Looking for coastal cozy? Think Mendocino in December. Long beach walks, warmed toes in front of wood-burning fireplaces (abundant in this town) and locally produced wine just might be the antidote to holiday craziness. With a little more than three hours’ travel time to get to this historic logging town, the journey through wine country or up the coast is also part of the experience. And once you arrive, get into the spirit of the season with the annual Festival of Lights, held at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens every weekend through December 20. Here are just some of the town’s other attractions.
HIGHLIGHTS Mendocino Village is the only coastal town in the state to be designated as a historical landmark, which happened when California joined the Union in 1850. Stay in a historic home-turned-inn like MacCallum House, or walk the streets and catch the docent-led tours every Saturday at 11 a.m. starting from the Kelley House Museum. maccallumhouse.com, kelleyhousemuseum.org
NEW Located in the heart of the village on Kasten Street, the Trillium Cafe and Inn has already been recognized by the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Magazine as a not-to-miss dining spot. High on the list of popular dishes is the seasonal Dungeness crab–stuffed phyllo with Meyer lemon preserves, perfect with a glass of locally produced wine. trilliummendocino.com
DETAILS Lodgings range from quaint to luxe and, compared to many other locations, won’t break the bank. The high-end historic farm and eco resort Stanford Inn, half a mile south of the village on the bluff, starts at $250, while the Didjeridoo Dreamtime Inn, also a great choice, has rooms for under $100. stanfordinn.com, didjeridooinn.com