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Dec-11-2008 07:50printcomments

Doggone Fun Holiday Getaways

Travel writer CeliaSue Hecht highlights another one of the best vacation spots on the west coast for people who like to travel with man's best friend.

Mendocino California
Mendocino California

(MENDOCINO ) - Gotta getaway for the holidays with Fido and Fluffy without breaking the bank? Try pet friendly Mendocino.There is fun in them thar verdant rolling hills plus the pooch pounding surf of the Pacific ocean.

Quaint Victorian inns, spa resorts, turn key rental properties, hotels, motels, and everything in between offer a variety of affordable options for a dog friendly retreat.

It's no wonder that Mendocino has long been a favorite spot since the ways to recharge and rekindle are almost limitless in this peaceful paradise 90 miles North of the Bay Area.

Canoeing and kayaking, horseback rides on the beach, browsing in art galleries, wine tasting and fabulous dining, hiking and walks underneath ancient Redwoods, Mendocino has activities for everyone at old fashioned prices that are doggone bound to please. Mendocino County, California, it's not just for couples anymore.

Here are just a few of the top 12 pet friendly activities that are offered in Mendocino County:

l. Tiptoe through the Botanical gardens

Between the tulips and other flowers, (over 150 varieties), Fido will enjoy a nice stroll with you to the beach. Well-mannered dogs on leashes are always welcome and enjoy free admission.

2. Beach romp (Noyo Harbor or a private beach)... most beaches are dog friendly and dogs have to be on leash.

Dogs love to splash and do the doggie paddle in the ocean. And Mendocino County's coastline has an abundance of places for them to swim.

Big River Beach, N. Big River Road, Mendocino

Portuguese Beach, Mendocino Headlands, Mendocino

Van Damme State Beach, Highway 1, Mendocino

Caspar Beach, 14441 Point Cabrillo Dr., Caspar

MacKerricher State Park, Highway 1, Fort Bragg

And for an extended stay, you can also camp out with Fido. California State Parks Camping Reservations: 1-800-444-PARK (7275)

With nearly 100 miles of coastline and dozens of state and private campgrounds, finding a place to camp on the Mendocino Coast is not difficult. The most popular state parks are MacKerricher (Fort Bragg) and Russian Gulch (Mendocino) and Van Damme (Little River).

3. Take a hike.

Jughandle State Reserve features a 2½-mile self-guided nature trail called the Ecological Staircase. Starting by the ocean, this trail goes inland up a series of five ancient terraces formed by waves, glacier, and tectonic activity. Each terrace was uplifted from the sea about 100,000 years after the previous was raised. The lowest terrace is prairie, followed by a pine forest, then a redwood forest, and finally a pygmy forest with knee-high trees that are decades old. The trail features an amazing variety of trees, since the ecologies of the different terraces vary widely.

Three miles south of Fort Bragg. Turn west off Highway One into the well-marked parking area. 707-937-5804

4. Get a free ice cream cone for your mutt at Cowlick's ice cream

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. And Fido may also enjoy a sweet vanilla kiddie cuppa coolness on a sunny day.

5. Stroll the shops in Mendocino and buy some doggie perfume.

After all the rolling, licking and splashing in the water and mud and sand, you may want to get some doggie perfume for Fido. Mendocino has many enjoyable gift shops and places where Furshionistas prefer to shop such as Sallie Mac.

And there are numerous pet supply shops such as Paws for Cats & Dogs, 338 N. Main St., Fort Bragg, 707-964-3322, Fort Bragg Feed & Pet, 880 Stewart St., Fort Bragg, 707-964-3333, and Evergreen Barn Pet Grocery, 477 Evergreen St., Mendocino, 707-937-3300.

6. Stay at a dog friendly inn such as: Agate Cove Inn, Little River Inn, MacCallum House Inn, Cottages at Little River Cove, Stanford Inn, Dehaven B&B and the Blair House (where the TV series Murder She Wrote was filmed). The pet friendliest lodging can be found at these inns.

Agate Cove Inn offers lovely ocean views via webcam on their website and gorgeous gardens… across from Agate beach, perfect for rock hounds of all ages. Each of the rooms is named after rocks, crystals and gemstones such as diamond, garnet, obsidian, amber, jasper, emerald… receive a special discount, November - May 31 Sunday through Thursday stay only (holidays excluded)… you will receive 20% off the regular rate. No minimum stay required. When you register, just mention "Celia Sue" for the special rate.

Blair House Numerous television and movies have been filmed in Mendocino including Murder She Wrote, Summer of 42, Overboard, Frenchman's Creek, Forever Young, Wired, Johnny Belinda, Pontiac Moon, East of Eden and others. if your dog is itching to get out of the city, needs fresh air, nature and some peace and quiet, this is a great place to stay, (where Murder She Wrote was filmed), although it is located right on a major street on the peaceful side of the historic village of Mendocino.

Six of the nine Cottages at Little River Cove are designated pet friendly. Each of the cottages are named for nearby towns such as Albion, Elk, Humboldt, Caspar, Dillon, Farllon, Jenner, and Gualala. Staying here is like being in an upscale home with all of the modern amenities including a kitchen.

DeHaven Bed and Breakfast If you are looking for a homey style pet friendly place to relax and enjoy the beach, peace and quiet, in a rustic setting, with a pond, hot tub, modern amenities such as TV's, wireless internet, and romantic fireplaces, DeHaven is the place to visit.

Whether you seek a romantic getaway, a peaceful healing retreat, or a pet friendly farm to bring Fido and Fluffy with you on vacation, Howard Creek Ranch Inn in Westport about 15 - 20 miles north of Fort Bragg fits the bill. It is an historic, 60 acre, ocean front farm; bordered by miles of beach and mountains on the beautiful Mendocino Coast.

Beautiful fragrant award-winning gardens make your heart sing and soul soar. There are numerous trails and acres of Nature conservancy to explore and sheep, llamas, a horse, and other creatures are plentiful. Charles (Sunny) and Sally have been working on the farm for 20 years. The Howard Creek Ranch is a Mendocino County Registered Historic Site nominated to the Federal Register of Historic Places.

Sally's breakfasts are memorable. She makes mouths water with the most flavorful hearty home cooked breakfast on the coast… scrambled eggs, sausage, country potatoes, fresh fruit, muffins, mint tea straight from the garden, and if she does not have something you want, she will improvise.

The Little River Inn has been family-owned for generations and is a beautiful landmark destination on the dramatic Pacific Coast with a spa, tennis courts, restaurant and bar. And doggies get extra special treatment with a doggie gift basket including bowls, treats, and socks.

Little River Inn
7901 Highway 1
Little River, CA 95456
(888) INN LOVE - (707) 937-5942

MacCallum House, in the heart of lovely Mendocino Village, takes pet friendly to a whole new level. Upon check-in, you will receive a doggie gift basket including bowls, treats, and doggie bed. Stay two or three nights in any room at MacCallum House Inn and spend one of your days on a luxury wine tour of Anderson Valley in a stretch limousine or Lincoln Town Car. Sip complimentary sparkling wine as you visit the wineries with your pooch.

MacCallum House
45020 Albion Street
Mendocino, CA 95460
(800) 609-0492 - (707) 937-0289

Stanford Inn was pet friendly before anybody and the vegan food at the Ravens restaurants is delicious. Each room has a fireplace, phone, internet access, complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea with goodies in the lobby, this inn comes complete with llamas, cats, dogs, raccoons, ducks and other animals… and the wonderful conducive to healing environment, includes a sauna and pool with 24 hour access… ahhhh…

More information can be found at:

7. Dine together

At the zenlike pet friendly Stanford Inn, you can even dine with well-behaved Fido during the day. Well behaved dogs are welcome in the lobby but not the dining room. If you would like breakfast or dinner to be served in the lobby, they are happy to accommodate you...

8. Play catch or frisbee at the Fort Bragg dog park.

Fort Bragg has McDoggie Park, a dedicated dog park, where non-aggressive and friendly doggies play. McDoggies is at Willow and Lincoln Streets. Take Maple Street east from Highway One (Main Street) until it ends at the dog park on Lincoln St.

9. Go kayaking with your dog

You can paddle up Big River in a canoe from Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too, located at Highway 1 & Comptche-Ukiah Rd, Mendocino, 707-937-0273.

10. Tiny dogs can take the Skunk train with their owners, if they can fit inside your purse; chew chew... chew chew...

11. Fido may accompany you while sport fishing and whale watching with All Aboard Adventures, North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, 707-964-1881 or Anchor Charter Boats, PO Box 103, Fort Bragg, 707-964-4550.

12. Go wine tasting and eating at fine restaurants...

The Maccallum House Inn in Mendocino offers winery tours, chauffeured limos and dogs are allowed to tag along, if you book as a private party, ask for Jim Davis and tell him that you found out about the tour from CeliaSue.

Plus, there are many places for you and Fido to have a puppy picnic in the area.

And if you seek a hot meal, there are a variety of choices of restaurants where Fido can sit beside you outside.

Café One, 753 N Main Street, Fort Bragg

Home Style Café, 790 S. Main Street, Fort Bragg

Laurel Deli, 401 N Main Street, Fort Bragg

Mendocino Cookie Company, Main St., Fort Bragg

Nemo's Fish Market, 2410 N Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg

Piaci Pub & Pizzeria, 120 W. Redwood Avenue, Fort Bragg

Lu's Kitchen, 45013 Ukiah Street Mendocino

Mendo Burgers, 10483 Lansing Street, Mendocino

Mendocino Café, 10451 Lansing Street, Mendocino

Mendocino Hotel, 45080 Main Street, Mendocino

Moody's Organic Coffee Bar, 10450 Lansing Street, Mendocino

Moosse Cafe, 390 Kasten, Mendocino

Editor's note: California State Parks do have a number of rules that need to be observed when enjoying many of Mendocino's popular locations. Todd Lewis, the Public Safety Supervisor with California State Parks- Mendocino District, contacted hoping to clarify some of those rules.

"We require dogs to be on a 6 foot leash at all times, even while swimming, chasing balls, camping, hiking, etc. Certain areas are entirely closed to dogs", Lewis said.

The reality of it can be an expensive citation, and Lewis thought it was important information that people should be aware of when they visit the area.

"We do enforce our department's rules and regulations, and a citation may be the result of a person failing to comply with leash laws."

He added that those fines can be up to $300.

CeliaSue Hecht is a published travel writer, co-author of five romantic travel guides and dog travel blogger ( Her work has appeared in more than 40 publications including Entrepreneur, USA Today, Atlanta Journal Constitution,, the Reno Gazette Journal, Nevada Appeal, Parents magazine, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Record Courier, Auto Channel News, Marin Independent Journal, Napa News, Las Vegas Review Journal, Las Vegas SUN, Las Vegas Business Press, Real Woman magazine, Courier magazine, Nevada Woman magazine, Salem-News, Monterey County Weekly, Auburn Journal, Nevada Business Journal, NorthBay Biz magazine, Parents magazine, Senior Spectrum, Desert Trail, Hi-Desert Star, Boca Raton Daily News, First Class magazine, In Light Times,, Working Spirit newsletter, HealthyWealthynWise, Small Business Briefs and more.

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