Nearly all of The Violet Fog itineraries are “BFF trips” and I absolutely love it. I feel like VF readers are total girl’s girls at heart. Of course this itinerary works for lovers and families, etc. Just saying that I really enjoy the constant friendship theme here.

To deny friend time is to deny happiness! The more friend time, the better. I think it’s SO IMPORTANT to make quality time for friends.

SO- my Bay Area babes. Let me tell you about a super fun Mendocino road trip to take. Split between a few friends- it’s quite affordable. The activities are endless and the beauty… WOW. I mean it, it’s jaw dropping. Like if you are in need of true, quiet beauty with good people… take this trip!

From San Jose it’s about 3 hours. From San Francisco about 2.5 hours. Very doable. The 101 to the 128. EASY.

Here was the exact Violet Fog itinerary- personalized with stories and exactly why we loved it SO MUCH.

We left from San Francisco around 10:30 in the morning. Got coffee, hit the road. Such a cool drive, starting over the golden gate bridge and then through hours of greenery and small towns. Break out the road trip playlists y’all!!!

Now, on the way to Mendo, you could stop in Healdsburg first for lunch or light wine tasting. Maybe a little boutique shopping. We stopped there on our way home. Healdsburg is SO CUTE.

What we FIRST did was stop at Lauren’s in Boonville. Don’t you love that town name?! BOONVILLE. Just makes me happy to say. There’s a few little places to eat- we chose Lauren’s just because it had variety. I only tried their fries but they are way so good. And I’m not even a fries person. You can color on the menus like little kids too… which, you KNOW, we obviously did. #NeverGrowUp


After that wanted to do one wine tasting place before we got to our hotel. So we drove about 15-20 minutes towards Mendocino and stopped at –what I’m telling you– is one of THEE most unique wine tasting spots. It’s called Lula Cellars and it’s unique because it’s ran by these two guys who are SO FUNNY. Quirky. Full of personality. The wine is TO DIE FOR but wow is the entertainment great between these two. The place is small and on this beautiful lake. Their pinot is OUT of this damn world.

BFF Kerrie always dressed for the occasion!

These two put on a show for their guests.

What I loved about Lula Cellars is that even though they have won all these awards, the space is SO laid-back and welcoming. You know how some wine tasting places are really serious and educational? This space is just fun. Pure fun. You will laugh, you will want more wine! It’s a hidden gem. These guys are a riot and we loved them.

My boo thangs! Kurr and Mo Money Mindy. <3

So nice to walk around that lake… with a glass of the most delicious pinot in hand.

There is a dog named Honey who is a rescue and roams around the property and greets everyone who shows up. It’s SO SWEET. I loved this dog. Speaking of, Lula Cellars is dog friendly too which is awesome.

They are so sweet at Lula Cellars, you can just drop in and they will greet you so kindly. ENJOY THE WINE. And then head up to Mendocino!

Next stop: Our hotel.

Where we stayed for the first two nights was The Little River Inn. We stayed for a few reasons- it’s affordable. ($175ish a night during the slow season- split between friends is not bad! Aka something I felt comfortable writing about for VF.) The property is GORGEOUS. Think: up on a coastal hill with white cottages everywhere. Little patios. Gorgeous greenery. It’s almost a rustic, forest-y “resort” feel. You can spend an ENTIRE DAY here and not leave the property.

Oh just your own personal patio with the most peaceful view ever.

You know all of the above is packed for a 3+ day trip. Gotta stay on it! Wellness is in! P.S OLLY was a hit with the friends as usual. They didn’t let me put collagen in their coffee yet… but… baby steps. LOL. 😉 Also to randomly note: I haven’t gotten sick yet this year and I think it’s because I supplement with oregano oil a few times a week! More on that another time. Sorry, A.D.D!

At Little River Inn, there are places to walk. They have a golf course (and the driving range is ONLY $4 to play! Fun to do even if you don’t usually play!) They also have tennis courts!

They have a spa/salon where you can get facials and massages. OMG. Can I tell you something? This was the best damn massage of my life. ALL of my girlfriends got massages this trip and each one (worked on by different people) were so impressed with how great it was. Even the oil/lotion they used was impressive! It was infused with jojoba and arnica which is SUPER HEALING for the body. Let me tell you, it was heavennnnn. Book a massage there if you can.

Totally make time for board games and wine on a girl’s trip. Kerrie got us hooked on Bananagrams. Such a fun game, have you ever played?! You know I love board games.

We also ate at Little River Inn and WTF- so good. So so good. We had the kind of meal where you just can’t. stop. eating. From the bread the bring out, to their wine selection, to their salads, their burgers, their fries, their steaks! Ugh… divine. All of it. THEIR DESSERT…. I’m sorry I can’t stop. Need it.Want it.

Me after dinner so full but actually wondering if Kerrie is going to share her snacks with me.

One of the days we went to Big River Beach– which has all these cute little shops near it and then you can walk down to the beach which is so sensational. Quiet. CLEAN. So clean. This day we had it all to ourselves.

The Mendocino chocolate shop recommended to me by a Violet! <3 This was gone in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

After 2 nights at Little River Inn, we ventured down 128 to Brewery Gulch Inn. More expensive but this place is luxury and comes with meals included. It’s quiet and the grounds are GORGEOUS. Like stop you in your tracks gorgeous.

The rooms, can we talk about the rooms? LOVED the decor. It’s mid century modern which I am totally about.

The beds are so comfortable you WILL have the greatest night’s sleep. The bathrooms come with these ammenties that are SUPER high end. Jacuzzi tub. Beautiful view. A deck. Dark wood everywhere. The rooms at Brewery Gulch are just perfect.

A desk that comes with meditation guides and adult coloring books? THANK YOU!

Conversational pieces in every room.

From the moment you check in, you feel special. They offer home pressed ginger-ade for wellness or a weak stomach (the highway in Mendocino is twisty turny!) OR they have little ginger candies. So nice. And they leave these decadent caramels on your pillow upon arrival!

SO. We checked in, there was champagne. There were the candies. There were the nicest people working there. We watched the most gorgeous sunset and then came down for one of the BEST dinners. It’s in this beautiful communal area where other people staying at Brewery Gulch eat. Everyone is just in the best mood here.

Just look at the sunlight in our room at this time… THE BEAUTY. I had a moment lol.

After eating, we played boardgames with this couple we met there. There was wine and good times all around. Brewery Gulch is the kind of place where people will talk to each other and be social if they want to be.

The next morning we had breakfast in the same communal place (again- meals come with your stay here) and WOW is this a breakfast. You get this menu full of unique items and you won’t even know what to order because everything, everything looks so good. I was given fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and then had the best eggs and toast I’ve ever had.

We ended the day sitting out in the sunshine (me with SPF 500) and it was just glorious. It is SO BEAUTIFUL. You leave Brewery Gulch feeling so refreshed.

On our way back to San Francisco we stopped in Healdsburg for a coffee and to walk around a bit. It is so nice there. Quaint and pretty. I got a coffee at Flying Goat Coffee- bomb diggity. If you can find an hour to walk around the little downtown, it is totally worth it.

GIRLS. Ya gotta make this Mendocino trip with your friends. It is so much fun. You’ll make so many memories. You’ll come back rejuvenated and refreshed. If you have any questions- let me know and I will answer ASAP! Right now it is the slow season so it is one of the best times to go!

Lula Cellars
Little River Inn
Brewery Gulch Inn

Thank you to Heather from Chalkboard Communications for telling me about these places and helping me get the perfect itinerary figured out!

Violet Fog
Written by your home girls at The Violet Fog

About The Author

Violet Fog

Written by your home girls at The Violet Fog

3 Responses

  1. Jatobi

    Excellent writing ,very historically nostalgic , from a time and place that was very formulating to the Mendocino we know now . Bill Rienstra was one of the rebuilders of the sea gul . Thank you fo making this history possible David !

  2. Heather Noll

    What a wonderful write-up, featuring three of my favorite places in Mendocino — Brewery Gulch Inn, Little River Inn, and Lula Cellars!


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