Winding up Highway 1 out of Little River/Mendocino and then hitting Highway 101 in Leggett, we made our way through more beautiful landscapes, but nothing prepares a person for their first time entering Avenue of the Giants. This drive up 101 is one of the most awe-inspiring stretches on the planet. Stop often, take photos, and just simply walk and stare upward, taking it all in. Once we had reached stimulus overload, we continued on past Trinidad to the Lost Whale Inn https://lostwhaleinn.com/ near Patrick’s Point State Park. The Lost Whale takes hospitality to a new level. We were welcomed with a spread of food in the dining room that was substantial enough to be our dinner: cheeses, crudités, clam chowder, cookies, fruit, and shrimp. This type of evening appetizer buffet is put out every night from 4-6 pm. Did I mention the wine? That also flows freely starting at 4:00 and is kept out the rest of the night. Beer, soda, juices, and water are also complimentary to guests.
The rooms of the inn are top notch with all of the comforts you’d expect at a place of this caliber. Our room, the Agate Room, was on the main floor off of a small living room that is closed off in the evening and becomes a nice extension of the guest room. Wandering the gorgeous grounds of the property was a highlight of the stay here. There are so many cozy spots to stare out at the Pacific—the deck, the patio, the hot tub, the sauna, and the fire pit, where a basket with s’mores supplies is put out every night. The sunset watching here, accompanied by the never-ending sound of sea lions barking, makes for an unforgettable farewell to the day. We were lucky enough to stay two nights at this magical place.
After a great night’s sleep, we rose early to walk the beach at Patrick’s Point. Unfortunately the entire inn got an early wake-up call as well when we accidentally hit the panic button on our rental car. Sorry, neighbors! In the park, a walk along Agate Beach is a must-do. Absolutely stunning! I am not great at agate spotting, but I picked what I believe were some– free souvenirs of a special setting.
Back at the inn breakfast was about to be served, starting with the ringing of a bell and a description of items and ingredients by chef/owner Brian. Guests with dietary restrictions were also well accommodated with additional gluten and dairy-free options. That morning’s menu consisted of a Caprese frittata, crepes with strawberry rhubarb filling, apple strudel, a peach almond cobbler, sausage and bacon, and fresh fruit. The breakfasts here were a total extravaganza! I’ve never seen anything like it before. In fact, I was so overwhelmed both mornings that I failed to take any food photos. Did I mention the ongoing stimulus overload?
So what does one do after a breakfast of that magnitude? Hike, of course! And so we headed off to Redwoods National Park. There are so many great trails to choose from so your schedule will dictate where you should go. We started at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a very popular spot. From the main trail, we branched off on my favorite trail of the trip—Berry Glen Trail—where we saw not one other person! This breathtaking stretch of woods had quite a drop in elevation so we had to be wise about how far down we went, knowing we’d have to go uphill to get back out. Later that afternoon we also hiked the underwhelming Redwoods Creek Trail, a nice enough spot to have our picnic of gourmet deli sandwiches from Murphy’s in Trinidad.
After that we braved the extremely rough road back into Fern Canyon. It takes an effort to get there, but is well worth it. Fern Canyon was a setting for Jurassic Park and the otherworldly feeling of the place shows why. Sheer canyon walls covered with ferns and trickling water and a rocky creek cutting through the center create a magical place, especially for children with all the trees and rocks for them to climb on. Bring extra socks.
Once stimulus overload once again reared its head, we were dreading the drive back on the awful road, but were rewarded with another great evening appetizer spread back at the Lost Whale. While the inn is high on a cliff, they do have a VERY rustic and steep path down to a rocky beach and I ventured down there with my wine. Maybe not my best decision after a day of hiking, but I did it! When I returned a family we met was talking about getting some burgers to go from The Lighthouse Grill and asked if we wanted some as well. As we had already eaten 10,000 calories that day, the answer was of course…yes. In addition to the burgers we ordered, they brought us an added surprise treat: the restaurant’s signature item of a waffle cone filled with mashed potatoes, bacon, beef and gravy, topped with cheese. Do the calorie math on that one! I should have gone right to bed and let my body begin to prepare for the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, but instead we joined some other guests for wine and excellent fireside conversation until 10:00. What an amazing, full (pun intended) day!
The following morning, our last at the inn before heading up the coast to Oregon, began with another walk down the steep path to the rocky beach below. Returning to the inn just in time for breakfast, you can imagine how much we were starving! Thankfully they had prepared a light breakfast of puffy pancakes, apple-filled pastries, a triple berry pie, Southwest frittata, sausage and bacon, fried potatoes, and fresh fruit. I decided to be responsible and just have the fresh fruit. Just kidding. Fruit was actually the only thing I didn’t have (unless it was inside of a baked good).
After that we rolled out of the Lost Whale Inn, or should I say Beached Whalin’?
Next stop—the Oregon Coast!