When the weather won't cooperate
How to make the most of a rainy day in Mendocino
“What is this? Rain?” We peered out the window incredulously at the belated spring showers that were besprinkling this mid May morning. “What happened to the sunshine from last week?” We sighed as our plans to go on a hike up Van Damme State Park melted in the puddles outside. There had been such a glorious break from the winter wet and wind for the past several weeks, but here was the rain again. Ah well, we’d just have to claim this current bit of precipitation as permission to indulge in the most perfect of quiet days!
Having already finished our breakfast and gotten dressed, we cozied back down into the couch in front of the fireplace, intent on enjoying every gloriously relaxed minute of this day. We gazed at the flames as we sipped steaming mugs of tea and tucked our toes up under the blankets. As we laughed over a few stories from the day before, the rise and fall of our voices was punctuated by the raindrops that pattered on the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Great Room and the logs that popped and sizzled on the fire. Our conversation slowed as we sank lower into the couch cushions, lulled into drowsiness by the peaceful calm about us. …we may have even perhaps possibly taken a nap… just maybe.
Pulled out of our sleepiness by a faint rumble in our tummies, we stretched luxuriously and decided to make a dash for the car and the village of Mendocino. We pulled up to the Mendocino Café and hopped inside, ready to enjoy the reliably comfortable food this cozy little place continues to serve up year after year. The rain had put us in the mood for their Healing Bowl, a delightful soup that never fails to warm us down to our very toes, but it was a tough decision between that and their Ahi Tuna Salad, which is pretty much our favorite… in the end we decided to just get both and share.
After drawing out our meal to a leisurely end, we caught a break in the rain to head over to the Kelly House and mosey through their latest exhibit on the history of Mendocino. The docents that volunteer at this local house-museum are always ready to share some fun facts about those bygone days, and we were happy to chat with this day’s friendly face and avoid the rain outside. From there, we danced between showers to check out the wildflower exhibit at the Ford House Visitor Center, then we browsed through some of the Highlight & Prentice art galleries while the wind whipped up the waves in Mendocino Bay just outside the windows.
To finish things off, we pampered ourselves with an hour-long soak in one of the private redwood hot tubs at Sweewater Eco Spa. The old redwood of the barrel-sided tub was soft on our backs and legs. The rain had gentled out to a cool sprinkling on our foreheads. The water was toasty hot. The jets bubbled and boiled, sending up heavy steam into the chilly late afternoon air. All tension in our shoulders eased away. By the time the attendant rang the bell to signal the end of our hour, we felt utterly at rest.
We sauntered back to the inn just in time for Wine Hour, which was – as usual – delightful. The dishes cleared, we watched the grey evening sky darken to black over rich glasses of wine and Chef Victor’s decadent Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. We sighed in contentment, for despite (or perhaps because of) the rain we had managed to have what could quite practically be called a near perfect day. Maybe we’d top it off with a movie from the inn’s giant collection of DVD’s… or maybe we’d just continue the day’s restfulness with an early bed time…
For your own soaking session at Sweetwater, you will want to book a time slot ahead of time. We booked sort of last minute and were lucky to get the hour we wanted.
Written by Laura Hockett