Yes, it is a line from a song but this place is really more than that. Imagine a 180-degree view of the Pacific from your hotel window, within a small inn set on a multi-acre property. I have been going to the Mendocino Coast for years, mostly tasting wine around the Anderson Valley and have rarely seen a place like the Ranch at Newport in Fort Bragg.
The ranch is named after a small town that sprouted around a logging community in the 1860s. It is currently home to a 10-room hotel and is still a working cattle ranch. The current owner has planted the new ranch with more than 11,000 trees on the property and created one of the most unique natural preserves set on the Pacific: and the owners are thankfully set on taking care of it for the long term. When I visited early this year there were a number of adorable newborns who weren’t afraid to approach guests from a guarded distance.
The ranch now totals over 2,100 acres with a mile and half of oceanfront property with panoramic views. It is also home to up more than twenty-five miles of trails through the redwoods and along the streams and rugged coast. What is truly special about this property is the chance it gives—select—guests to explore an untarnished slice of Pacific Coast waterfront. There’s even a hot tub with a view of the ocean on the top floor.
Foraging and Eating
Mushrooms have long been serious fare in Mendocino. This is an estate that has done everything to encourage their growth and sustainability. Guests can take tours of the different varieties that are available and pluck them—when available—to their hearts’ content. The property’s chef often uses in them in a number of recipes.
The hotel’s dining room is only open to guests: a low-key plus for those staying there. Breakfasts are delicious and abundant, eggs over easy, lots of bacon and Bloody Marys as needed. The kitchen can also pack lunches to go: which are not hard to enjoy when overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The ranch has chairs and benches placed at odd angles near the Pacific where guests can wander and take in the view.
If those weren’t enough most of the rooms have stunning views of the Pacific from a number of windows. The Captain’s Quarters—one of the hotel’s most stunning rooms—even has stunning views from two sets of windows with smaller box-size apertures to take in the sunset and sunrise.
The property’s chef offers a delicious prix fixe every night, with a focus on locally grown vegetables and sustainably raised meat. One night promised a butternut squash bisque, followed by grilled lobster, duck and a smores tart. The proteins change every night. The soups were particularly divine: fresh pea and squash were among the lineup.
The wines are often local with some fun imports for after dinner treats: think an in-depth assortment of Scotch and Madeira. One of my favorite local choices was a Nelson Hill Pinot Noir with a little age on it, dating back to 2014: it was great with the duck. Mendocino sparklers are also on hand for wine pairings, as are well-made cocktails.