Woah! I can’t believe this is already my last post, and I’ve been at The Stanford Inn for eight weeks now. Time has absolutely flown. I’ll definitely miss the inn, and even more all of the people here that have made me feel at home. Of course, once I start feeling settled it’s time to go. But I know I’ll come back and visit one day, and a part of this place will certainly stay with me as I return to school in the fall for my junior (!!!!!) year of college. That’s another big woah. It’s nice to know that no matter where I am or how crazy life gets, the natural beauty and peace that define Mendocino for me will remain for whenever I can return.
Below is a list of my five favorite places/things I’ve done while living at The Stanford Inn this summer, in no particular order. I hope you enjoy, and have the chance to visit and experience some of them for yourselves.
1. The Kitchen at The Ravens’ Restaurant
It’s no secret that I’ve spent a significant part of my internship working alongside Sadhana in the kitchen, and how much I’ve enjoyed doing that. It’s been incredible to learn as much as I have about cooking, baking, and how to do both vegan! When I think back to where I was when I first started helping out a bit here and there to where I am now, the difference is huge, and it’s so satisfying knowing that I’m leaving here with a whole new level of skill, creativity, and confidence when it comes to something I love. I can’t thank Sadhana enough for working with me so much!
2. Catch a Canoe (Bioluminescence Tour and Outriggers)
Of course I had to wait until my very last week here to actually get out on a boat in Big River, but man am I glad I did! On Monday afternoon Nathalie and I took out an outrigger, as I wrote about in this blog post. It was so reenergizing to be out in the California sun, no civilization in sight, totally in the moment while paddling in the beautiful handcrafted boat.
Then last night, Nathalie and I had the chance to go out in one of the Bioluminescence Tours (along with Sadhana and Clay, her husband), which was almost indescribably stunning. About ten of us set out on Big River around 9 pm with Rick as our guide on a massive outrigger, and as it grew darker, plankton in the water began to light up as we stirred them with our paddles! They looked like little pill-shaped diamonds sparkling in the pitch black water. Once it was totally dark, we could even see the hundreds of fish darting this way and that underneath our boat, their bodies illuminated like a million shooting stars in the river. And, just as magical, we were gifted with a completely cloudless night, and had just about the most amazing stargazing experience ever. We were out until about 11:30 pm (we made it a bit over 2 miles down the river and back), and as such our eyes were completely adjusted to the darkness on top of it. We could see the Milky Way, and given the meteor shower peaking in coming days, I even saw a meteor! Words will never do this experience justice, nor will pictures, but if you ever have the chance to do it, you have to. Bioluminescence Tours only run on moonless nights with an incoming tide (moonless so it’s dark enough outside to see the plankton; incoming tide to bring the creatures in from the ocean), so you need to check with Catch a Canoe to book one.
3. The Gardens (Biointensive and Stanford Inn)
Walking through the gardens on a daily basis (and even helping out a couple times in the Biointensive garden!) has been such a treat. My favorite time to see them is right after dinner, anywhere from 6:30 to about 8, when the sun is just starting to set, casting a golden light on the beautiful crops, flowers, and trees growing. Learning about the techniques both gardens use has also been fascinating (see a post about the Biointensive garden here and a post about the inn’s gardens here).
4. The Town of Mendocino and The Headlands
I’m including these two together because I always do them together! The Headlands are a state park that runs all along the water (see my post here about them), and it’s so beautiful you’ll wonder if your eyes could possibly be seeing right. On a sunny day the ocean is a bright yet deep blue, and crashes this way and that into the cliffs where the land drops off into the water. Wildflowers and tall grass gently sway in the ocean breeze around your ankles. It’s unbeatable.
Mendocino town is only a few minutes’ walk away from The Headlands, and is reminiscent of a West Coast version of a Norman Rockwell beach town. Small shops and casual restaurant line Main Street, which has stunning (but not overexploited) views of the ocean. All of the buildings are at the max three stories tall, and each has its own personality and classy set of unique touches. And everyone is so friendly. I love it.
5. Brewery Gulch Road
Brewery Gulch Road is right across the highway from the inn, and it’s only about a 5 minute walk to the start of it. There’s a designated lookout point with a bench that gives you a lovely view of the bay and Mendocino (I absolutely love how the town sits right on a corner of the land), but the whole walk along the road, about a half mile long, is spectacular. On a sunny day nothing beats it, and the short walk really gives meaning to the phrase “from sea to shining sea.” Even on a foggy day it can be worthwhile, though I prefer the sun. It’s crazy to walk right along the water and hear it, but have your view of it totally obstructed by fog! It’s eerie and moody and definitely unlike anything I’ve ever before experienced.
Thank you for visiting my blog during my time at the inn! I’ve loved having this place to write about my experiences and thoughts on The Stanford Inn and Mendocino.
This article was written by monica