Mendocino County has a great reputation as a destination that welcomes not only people but also their pets. While many inns and properties give a paws-up to our four-legged friends, a number of them also have their own animal ambassadors ready to give a cluck, bleat or hum to greet guests.
Tucked away on five acres just north of Dark Gulch on the coast of Mendocino County, the Andiron Seaside Inn & Cabins offers a stay like no other! The eleven whimsically named cabins that dot the pastoral property are replete with salvaged and rehabbed retro furnishings and fixtures that reflect the style and interests of Mr. and Mrs. Andiron (that’s Scott and Madeline). Spend a stay playing music on the porch, taking a peek through vintage binoculars in search of whales and other sea critters, or trying your hand at archery in the meadow. Of course, you’ll want to spend some time admiring the chickens and a very special trinity of goats: Peanut Butter, Sugar and Cocoa. Bring Fido and his friends as well… the Andiron is just the place for a canine romp.
Little River is home to the eponymous Little River Inn, a property now run by Cally and Marc Dym, fifth-generation innkeepers. Set on hundreds of acres that rise from sea-level to the nine-hole golf course that occupies the eastern portion of the property, the Inn is a spectacular spot for a getaway for the entire family… pets included! From the beach to the pygmy forest of Van Damme State Park to Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, this place is made for relaxation and recharging. On your strolls around the property, watch for the “Holy Goats,” a wandering tribe of goats that keep the Inn’s wayward bushes and blackberry patches neatly trimmed. Believe it or not, goats have to be “trained” to eat everything and they have been learning their trade while enjoying the ocean view! The Holy Goats are a project of the historic Presbyterian Church in Mendocino.
Just across Little River on the road to Mendocino lie the Glendeven properties: the Glendeven Inn & Lodge and the Inn at Cobbler’s Walk. Supremely situated with adjacency to Van Damme State Park and Spring Ranch and abundant ocean views, the inns and lodge provide an overnight experience for every taste. Furnished with light from the many windows, the newly opened lodge has a European sensibility that’s echoed in the muted furnishings and pine accoutrements. The 15-acre farmstead boasts a kitchen garden, chickens that provide the eggs for the delicious in-room breakfasts, and… wait for it… a team of four very friendly llamas! Your room comes complete with a bag of chicken feed so head on down and be the “chicken whisperer” till it runs out! Join the inn staff to feed the llamas in the morning or evening or step into the pasture to visit them (be sure to close the gates). There’s Mama Llama, Pearl, and Dolly (get it… Dolly Llama) who’s the boss! PJ, or Pajama Llama, is Dolly’s son, born on the property in December 2008.
Perched on a hillside above the vista of Big River Estuary and Mendocino Bay, the Stanford Inn is a haven for animal-lovers and their critters. The Inn welcomes animals of all stripes (except, perhaps, skunks) with treats and the opportunity to dine with their humans. The certified organic gardens provide food for Ravens, the Inn’s restaurant that serves plant-based gourmet cuisine. While away your visit with a swim, massage, a paddle up Big River with Catch A Canoe, and a visit to the many rescued ambassadors that make the Inn their home. Scooter, a former barrel racer, and Storm (a pinto) graze in proximity to rescue donkeys Monique and Noel. In the next pasture a herd of llamas, all born in 2005, dream of the Andes and, with names like Larry, Moe and Curly, imagine themselves starring in their own Three Stooges movie! Snowflake the watch goose keeps guard over all, while inside, BK (a/k/a Black Kitty) dozes, sight unseen, and Black and White Kitty hangs out with Parker, the owners’ dog.
Not only can you visit llamas in Fort Bragg, you can take them out for a trek! Stay at one of Lodging & Llamas four properties or just give them a call to reserve a llama trek. Hike along the ocean bluffs with your own special llama friend or take a turn through the redwoods, tucked away deep in the forest to the east of Fort Bragg. These llama treks are great fun for the entire family!
At the bottom end of the county, in beautiful Anchor Bay, the Cottages at Mar Vista are a true delight where hosts and owners Renata and Tom Dorn have created an idyll for humans and animals alike. The 12 cottages were originally built in the 1930s and rented to fishermen in search of salmon and steelhead. A decade or two later, the then-owners upgraded the accommodations for vacationing families. Scheduled to be demolished in 2000, Tom and Renata refurbished the cottages and brought chickens, other farm animals and a garden back to Mar Vista. Today, stay in a cottage, pick your dinner’s produce from the garden and gather eggs from the chickens (go out with Tom to feed them at 4PM), and relax with a home-cooked meal in your own private paradise!
It’s not just inns and lodging properties that are home to our furry friends, check out the place where every goat has a name. Boonville, in Anderson Valley, is home to Pennyroyal Farm, a farmstead where goats and sheep produce the milk that create delicious cheeses ranging from farm-fresh Laychee to aged Boont Corners. Take a tour of the barn and, in spring, get to meet the new kids on the block! Tour the creamery and barn and then take the party to the tasting room to learn how the estate wines pair perfectly with the cheese. Check out the vineyards where Baby Doll Sheep are employed as mobile mowers, keeping the grasses low and the vines trimmed.