A quiet day in the rain

A few thoughts on how to spend a rainy day in Mendocino

We just had some friends come up for an impromptu visit, and we had such a wonderful time relaxing with them that we thought we’d share our thoughts and experiences with you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a little inspiration for your next getaway on our lovely coast!

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First thing we shared with our friends was, of course, our cozily delightful Wine Hour dinner buffet – after all, shouldn’t every vacation start with great food and wine enjoyed with great company? We sipped a little bit of Panthea’s vibrant Siren Pinot Noir while stuffing our faces with the succulent Creamy Adobo Chicken and Garlicky Jasmine Rice that Chef Victor had prepared, silent stretches of happy eating interspersed with animated conversation as we caught up on anything and everything at all. Dimmed lights, flickering fire, and we moved on to glasses of Husch’s smooth and steady Mojo Red as the perfect accompaniment to our quickly mellowing mood. With the deep nighttime darkness that only comes when you’re out in the country, we all went to bed on the early side, lulled to sleep by the peaceful sounds of happy frogs, ocean waves, pattering raindrops, and breeze-tossed branches.

Some of us got up early the next morning for a quick run between rain drops up the trail winding along nearby Big River while the rest luxuriated in that most glorious of all vacation to-do’s, sleeping in. A leisurely breakfast followed by more than an hour of quiet conversation over steaming cups of Black Oak coffee while waiting for some showers to pass, and we eventually straggled out the door around 11:00. Ah. Perfect timing for a walk before the promised afternoon rain was scheduled to arrive. We drove the 4 ½ miles to the Point Cabrillo Light Station, then took our time strolling the ½ mile down to the light house. It was just too wonderful to go too fast – the crisp air fanning our faces was tangy with damp earth and salty ocean spray and was so invigorating that it made us want to throw back our heads and laugh for almost no reason. The glorious horizon of heaving waves was spread out before us, the bright red roof and intricate Fresnel lens of the light house a darling beacon of hope against the churning gray. Once out on the point, we scanned the water for whales, catching glimpse of a couple spouts off in the distance.

Time for lunch, we moseyed over to Good Life Café and Bakery in Mendocino, our favorite place to catch a casual lunch in town, as much for the ambience and food as for the people-watching you get to do when you manage to snag one of the window seats! This is especially true when it’s raining, and everyone is scurrying about like funny rabbits through the puddles. And of course the Masonic Hall across the street, which also houses the Savings Bank, sparked a lively discussion with our friends, as it never fails to do with its iconic and confusing statue titled “Father Time and the Maiden.”

Having decided to attend the 4:00 showing of a movie at the small-town Coast Cinemas up in Fort Bragg, we decided to avoid the rain and wile away some time browsing through the Gallery Bookshop, one of our all-time favorite hangouts. There’s just something about the whole place that makes us feel at home. Maybe it’s the slightly grumpy cat. Or the undemanding window seats that offer a place to rest while you softly peruse a few new reading possibilities. Or the warm comradery of genuine folks that truly want to share their love of books with any and all that walk through their doors. Whatever it is, we can pretty much never walk out of there empty handed… nor did we manage to do so this day!

The movie over, we indulged in another drawn out evening of food, wine, and conversation that slowly moved from the dining table to the couch by the fire. We eventually transitioned into pajamas, then snuggled back into our blankets by the cozy flames, this time with our newly acquired books in hand. It was so gloriously peaceful, sitting there companionably, reading a good book, not looking at the clock, totally ignoring the fact that tomorrow our friends would have to head out again and that we would have to finally tackle that growing list of chores we had been putting off. It was a moment of true mental and emotional refreshment while the gentle rain refreshed the world outside – just what the doctor ordered.

Written by Laura Hockett