Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mendocino's Ultimate Eco-Resort

Stanford Inn by the Sea

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly + VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: Stanford Inn by the Sea, an eco resort on the Mendocino Coast
When: April 19–22, 2009
Why: To escape the city for a relaxing getaway

The Scoop: With a heat wave hitting San Francisco, we decided to run away. Off to Mendocino, 150 miles north of the Golden Gate, for a few days of one of the toughest assignments in journalism: Reporting to you live from inside the hot tub at Stanford Inn by the Sea.

The Stanford Inn. Ah. If you have never been here, I’ll describe it: Heavenly. Magical. Peaceful. Relaxing. Rustic luxury in spacious redwood-and-pine-paneled, wood-burning-fireplaced suites overlooking lush, certified-organic vegetable gardens beneath a panoramic Pacific Ocean view. And then there's the heated salt-water swimming pool nestled in a greenhouse solarium, the award-winning veg restaurant, The Ravens, all topped off with yoga, massage, canoes, and bicycles. The icing on this luxurious cake? The resident and visiting dogs and cats (the Stanford Inn is a pet-friendly establishment), and even a raccoon or two who freely roam welcomed and coexisting with their horse and llama friends.

We arrive in time for the afternoon hors d’oeuvres (3:30 pm daily), which just happen to be desserts from the day’s featured cookbook, VN columnist Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. After a customary stroll around the stately 10-acre resort, it’s time for pre-dinner relaxation in the solarium, tastefully appointed with a steamy-hot whirlpool, sauna, and the aforementioned pool, large enough for swimming short laps. And did I mention the blossoming banana trees? (Trivia alert: they are not really trees at all, but the world’s largest herb. You’ll learn all about bananas in the July+August VegNews.)

The Solarium Pool bathed in early morning fog

When you visit—and you must—be sure to attend a morning yoga session; both classes and private lessons are available. And book yourself a massage in the secluded cabin nestled amongst eucalyptus and redwoods on the forested eastern half of the property. If you are trying to work up an appetite, take a kayak or canoe out on the Big River, peddle a mountain bike along an old logging road (both available from the Inn’s Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too!), or hike the three-mile trail at Van Damme State Park, about two miles south of The Stanford Inn on historic Highway 1.

Joan and Jeff Stanford, the Inn proprietors, have created as perfect a getaway as can be imagined. One trip here will have you dreaming of returning and looking for reasons to do so. The Stanford Inn is truly an unforgettable place that, once experienced, never leaves you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Colleen. I officially hate you two now. :) Court & Ryan

Allison said...

Yay! We LOVE the Stanford. David and I had a glorious honeymoon there and they serve some of our chocolates as a welcome gift thanks to a certain someone. ;-) Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love you two?!?! Well, it's something like this (altho on a much larger scale):
( t h i s m u c h )

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, color me jealous!

Denise said...

Yes, this is the best place! We love the Stanford Inn and dining at Ravens is a real treat as well. Another highlight was paddling the canoes. Our kids had the best time! Thanks Joe and Colleen for turning us on to that place!