5 Year Wedding Anniversary Trip: Fort Bragg & Mendocino, California

For our 5 year wedding anniversary we wanted to go somewhere that wasn't too crowded and was easy to get to, so up north we decided to go. Adam and I loved that Fort Bragg was only about a two hour and twenty minute drive from Santa Rosa, so it was close enough for a little getaway. We drove on the more scenic route off of CA-128 W. Just so you know, the roads do get kind of windy but you'll be driving through beautiful redwoods and see the coast. You can also take US-101 N and eventually get on State Hwy 20 W. Either way it's a pretty easy and beautiful drive. 

We made a pit stop at family owned Gowan's Oak Tree Fruit Stand in Philo, CA for a bathroom break. Adam wanted me to check it out as he had fond memories of stopping by there in his childhood. If you do stop by make sure to buy their homemade apple cider because it is absolutely refreshing. They also sell a lot of fruits such as pears, peaches, berries, apples, and more. If I'm not mistaken they also sell apple cider popsicles which I will be trying next time.

We stayed at North Cliff Hotel in Fort Bragg, CA and 10/10 would stay there again. We booked the King Spa Tub Room through www.booking.com and had a lovely balcony to watch the boats and to listen to the fog horn. Oh and we can't forget about the spa tub. That was one of the highlights! By the way if you're sensitive to noise while sleeping, the hotel does provide a fan for the room and closing the windows does help block out the noise too. The hotel doesn't have AC but the temperature was comfortable. I don't know what it's like other times of the year but during early August it was perfect.

After we had settled into our hotel, we thought about where we would like to eat and couldn't make up our minds. We decided to drive to Main Street Mendocino which is about 12 - 15 minutes away from our hotel. We ended up at Frankie's and ordered a pepperoni pineapple pizza as well as their organic green salad. The raisins in our salad were so delicious and now I want to throw raisins in all my salads. Frankie's also have gluten free options and is made fresh with organic ingredients. They also offered Cowlick's Ice Cream which is apparently popular but I have yet to try. Maybe next time! 

We took a stroll around Main Street and there's a ton of cute and touristy shops. Also to note, a lot of the stores close at 5:00pm but that's alright because there's so many areas to explore such as Glass Beach, Noyo Headlands Park (which is right next to our hotel), The Skunk Train and Rail Bikes, Pudding Creek Beach, Pomo Bluffs park, and so much more. We decided to check out Glass Beach to watch the sunset and then end our first night by stopping by Safeway and Harvest market to pick up some snacks and then of course spa tub while watching random movies on SyFy, playing some games, and reading my kindle.

Our second day we picked up our grab and go breakfast from the hotel and got ready to go to the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. Fun tip, if you stay at North Cliff hotel you can purchase discounted tickets at the front desk for the gardens. So that was a nice surprise and yet another reason to stay there. Visiting the gardens was one of my favorites. It's a lovely place to go on a great nature walk and it goes out to the coast as well. When you're done you can check out their cafe area for some food and their nursery to purchase plants. We decided to skip the cafe and go to the Noyo Harbor by the river to pick up food from Princess Seafood. Adam ordered the Taco Salad and I ordered a Clam Chowder (of course!). It was DELICIOUS! I also have to add that Mendocino and Fort Bragg seems to be very dog friendly so if you plan on bringing your fur baby, it's the area to do so.

And then we knocked out for a nap. When we woke up we wanted to check out Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Museum which includes a gift shop and a Marine Science Exhibit nearby. We didn't realize that we would be going on a semi decent walk to get to the lighthouse so our legs were already tired from our garden and coast walk. Other than that, it was still pretty cool and quite foggy.

 Later on in the evening we decided to check out Fog Eater Cafe in Mendocino for their southern style plant based food. And OH MY GOODNESS it is by far one of the BEST spots to eat. Not only are the owners super sweet but the cafe has a cute, vibrant, and cozy vibe. We decided to be seated at their outdoor area and it was lit up with some lights, a heating lamp, and little cafe styled tables. Definitely a nice spot for a casual romantic dinner. We ordered the Jambalaya, Southern Plate, and beignets with a side of chocolate coffee dipping sauce and I am still drooling thinking about it. The restaurant's pricing is a bit on the higher side but it is worth it. If they were located in Sonoma County, my wallet would absolutely hate me. 

We ended our evening by watching more Syfy and gazing out at the beautiful view from our relaxing spa tub. đź’–

On our last day we went to the Kelly House Museum, The Ford House Museum, as well as walked around Main Street a bit more and checked out a few thrift stores. If you would like to learn the history of the area I'd highly recommend checking out the museums. They have very knowledgeable tour guides available and they're neat to look at it. There's also The Guest House Museum but we forgot to go there this time around which is an excuse for us to come back again. 

 I hope you enjoyed my post and please do add Fort Bragg as well as Mendocino CA to your list of places to visit. 


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