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Upscale and Affordable Dog-Friendly Lodging in Mendocino County

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Stella Behind Bars

Stella, the author’s Labrador Retriever

Don’t want to leave Fido at home, yet still looking for a nice place to stay with an oceanview? Checkout the Little River Inn and Fort Bragg’s Atrium Bed & Breakfast or the Surf Motel. Each dog-friendly location on Mendocino’s Pacific coast welcomes well-behaved pooches. The Little River Inn offers luxury, ocean-view rooms, ranging from $225-$290, plus a $25 pet fee, while Fort Bragg offers affordable rates within walking distance of several dog parks.

Having survived scenic Highway 128, with its many curves, both man and beast will appreciate the ocean air and setting foot on terra firma. Your dog will love the treats upon check-in at the Little River Inn and you will enjoy the freedom of not having to sneak your beloved into the hotel room. The inn offers a pet-friendly, grassy area on the property and provides resources such as Evergreen Barn, a self-serve pet wash facility and doggy daycare At Last Farm Dog Day Camp.


Eleven miles north, AAA-rated Surf Motel offers designated pet-friendly rooms from $49-$250, plus a $10 pet fee, for the budget-minded with a fenced, off-leash doggie play area. If you find yourself in Fort Bragg September 26-28, 2008, drop by the Huckleberry and Hound Festival for canine-related activities scattered throughout Fort Bragg.

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

Photo courtesy Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Located in the historic downtown district, The Atrium Bed & Breakfast is within walking distance of Fort Bragg’s Dog Park between South Lincoln and Willow. Three pet-friendly rooms rent for $115-$150, not including a $25 pet fee. Atrium Co-owner Gail Brodkey, along with her dog, Gracie, were involved in the push to create the local dog park. Stop by for yappy hour.

Insider Tip: Noyo Jetty Dog Park, an official off-leash dog beach, is a short drive away at the end of North Harbor Drive. Additionally, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers another dog-friendly venue, charging $10 per person. There is no charge for leashed pets.

Mendocino’s Eco-friendly Alegria Inn – Let It Flow

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Alegria Oceanfront Inn

Alegria Oceanfront Inn and Cottages

I arrived via Mini Cooper, my husband traveled by motorcycle.  We had decided to meet at Mendocino’s Cafe Beaujolais for a Sunday lunch.  Our feast began with nettle soup laced with truffle oil, followed with Dungeness crab cakes and the Beaujolais Benedict composed of apple wood ham, rye toast and perfectly poached eggs in a cayenne mornay sauce.  The gentleman next to us raved about the bouillabaisse, so we gave that a try, as well.

Beaujolais Bouillabaisse

Cafe Beaujolais Bouillabaisse

It had been fifteen years since our last visit to this seaside village on the Northern California Coast.  Originally owned by Margaret Fox, Cafe Beaujolais is now in the talented hands of Owner and Executive Chef David LaMonica and his wife Kristy, as well as Sous Chef Luis Lopez.  I’m happy to report that the cafe is in fine form and the housemade breads from the Brickery are as wonderful as I remembered.  The Austrian Sunflower bread, with its nutty texture, paired well with the nettle soup. 

After I checked into the Alegria Oceanfront Inn, I bid adieu to my husband and tripped around town.  I discovered the Gallery Bookshop on Main street and the tiny, but delicious Mendocino Chocolate Company with its factory store based in neighboring Fort Bragg.

Let It Flow

Upon my return to the Alegria I set up my laptop and enjoyed the view of Big River State Beach as it flows into the Pacific ocean.  From the Pacific Suite, one of only two rooms on the second floor of the main house, I could watch hummingbirds flit about the garden.  But what really got me excited was the queen FloBed.  This is the most comfortable bed that I have ever slept on, and I’ve slept around a lot!  Composed of organic cotton and Eco-wool, the mattress cover is naturally fire retardant.  What makes the FloBed unique is the multiple layers of natural latex, allowing for a custom mattress fit.

The 28-year-old FloBed company is based in Fort Bragg and still a small, family-run operation.  Owner and founder Dave Turner ran a water bed store during his college days and made flotation beds for JC Penny.  In creating the FloBed, Turner asked Latex International if they would make the layers half of their thickness.  “They thought I was crazy, but I had the idea that I could manipulate the layers to have different combinations of firmness,” reflects Turner.

Alegria owner’s Elaine and Eric Wing Hillesland would eventually like to have FloBeds in all the main house rooms, as well as the collection of unique cottages on the property.  For a slightly less expensive alternative, the Alegria Quartet is a Mendocino Craftsman-style house divided into four lodgings located across the street.  No matter where you land at Alegria, happiness, joy and merriment are sure to follow.