Sur­pris­ing Cities

Travel Guide to California - - CONTENTS -


The com­bi­na­tion of Vic­to­rian and New Eng­land-style wood frame homes and the set­ting on the bluffs at the mouth of the Big River is what put the town of Men­do­cino, above, on the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. Stroll its lanes and breathe the sea air and you won’t want to leave.

Cal­i­for­nia’s golden cities—los

An­ge­les, San Fran­cisco, San Diego—are cel­e­brated around the world, and rightly so. But the Golden State boasts an en­gag­ing range of things to see and do in less-well-known lo­cales, as well. In cities rang­ing in size from 900 in­hab­i­tants to nearly 500,000, a sur­pris­ing, eclec­tic menu of food and drink, art and ar­chi­tec­ture, his­tory and sports is avail­able to vis­i­tors.

MEN­DO­CINO: Vic­to­rian Won­der­land

Claim­ing pride of place in hope­lessly beau­ti­ful Men­do­cino County, the town of Men­do­cino is one of the best-loved des­ti­na­tions on Cal­i­for­nia’s North Coast. The vil­lage of 900 peo­ple 130 miles north of San Fran­cisco is stocked with his­toric B&BS, her­itage ho­tels, cloth­ing shops, art gal­leries and deeply de­li­cious, lo­cally owned restau­rants. Set­tled in the mid-19th cen­tury by west­wardho New Eng­lan­ders, Por­tuguese fish­ers and Chi­nese im­mi­grants, Men­do­cino boomed as a lum­ber town. It re­vived with mid-20th cen­tury back-to-the-lan­ders and vis­it­ing trav­el­ers. Most of the town of Vic­to­rian cot­tages and re­stored wood-frame houses is listed on the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places. The vil­lage is sit­u­ated on the bluffs of the Men­do­cino Head­lands with splen­did views of the Pa­cific Ocean and a net­work of pub­lic trails. The Men­do­cino Mu­sic Fes­ti­val is held in July, while the Men­do­cino Mush­room, Wine and Beer Fes­ti­val takes place in Novem­ber. A pleas­ant drive north on Cal­i­for­nia Route 1 takes vis­i­tors to the teem­ing tide pools, hik­ing and camp­ing of Rus­sian Gulch State Park.

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