Cozy, outdoorsy weekend getaway in Mendocino, CA

Last weekend was basically pure happiness. Joe and I wanted to do something special together before my 2-week solo trip to Kenya (leaving this Friday!), and so we somewhat spontaneously booked a weekend trip to Mendocino, a small coastal town 4 hours north of SF. We ended up having the most relaxing, refreshing few days with the perfect combination of outdoorsy activity while also being lazy and treating ourselves.

Friday: Drive up + first Italian dinner + cozy night in

We both left work early on Friday to start the drive up to Mendocino. The car ride flew by as we had gorgeous golden-hour views of wine country and had much anticipation for the weekend.

3.5 hours later (Joe is quite the speeder :P), we checked into our awesome, cozy Airbnb, with Japanese-styled furniture and AMAZING amenities like a jacuzzi and heated floors. It was a treat to splurge on accommodation for the first time in a while 😉

Being a very tiny town (I’m talking 2 streets tiny), Mendocino only had a handful of options for dinner. We went to the most recommend one, a rustic Italian restaurant with hand-made pasta. It turned out to be the BEST food I had in a while! We splurged on wine and 3 courses including our own desserts – I was a happy gal 🙂

The evening ended with a relaxing movie night in our Airbnb.

Saturday: Muffin delivery + foggy, mossy hike + first time canoeing + second Italian dinner

We woke up on the early side on Saturday to a nice treat from our host – a basket of muffins at our doorstep! Joe brewed some coffee and we enjoyed our breakfast on the balcony. Perfection.

It was a cloudy, foggy morning, and we ran with the gloomy vibes and did a hike inland at Russian Gulch State Park. The park had a series of easy long trails covered in moss and fern – the whole park had a very Pacific North West vibe which Joe especially loved.

Having a little too much fun with Joe as my photographer 😉

The big finale of the hike was a waterfall at the very end. We had it all to ourselves!

After our hike, we worked up quite the appetite, and the sun came out just in time (I was secretly very happy that the whole weekend wasn’t going to be under the clouds). We went back into town and the quaintness really popped during the day. The whole town was filled with small business owners and vendors and cute cafes – it had a New England meets Portland vibe.

We grabbed a quick lunch and were back on the move again. Our afternoon activity was quite special…after hearing that canoeing was a popular activity in Mendocino, we rented one and spent some time chillaxing on the river. It was my first time canoeing and a real treat!

The views were to die for…tall trees surrounding us on the blue water and cute animals/birds left and right. And the best part, our genuine heart-to-heart conversations and just the two of us out there. ❤

Joe carried the weight on the way back (and by that I mean I completely stopped paddling :P). He is really the best ❤

We were pretty pooped after a full day of hiking and canoeing. We took a break at our cabin for a few hours, relaxing in the jacuzzi and taking a nap. By dinner time, we were scratching our heads on places to go and figured why not go back to the Italian place we loved? We only had two nights of vacation and didn’t want to chance it with a crappy spot!

The wait was over an hour, which ended up flying by since we brought our own beers in anticipation of the wait (#ratchet). One of my favorite memories was sitting outside on the porch, sipping our drinks, people watching into the restaurant and nonstop laughing with each other 🙂

We ate slightly less for dinner this time since our stomachs were full on drinks. We ended the night at our apartment continuing the movie from last night at our cabin.

Sunday: lazy morning + coastal hike

It was bittersweet waking up to our final day in Mendocino. It was the most gorgeous, warm day, and we took our time waking up, sipping coffee on the balcony and enjoying the sun shining through the cabin.

After packing up and checking out, we set out for another hike along the coast of Mendocino, which is why most people visit this beautiful town. The trail was easy and flat, overlooking rocky cliffs and beaches. Every 50 feet there was another look-out point to “ooo” and “ahh”. We had no shortage of picture-perfect spots!

Joe is quite the photographer and very supportive of this blog – I loved our little photo shoots 🙂

After our hike, we were in no rush to get back to our lives in SF. We perused the small shops selling their hippie products, and enjoyed one last outdoor lunch and ice cream cone in town. Then it was time to head back home.

The whole weekend was brilliant. Joe and I reflected in the car ride how we traveled really well together and truly enjoyed each other’s company the entire time – we were always on the same page on what to do and balancing being active and relaxing…there is never a dull moment when we’re together. Very grateful for this special weekend getaway together ❤

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