Getaway Weekend: Mendocino County

Monday, July 8, 2013

A few months ago, two of my very favorite people came to visit from Boston. It just so happened to be my birthday, so we decided to gather a couple more of my favorite people and make an occasion out of it! We packed up the cars and drove up the infamous Route 1, heading to Manchester, CA where we had rented a quaint and lovely beach home through AirBnB.

As usual the coastal drive was beautiful, and we stopped along the way to show our guests the shocking and colorful cliff views that Northern CA offers.

We spent every morning on the deck, snuggled up with blankets on the adirondacks drinking coffee, watching birds and families of deer as we listened to the ocean crash. Just down the road was a pathway to Irish Beach, which we had all to ourselves. On our first day we visited the beach to play and explore before heading home for a makeshift dinner (warning: you won't find open grocery stores at 8pm anywhere near Manchester, CA!), and an evening of wine and board games.

Early on April 19th, my birthday, we decided we'd visit the ocean again and trek up to the adorable town of Mendocino for some sightseeing and dinner...but the day was bittersweet, and definitely one of my most memorable birthdays yet. Back in Boston our city was in the middle of a crisis, and our friends' and families' lives were in disarray as everyone waited on the edge of their seats for the marathon-bomber "bad guys" to be caught after four days of held breaths.

It felt surreal to be safe and sound in this idyllic paradise while we listened intently to the news and tried to picture what was happening only blocks from my sister's apartment in Watertown, MA. We felt nervous together, but also safe, and guilty for feeling safe when so many at home weren't enjoying that luxury. And I felt extra guilty, both for enjoying myself in Mendocino while the drama occurred at home, and for secretly wishing that the whole climax and finale could have happened the day before or the day after my birthday.

We kept our day moving, visiting the lighthouse and finding beach treasures, as we checked in with the radio and with our family and friends. And finally as we made it into Mendocino, just before reluctantly leaving the car (and with it the radio), we heard the good news that everyone had been waiting for - that the suspect was alive and under arrest, and that officers and neighbors were safe. We celebrated both occasions in town before heading back to our comfy beach house for more news radio interspersed with games and star gazing.

The next day we enjoyed one last day in this gorgeous part of the state, exploring redwoods, discovering terrifyingly huge slugs, and tasting (beer, wine & pizza) our way down Route 128 in the Anderson Valley. This part of wine country has a laid back vibe, often offering free tastings (unlike what you'll find in Napa) and sommeliers who have the time to talk to you about the wine and the surrounding area. We sipped and swirled and made our way south, concluding with the most amazing pizza at Diavola in Geyserville.

It was such an amazing weekend of exploring with friends, and Boston is all the stronger because of the events that week. I'm so thankful for my friends who joined me for this memorable weekend!

Happy Monday, everyone!!

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