I started my search for an inn in 2006. Over a little more than a year, I looked at 29 different properties from the northeastern-most part of the U.S., all the way down to the southwestern corner. After 12 months, I had started to think I was pretty pathetic because I couldn’t find one that felt right. But then I found Brewery Gulch up here in Mendocino and I realized that finding the right inn was like choosing a college. A number of places met the criteria I had listed, but none felt right. When I walked in the door at Brewery Gulch, I knew this was the place I had been searching for. I liked the location (on a bluff, surrounded by pine and fir, overlooking the ocean); I liked the architecture (a clean arts and crafts style lodge fashioned from eco-salvaged, old growth redwood); I liked the staff (an amazing general manager, a great chef, a dedicated maintenance guy, a great group of front desk staff and the nicest housekeepers); and I loved the community of Mendocino.
Moving from a city of 2,000,000 people to a town of 1,000 wasn’t as challenging as I had imagined. Sure, the nearest Home Depot or Target is more than 2 hours away; but the ocean and the redwoods are just a stone’s throw from my front door. I don’t have to worry anymore if I need to run to the store at 5:00 that there will be gridlock traffic, or that a parking space in town will be hard to find. And it’s nice to run into people you know every day everywhere you go. I guess the experience that best sums up what life in Mendocino is like took place at the DMV. I had applied for some new license plates for my car (ones with the name of the inn on them) and when they arrived, the DMV took the time to call me on my cell phone to tell me they had come in. I went in to pick them up and there was no line. Not only was there no line, but the clerk had me pull up a chair and chat for a while. I can’t remember ever having an experience like that in any DMV office before.
Every morning, I wake up and realize how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful part of the country and to be working in such a rewarding field. I hope that through this blog, I can share some of my experiences with you.