Watching Sunsets and Whales from Mendocino Seaside Cottage
On the quiet northern side of the Mendocino peninsula, Mendocino Seaside Cottage overlooks the ocean and provides a mesmerizing perch for sunsets and whale watching. I’m sitting in the dining nook of the Penthouse Suite with a glass of wine and a pair of binoculars. I walked back to the suite after dinner and have spent the evening gazing out the nook’s bay windows. The windows provide panoramic views of the ocean and Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Through the winter and spring months, the inn is also a prime spot to watch for migrating gray whales. I keep scanning the horizon as the sun drops lower in the sky. Finally, off in the distance, I catch sight of a whale spouting and then seconds later, a second one. The whales surface a few more times and then take a deep dive with a final wave of their flukes.
Unlike the historic Victorian B&Bs sprinkled throughout the village, Mendocino Seaside Cottage is more contemporary in its design. It also feels like a secret hideaway. Mel Lockey and his late wife, Lindalee, bought the property in the 1980s to create a private, romantic escape for couples. Beneath a canopy of eucalyptus and cypress trees, guests are welcomed by a beautiful, sun-dappled garden.
Each of the five spacious suites has private entrances with contactless check-in and keyless entry. Once inside, the suites offer private decks and balconies with ocean views, king-size beds, gas fireplaces, and a myriad of home-away-from-home comforts. A few of the rooms are pet-friendly. Most of the rooms have Jacuzzi tubs for two. The Penthouse Suite also offers a steam shower that looks like something out of The Life Aquatic.
Mendocino Seaside Cottage does not serve breakfast (a choice in keeping with the owner’s desire to create a private hideaway) but all the rooms are equipped with well-stocked kitchens or wet bars with microwaves and refrigerators plus a generous stash of snacks. You could pick up a few groceries and never leave the room during your stay. But if you don’t feel like cooking, the village cafes and restaurants are still just a short stroll away.
At sunrise, I open the French doors open to the suite’s private deck and the roar of the waves fills the room. I lace my shoes to head out to the blufftop trails at Mendocino Headlands State Park. The park is located directly across the street from the inn. Miles of easy trails wind along the bluffs revealing hidden grottos, sea arches, and secluded beaches. In the spring, the bluffs are filled with wildflowers. Through the winter, they’re a spectacular perch for whale watching. I grab the binoculars and head out the door.