Last week, the final touches were put on the renovation of our 2 loft rooms. After 7 months of work, all 10 rooms at the inn have been renovated from top to bottom. Each room now has new carpeting, eco-spec paint, closets, lighted makeup mirrors, 700 gram organic cotton towels, Sferra bed linens imported from Italy, iHome clock radios and flat-panel televisions with DVD players. A much-needed ventilation system has been installed in our loft rooms; and the jacuzzi/soaking tubs in Manzanita, Pine, Madrone and Raven have been wrapped in travertine and glass.
Wi-fi service has now been pulled throughout the inn and extended to our rear deck area. A guest computer has been installed in the lobby so that guests can access e-mail, print boarding passes, and visit websites for local vineyards, restaurants and other area attractions. And recognizing that we are in a “cell hole” here with no service available, guests may now make complimentary local and long distance calls from their rooms.
An ever-expanding DVD collection accessible to guests in our lobby area currently contains 300 contemporary, classic and foreign titles. Beneath that collection also can be found a large assortment of games.
Renovations to the grounds of the inn have included the installation of new landscaping at the entrance and new furniture on the deck overlooking the Pacific.
It has been a very busy 7 months!
One of the great things about living in a town like Mendocino is getting to know the people that make this place special. One of those people, and someone that has taken me under her wing since I arrived here last July, is Sallie McConnell.
Sallie left her career in New York’s fashion industry 20 years ago to move to Mendocino. For the next seven years, she ran Agate Cove Inn in the north part of town before opening what has become a Mendocino institution, Sallie Mac.
Featuring a wide range of gifts and home accessories from the European countryside, Sallie Mac has enabled its owner to combine her intuitive sense of style with her love of people. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and frequented just as often by locals as by visitors, Sallie Mac has become a true touchstone for the community. No visit to Mendocino can be considered complete without a stop at Sallie Mac to browse their selection and meet the proprietor.
Today we started the process of removing 40+ Bishop pines that have been ravaged by the Western Bark Beetle. These trees will be slowly removed over the next two years and replaced with other native trees that are resistant to this pest. It has been interesting watching the logger scale the two trees we are taking down today, remove the branches and carefully fall them.
Just south of Mendocino lies the Big River. It was down this river, in the mid-1800s, that the timber used to build the Brewery Gulch Inn was floated. Today, thanks to an unprecedented community effort in 2002 that generated over $ 25 million in private and public funds, 7,334 acres of the Big River estuary and surrounding forestland have been purchased and are now permanently protected. Over 22 species of fish and 131 species of birds can be found here.
Catch-A-Canoe and Kayak Too is a great place to gear up for exploring the Big River. Here, it is possible to rent single person kayaks, tandem kayaks, as well as outrigger canoes built from local redwood. A Class 1 river, Big River is well-suited for novice paddlers and provides a great way to interact with nature on the most elemental level.
I took a friend’s son, Patrick, with me on this adventure. We had a great time paddling about 3 miles up river. Along the way, we found a harbor seal sunning on a sand spit and a family of three otters that were as curious about us as we were about them. Hawks soared overhead, ducks took off and landed along the way, and fish occasionally broke the surface.