Moms & Mendocino: A Stay at Glendeven Inn & Lodge

To live in the Bay Area is to know that driving thirty minutes in legitimately any direction will plop you in some ludicrously beautiful location, likely involving a massive body of water, rolling hills, and some strategically placed cliffside flora.

This summer, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend completely removed from city reality and inserted in a quiet haven of Northern California variety. It was the perfect pause between July and August, between leaving one job and starting another; I thought about the people in my life and I thought of who I’d want to hole up with in a woodsy, coastal sanctuary devoid of any responsibility. I thought maybe Chris Hemsworth or Timothee Chalamet would be pretty sweet options. But that being off the table, I thought of my mom.

I always considered my mother to be my very own personal slower-talking Lorelei Gilmore. And I, her slightly moodier, more ridiculous Rory. Thick as thieves, there was a point I considered myself to be more my mother than I was myself. Perhaps there is a juncture in all our lives when we are comprised of more of the things our parents have imparted in us than anything we’ve learned on our own accord. But the thing about growing up and the this about having a great parent is, you eventually become your own person. And I’ve recently found that weirdly enough, as I get further into my twenties I’m learning how to be a much better, more supportive friend, and yet in other ways a crappier, more absent excuse of a daughter. I live a bridge away and see my mother barely more than once a quarter. There’s a painful pride I’m sure my mom feels about this truth. She’s not exactly quiet about how she misses my sister and myself. 

One thing about mothers is, they don’t feign coyness or put on airs. I didn’t have to wait long for a downright gleeful response, just like I didn’t have to be embarrassed when I called her sometimes six times a day in college. Moms, much like Mendocino itself, are a salt-of-the-earth type of good. We embarked on a wholesome mother-daughter mini adventure. Here’s how it went. 


Lumber Town 



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The Glendeven Inn and Lodge is located off to 101, about five minutes before the main post of Mendocino City. The drive there is gorgeous. If driving from the city, you’ll cross over the GGB and through wine country, eventually twisting and turning yourself into crumbly, imposing coastline. The final fifty-five minutes of the car ride induce the kind of driving where one must brace one’s arms against the driver’s side door and engage one’s abdominals in order to succeed in careening around the hairpin turns. My mother does not do this type of driving. So it was me, bleary eyed and hyper focused, taking each turn like the Indy 500. 

What is now the Glendeven Inn began as a simple, well built farmhouse in Little River, Mendocino County. Erected by a man named Isaiah Stevens, he like many others at the time (1860s) soon realized there was little gold to be had in the wilderness of Mendocino, but there was plenty of lumber. Hailing from Maine and very keen when it came to the logging trade, the local economy took off with the Albion Lumber company and the Stevens Family settled into their lush, forested home. Throw in a land grant from President Andrew Johnson and some Grade-A western spirit, the expanse of the Glendeven property grew into a highly functioning mill. Thanks to Stevens’ daughter Etta and her extensive diaries (women—we really have a knack for remembering things), the history of Little River is documented for all time. And you can read up on it while cozied up in Etta’s room; her diary is there for your perusal. 


Feeding Chickens and Stoking Fires 



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Unlike the overly-done bed and breakfasts and hotels so often found in beautiful places, Glendeven is different. The buildings support, but do not upstage or compete with the land. You can see peeks of the coast from most rooms, along with the lush green that fills every square inch of the property. 

The storied acreage of Glendeven land is home to not only the historic inn and newly renovated lodge buildings, but also an edible garden, a wonderfully well-tended, large chicken coop, a llama pasture, a spa, and various patios, cozy meeting areas, and hiking trails to explore. The balance between natural, scenic wonder and high-end, comforting amenities is on the nose; guests are left wanting for nothing, yet without being inundated with needless niceties. 

Upon checking into our room in the lodge, fresh baked cookies, biscotti, flowers, and chicken feed awaited us. Chicken feed—for the chickens, of course. It’s touches like this that make you know this place is special. Something about having twenty chickens scurry over to me as I fed them from my hands made me feel very Annie Oakley. That, and building a fire in a real fireplace was a treat. 


Sampling the Town 



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For being such a petite and unassuming coastal town, the culinary scene packs an incredible punch. If you wanted to, you really could eat your way across this place. My mother and I were a bit ravenous after the twisty-turns of our three and a half hour car ride, so we high-tailed it to Patterson’s, an outrageously authentic Irish pub. They even had Magners cider on tap, and my mom was appreciative of the Irish-sized pours of wine doled out by a high spirited, incredibly senior yet ridiculously efficient bartender. Needless to say, Patterson’s Pub is the real deal.

We were really on vacation, if only for twenty four hours or so. Therefore we weren’t ashamed to let the wine flow and the food abound. Back at the lodge, complimentary wine is served to guests either at the Wine Bar(n) or historic Farmhouse. At the former, views of the garden and patio. At the latter, views of the lavender and llama pasture. Pick your sweet poison. 

Per the lodge’s recommendation, we dined (again!) at Luna Trattoria in the evening, a special little pasta joint that looks perfectly unchanged since perhaps the late 1970s. Warm focaccia, fresh bruschetta, and Primitivo ushered us into our hearty pasta plates. A soundtrack of The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and the The BeeGees had me wondering whether the hostess had actually slipped my mom the AUX cord. She danced in her seat and I caught her up on the thrilling tribulations of being twenty-four, happily/miserably single, and terrified/in love with your life. 


Morning Stroll



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Because of the fact that you’re walking with wilderness all the time in Mendocino, it is easy to fit an outdoor excursion into your stay, even if you only have twenty four hours to pack in your full itinerary. Steps away from Glendeven’s main building are multiple trailheads. The easiest of these is a grassy twenty minute jaunt out to a cliffside overlook. I highly recommend this activity after enjoying breakfast, which the Glendeven staff delivers directly to your door in reusable glass jars. Eggs from their chicken coop, fresh fruit, homemade scones, yogurt and granola, hot coffee out of a reusable flask. Are you sold yet? Minimal carbon footprint here. 

For those seeking a wilder outdoor adventure, something a step above a morning hike, there’s no reason to look very far. Just a five minute drive down Highway 1 you’ll find both ocean kayaking and river canoeing, along with horseback riding and outdoor yoga (bookable directly through Glendeven Inn). 

End your active day of doing things with a jaunt to nearby Albion (five miles south) or Fort Bragg (six miles north) for a bit more sightseeing and dining. Waiting back at the inn will be a toasty fireplace and views of the Pacific as spooky, beautiful fog rolls in across the water. 

These are just a few reasons to get out there. On your next spare weekend, or if ever you find the bravery to pull a Ferris Bueller and peace out of your work life for the day, cruise up the North Coast with someone that loves you. Book a room at the Glendeven. Feed the chickens, pet the llamas. And take your mom to Mendocino.

// Glendeven Inn & Lodge is located at 8205 N. Hwy 1, Little River, Mendocino County. Learn more and book rooms at Glendeven.com and share your stories by tagging #BobCutMag; photography by Isabella Welch.


Moms & Mendocino: A Stay at Glendeven Inn & Lodge
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