Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Celebration of the Off Season

Every Martin Luther King weekend my in-laws come to town and we head up to the Anderson Valley for a few days to recover from the blur of the holidays. It's a nice time to reflect on the year past, the year to come and to spend some quality time together outside of the hectic holidays.

This year we drove the hour to the coast and spent an afternoon milling about the lovely town of Mendocino. It struck me as we strolled through town that you can get the real feel of a town when you visit it in the off season, it's as if its guard is down and you get a peek into the real place.

A near perfect seaside town founded in 1850, Mendocino has escaped development and rampant tourism and remains a quaint, ramshackle town of 800 residents. It's mostly untouched quaintness got it a starring role in Murder She Wrote where Mendocino played the part of Cabot Cove, Maine.

In January you can feel the mist on your face as you walk down the board walk to the sound of crashing waves. Take your time, explore the side streets, poke into a few shops and don't forget to journey past the dunes down to the water.

We had a late lunch at the Mendocino Cafe where they were serving big bowls of clam chowder and amazing fish tacos.

And no afternoon in Mendocino is complete without an end of day stop at the Chocolate Haus for hand pulled taffy, white chocolate raspberry bark or milk chocolate rocky road. With a full stomach and still feeling the warmth of the hot chocolate , the drive home down the coast was nothing less than spectacular.