Friday, July 19, 2013

california adventure road trip part one: mendocino and anderson valley

We started our road trip to California very early in the morning, like we usually do. We try to leave around 4am, so we pack the car pretty much completely (except for perishables) the night before. We put the kids in their seats, still in their pajamas, and drive as long as we can. Our first stop was in Arcata for lunch. We like to stop there, as it is a nice little town with a grassy town square, perfect for picnicking. They also have a good co-op and coffee and all of those good things. They also have a fun ice cream shop, although we didn't visit it this time. We also took a short little detour through the awesome little town of Ferndale, which is a tiny Victorian town up in the redwoods.

We continued down 101 until we got to our campground, which was in Mendocino. The spot where we camped was beautiful, but much too crowded for our tastes- we love backpacking camping in the middle of nowhere, not at designated campgrounds, so it was not the perfect spot. But we walked to the beach and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The next day we explored Mendocino and played at the beach. We stopped by side bakery window of Cafe Beaujolais for some delicious bread. We sat out in the garden and ended up eating the whole loaf, so we picked up another before we headed east.

We drove east into the Anderson Valley to our next campground. The drive was beautiful along the Navarro River. There were lots of places to pull off and swim the river. We couldn't find a great spot for the kids without backtracking, but our campground ended up being right by a wonderful swimming spot in the river so we headed over there. We dove in as the sun was setting, it was awesome. The next day we stopped by the Philo Apple Farm, and explored their orchards and bought some cider and dried apples from their farmstand. Their farm is part of what inspired me to visit the area in the first place, and it was a great combination of tourism, farming, and food. I wouldn't mind having a spot like that to call our own.

We headed into Boonville and checked out the hotel and shops and things. We ate a quick breakfast at Mosswood Market and then ate some yummy ice cream treats at Paysanne, which was adorable and incredibly charming. J stopped by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and did a little beer tasting.

I was so glad we got to visit this area on our trip. I had been wanting to visit these places for a long time and I am sure we will make a point to head back again. I would love to spend a little more time swimming in the river and hanging in the apple orchard.

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