour south of the city, although only about 35 miles away…thank you Bay Area traffic! Half Moon Bay for those of you who are reading this from other places (thanks for reading) other than California has a couple of claims to fame. Harold and Maude, and Rumor Has It (great Rom-com) were both filmed there, and one of the most beautiful Ritz-Carlton’s sits on the magnificent bluffs. Just north of HMB sits Pacifica, CA, as well as, many state parks including McKnee Ranch State Park (you can literally hike adjacent to the Pacific Coast Highway), remarkable beaches including Moss Beach, Dunes Beach, and HMB State Beach, and too many cute roadside stores to count.

As this is a food blog, I have to say that the highlight of the day was our meal at Cafe Capistrano in the Downtown area right off of Church St. This place has been ranked on the Michelin Guide for 2017, and deserves every piece of praise it’s received. From the outside, it looks like a small, craftsman style home that’s been painted a bright yellow. As guests continue through the doors into the interior, the inside is cozy, warm, and an immediate feeling of ‘home’ is felt. This little joint is run by a Mayan family from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and truly put their love into our meal. Ryan and I both ordered the fish tacos, a crowd favorite, and boy were we happy with the results! The plate came full with guacamole, homemade picante, rice, beans, veggies, and beautiful piece of white fish (my guess was snapper). The dish comes with a side of fresh homemade tortillas and homemade hot sauce. If there is one thing that I’ll pay for any day, it’s good, authentic, Mexican food. I’ve never had any Mexican that told such a unique story, was true to itself, and created a feeling of home, quite like this place. (see photo of food below)

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Anyways…Half Moon Bay was such a treat. I’ve attached a couple of photos of other spots we hit up while we were walking downtown, as well as, suggestions for shopping in the area. Ry was able to find an awesome plant for our home and I found plenty of free cheese to sample.

Best Shopping: 

Garden Apothecary, 329 Main St.

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Abode, 417 Main St. Half Moon Bay, CA

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Favorite Beach: 

Dunes Beach, Young Ave. Half Moon Bay, CA

Favorite Bakery & Coffee: 

Granola’s Coffee House, 116 N. Cabrillo Highway, HMB, CA

Breweries to come back to: 

Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen , 73 Main St.  (The food here looked amazing.)

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.

Eats to try next time: 

Sam’s Chowder House (Very Famous … the line was piling up down the PCH)

Flying Fish Bar & Grill (Fish sammie and tacos…also they have crab cake cheesy bread…)

Other HMB Travel Guides

Huffington Post

Sunset

Trip Advisor

Happy Monday and Happy Traveling.

Cheers,

Joe