Day Trip to Mendocino County

by Kelli H. on December 16, 2013

Saturday morning David and I were sitting in the living room with a fire going, and catching up on whatever on our lap tops. We’d feasted on gingerbread buckwheat pancakes and were savoring our last sips of French press when I threw out an adventurous idea for the day. I asked him if he’d be up to driving to Anderson Valley Brewing which is about an hour away from our house. I also asked if he’d want to drive out to Point Arena and let Ryder roam a bit. He said he’d be up to it, and I’m so thankful he was because it was such an awesome day! Definitely one I’ll always remember.

We had a late start but we managed to get out of the house around 11:30. We had to stop and get gas and then we jumped on the 101. While driving almost all the way through Healdsburg David mentioned that he was pretty hungry. So, we decided to stop and get some sort of lunch at Diavola. We’d been there before about 5 years ago with my parents, but it’s a fast on and off stop from the highway.

We knew Anderson Valley Brewing didn’t serve food, so we needed something to keep us full until we got there. We ordered a special appetizer they were having, which was soooo delicious! The green sauce was a housemade salsa verde and the brown was a caramelized onion spread. Oh my god, it was so delicious spread across that fried pizza dough with cheese and house-cured meats. We have to go back for dinner or lunch again and order more food because it was out of this world good. Only complaint was that service was pretty slow, but luckily we parked the car right out front and kept an eye on Ryder.

While headed back towards north 101, we stopped by what appeared to be an art display of a few different pieces. We wanted to let Ryder out of the car and walk around. It was just an added bonus that there were such cool displays available!

The fox was welded together and went so high up in to the air! It had a note saying you should only climb it at your own risk, so David went ahead and took the risk.

After checking out the art, we got back on the highway and headed towards Boonville. 

The drive to Boonville from Geyserville wasn’t bad at all. We enjoyed our time together taking in all the scenery out on highway 128. We kept talking about how quiet Mendocino County is compared to Sonoma. Even slow drivers were pulling over for us to pass which is pretty much unheard around here!

When we got to Anderson Valley Brewing, we let Ryder out to sniff around and see if he’d go to the bathroom, and David asked someone working inside if we could bring Ryder into the tap room. They were kind enough to allow dogs — thank god! We were happy to have Ryder sit by us inside the very large tap room. We decided to do a tasting flight which consisted of five of their beers on tap. We decided on a saison, double ipa, wet fresh hopped pale ale, their winter solstice, and highway 128 pale ale. The beers were all delicious, but since they don’t serve food we didn’t feel like we should order a pint.

Ryder was so cute in the tasting room. He really wanted to play with this little boy sitting near us, except the boy wouldn’t give Ryder the time of day…poor guy! This kid was too interested in his tablet. I noticed that at another stop too, little boys on their tablets. I guess this is just the normal thing when kids go out nowadays is to just sit silently on their tablets, it’s such a weird time. We looked around the tap room at all their shirts and merchandise. After buying a few things we decided to mosey on with our adventure to Point Arena.

We took a road called Mountain View Road to Point Arena which was a 27 mile crazy windy road that cuts west towards the ocean rather than going up highway 128 and back down 1. It took us a while (an hour maybe) to get to Point Arena. Mountain View Road was so beautiful though which made the drive worth it. It seemed like we were on top of the world with the sun shining through the thick trees. We pretty much loved it up there. Once we came down the hill we were greeted by fog. We tried driving out to the light house but we were literally minutes late since it closes at 3:30. We took some pictures and then headed towards Stornetta Public Lands.

Stornetta Public Lands is over 1,000 acres of land for you to stroll all over. It was right near the ocean and we were a little worried Ryder would try to take off down towards the cliffs so we unfortunately had to keep him on his leash. We walked around exploring the area for about 30 minutes. There were so many caves and lots of sea life down on this little beach we discovered.

The cliffs here were really beautiful and rugged. They weren’t really like any beaches I’d seen in Northern California. The cliffs were literally falling apart and signs warned to be careful of the ever changing earth.

Ryder was very happy to be out of the car and exploring. It was funny watching him step carefully over the seawater puddles when we made our way down to a secluded beach. He was very alert.

Sadly we didn’t get to stay too long since were totally freezing and wanted to head back before it got dark. We weren’t really feeling up to driving that windy 27 miles again in the dark. Luckily we made it off that mountain before it was completely dark. By the time we got back to Boonville we were starving and decided to make one last stop at a resturant Yelp gave amazing reviews to called Stone & Embers in Philo, which is 5 miles north of Boonville.

We didn’t get to take any photos inside Stone & Embers, because the restaurant was seriously so small. I think it had a total of 5 tables inside and a bar with stools. We decided to sit at the bar because the tables were a little too close together for our liking. We were pretty unsure about the place because of how small it was but the food was out of this world delicious! We snacked on mushroom puffs. I’m not even sure how to describe them…kind of like funyuns but with mushroom flavor — so good! Then we shared a wood-fire oven pizza that we watched the chef make right in front of us. We ended the meal with a ramekin of chocolate pudding and scoop of house made pretzel ice cream. The food was fantastic! I’ll definitely make a point to go back there, but I’ll probably wait until the summer and sit outside on their patio.

We got home at 8 o’clock and then curled up on the couch watching The Great Gatsby. It was such a fun day and one I don’t ever want to forget. It made me so excited for David to graduate so we can spend more weekends exploring the areas surrounding us. It’s so nice he has a month off of school so we can at least spend some quality time together before he starts his crazy busy schedule in January.

If you’ve never explored Mendocino County I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to go back up there in the near future.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) December 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Great pictures from what looks like an awesome mini getaway! 🙂


Meghan December 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Oh man, I love it up there! And I LOVE Diavola! We always try to stop there when we are in the area.

Reply December 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

What a fun trip. I’m sure I’ve said this to you before but I wish I lived someplace like Sonoma – so much beauty all around. The nicest thing we have in Ohio is Amish country (up north of Columbus) and down south is Hocking Hills (pretty hiking but no where as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest/Northern Cali!)


Made in Sonoma December 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I looked up Hocking Hills and it looks really beautiful there! Northern CA is very beautiful though, there’s no denying it. 🙂


Sarah Cook December 17, 2013 at 4:58 am

So beautiful! I’ll have to add that to my list of things to go see- thanks for sharing!

The fried pizza dough sounds incredible and I can’t believe the little boy wouldn’t play with Ryder. Poor buddy, I’d play with him! Kids don’t know what they’re missing, playing on their tablets.


Sarah Cook December 17, 2013 at 5:02 am

p.s. thanks for making my pancakes! 🙂


Made in Sonoma December 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Of course! I’m on such a gingerbread kick this month.


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