Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leaving it All Behind at the Howard Creek Ranch Inn

Last Friday evening CC & I left from Roseville and headed to the first weekend of the Mendocino Crab & Wine Days.

We drove, or should I say HE drove US five hours to a little town outside of Fort Bragg called Westport. We landed in Westport about 11:30pm on Friday night, where we were to lodge for the next two nights, The Howard Creek Ranch Inn.

Picture it this way, though. Neither one of us had been to or even driven by the Inn before. We had set up our stay through a third party and only briefly glanced at their website.

When we arrived at the Inn, it was raining, muddy, and dark. We slowly made our way to our room, and even at the late hour were soon greeted by our hostess, Sally. She had been waiting for us to arrive, and left on lights around the farmhouse for us to find our way in the unfamiliar territory. It was kind of endearing that she waited for us to arrive before turning into bed. She came downstairs and showed us to our room, the Solar Room, and instructed us on how to obtain coffee and breakfast for the next day. We opened the door to the Solar Room and the fireplace was already going! The room was toasty warm!

I took some of these pictures of the farm the next day. Sally (pictured below) gave me a tour of all the rooms that were not occupied.

Here's a picture of the suspension bridge that connects the farmhouse and the carriage barn. We stayed in the barn structure and had breakfast with Sally and Sonny during the mornings. I love this bridge because it reminds me of my grandmother's house in Kentucky, only the bridge at my grandmother's was more treacherous and it was pretty much only boards and rope. Crossing the bridge over the creek took me back 25 years!

Crocuses blooming outside the farmhouse, taken after breakfast.

Sally and Sonny had the fire going for us on Sunday morning when we arrived to the farmhouse. It was nice treat to have breakfast with them (along with another couple who were staying in the beach house) in the main room. Sally prepared french toast with banana topping, sausage, a fruit plate, and eggs. The day prior, it was strawberry and banana pancakes, baked apple with granola and whipped cream, and eggs. Both days had fresh orange juice, coffee and real maple syrup.

Here are a few shots of some of the room interiors. As you can see, they each have their own charm and attention to detail. Some of the wood and window work on the inside is pretty amazing. As is some of Sally's collections of unique glassware, books, ornaments, and other items.

This is the top floor of the Redwood Suite. It actually has an ocean view and the back door is only 200 yards from the beach. The skylights are so beautiful.

The Walden Room. It's on the first floor of Carriage Barn. It has redwood detailing and a gorgeous tiled floor. The bedroom has a fireplace, queen size bed, kitchenette, living room area, and a tiled bathroom. It has a separate entrance from the other barn rooms and there is a tiled deck on the outside.

Blue Balcony Room

Above is the Captain's Room on the second floor of Carriage Barn. There's a king sized bed, and fireplace plus kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, & electric fireplace.

You can see more photos of the rooms and their descriptions, along with their rates by clicking here.

If you are ever in the mood to just get away from everything, this is the place to do it. It's so quiet and peaceful, and all of the rooms are walking distance from the beach. The Inn now has wi-fi, so you can even partially get away and work remotely if that is the only option.

Either way, Sally and Sonny will kindly welcome you.

Good to know:
1. Make sure you know exactly where you are going when heading to the Inn, and try to drive in during the daytime. The roads leading to your destination are windy and can be a little scary in inclement weather.

2. There are refrigerators, so you can even dine in your room. The couple that was there while we were brought salami, cheese, bread, and a bottle of wine for their dinner. I thought that sounded just lovely.

3. The Inn is unique and therefore not like a hotel. It is like staying at a carefully preserved farmhouse and piece of history. You will be kind of sad when you leave.

4. The pool area will be completed this year and looks to be another pleasant asset to the list of amenities at the Inn.

5. Stay in a room with a skylight if you can!! I loved the carriage room.

6. You will have access to a masseuse while you are at the inn.

7. The rooms have green toiletries!! I noticed the Livi line of tissue and toilet paper. The only reason I know that is because I used to sell janitorial products. I asked Sally about the green products and she said she has always done things that way and never made a fuss about it. I felt sorry they were never previously recognized for their environmentally-friendly ways, so I am doing it now.

8. If you stay in the Solar Room, you will be steps away from a hot tub. Bring your swimsuit.

9. Bring a significant other. You will grow closer to them and always remember your stay. Pretty romantic as there are no silly tvs or phones to distract you from each other.

10. Bring your camera. There are lots of photo opportunities. Several animals including cats, sheep, a llama (or an alpaca, the jury is still out on this one), a horse, and a host of different birds-- there are flowers growing all around the farmhouse--and of course, the roaring ocean. Ask Sally and Sonny about hiking around the property and they will give you a map.

For more information, you can go to the Howard Creek Ranch Inn's website here, or give them a call directly at (707) 964-6725.

In my next Mendocino post, we get crabby at the Crab & Wine Days, and I meet up with a German-born chef who specializes in organic and raw foods.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mick Rogers LCSW said...

Howard Creek Ranch is exceptional. I loved your review. Pam & I have gone there a week every year since 1990.

Sonny made a secret retreat for himself; Sally decided to let guests use it. It is magical -- next time you go (in warmer weather) try their "Seaview" cabin.

1/28/2010 10:51:00 PM