Immaculately Restored 100-Year-Old Hotel on the Pacific, Anyone?

Elk’s Harbor House Inn is quiet, stately and open for business

By Diane Rommel

Immaculately Restored 100-Year-Old Hotel on the Pacific, Anyone?
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10 July 2018

The calendar says we’re halfway through summer (academic, not Gregorian).

Lucky for us, the warmest days of the season are still to come.

Which means there’s more than enough time for you to visit a newly renovated 100-year-old inn perched on the edge of the Pacific.

Built from old-growth redwood and proffering ocean views from all corners, the Harbor Inn Hotel is a postcard of Northern California if there ever was one.

And we’ve got plans for making an action-packed, exceedingly well-fed weekend of it.

to stay (3 images)

THE HOTEL
Take a peek inside the wood-paneled Harbor House Inn and you’ll be forgiven for thinking of coastal New England. It’s been standing since 1916 — and is thus aesthetically at odds with your typical mid-century oceanside California hotel. Of course, the main building material — redwood — is utterly West Coast, and in fact a testament to Elk’s early days as a logging town. Just something to consider as you relax in your corner suite, with its sweeping views of the ocean.

to eat (2 images)

WHERE TO EAT
You’ll likely want to start at the inn’s on-site restaurant, with its Pacific views and super-local vibe: the menu relies as much as possible on ingredients grown (and sourced, from the adjacent tidepools) on the premises. You’ll choose from the “full experience” (8-12 courses) and the “abbreviated experience” (6-8 courses). If that’s just slightly precious (or it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday, when the restaurant is closed), trundle into nearby Albion for hearty Mediterranean at the famous, bluffside Ledford House.

to do (2 images)

WHAT TO DO
Lounge. Relax. Stroll. Muse. Walk Greenwood State Beach. Stargaze. And if you need to burn off some aggression, grab a kayak and hit the water: Kayak Mendocino can take you on a tour of the coast’s sea caves, past harbor seals and around herons and cormorants. Kids are welcome, and the nature tour is only $60 for 90 minutes — a steal. If you’re looking for something slightly more advanced, consider the “kayak surfing” instruction, focusing on paddling through the surf zone.

to see (3 images)

WHAT TO SEE
Cooler, crisper Mendocino has a homegrown artisanal food scene that at its best can rival its neighbors to the south. Sample your way through the tasting room at Handley Cellar. Boonville’s a 40-minute drive, but once there, you can settle in for a sampling of the sheep and goat cheeses at Pennyroyal Farm. In Fort Bragg, A Sweet Affair offers a delectable sampling of French pastries, from standard macarons to the state’s best Paris-Brest — a dessert named for a cycling event, by the way — and more.

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