Mendocino County has 107 wineries and more than 17,000 acres of vineyards, but it draws visitors for other pleasures like giant redwoods, Dungeness crab, wild chanterelle mushrooms, an exhilarating rocky coast and, yes, marijuana cultivation. Mendocino is laid-back, to say the least. A two-plus hour drive north of San Francisco through Sonoma County, traffic is practically nonexistent except for logging trucks. Tasting rooms and restaurants are rarely crowded, but lodging options are scarce except on the coast near the New England-esque town of Mendocino. Ukiah, in the warmer, drier inland valley along Highway 101, is the biggest city, with a whopping population of 16,000. Since 95 percent of the land in Mendocino County is rolling or mountainous, it offers plenty of bends in the road to explore.
Where to Stay
Anderson Valley’s most pampering hotel is The Madrones near Philo, which has the feel of an Italian villa and underwent a recent expansion by owner-designer Jim Roberts.