In partnership with Little River Inn.
Last month we went on one of our first vacations as a whole family since the pandemic started. I have to admit that I was a little on edge, but with three of us fully vaccinated, it felt like a much needed break from our usual day-to-day and being locked away in our house. Our whole family (dogs too!) were invited to get away for the weekend by Little River Inn. We’ve loved our time there before, and today I’m sharing our family & pet friendly weekend with you.
Our weekend travelogue
4PM – Late afternoon check in at Little River Inn. I can’t stress enough the feeling you get as a guest at the inn. I have always felt like part of the family when we stay there and I’m so happy that my little ones, both human and furry, are embraced by the hotel as well. The boys love their bathrobes at home so I promptly requested robes for them as well. The dogs were given their own bedding set, dishes, and treats.
6PM – Private dinner hosted by Little River Inn Restaurant. I highly recommend the braised short rib, it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The Coastal Mirage cocktail is a favorite too since I’m a sucker for anything elderflower.
7AM – Room service is my biggest guilty pleasure when I travel, and we certainly went for it on this trip. The boys enjoyed their favorite Ole’s famous Swedish hot cakes (recipe here!), and Steve and I enjoyed our usual. I always love a two-egg breakfast and he’s a big fan of the benedict.
9AM – A gentle kayaking tour along the Noyo River with Liquid Fusion Kayaking. The dogs were even able to join us, and along the way we saw deer, a blue heron, harbor seals, and a peregrine falcon. Paddling along the river during the quiet morning truly was a magical experience. We were in two-person kayaks that felt very stable and easy to maneuver even if one of our human littles was not a lot of help with paddling.
12PM – I took this time for myself to tour the gardens of Little River Inn. When speaking with 5th generation innkeeper, Cally Dym, she shared that they employ three full-time gardeners to help maintain the grounds. From the Matija Poppies to the wall of Rhododendron, it’s absolutely picture-perfect. It comes as no surprise as the garden at the inn rivals that of the local botanical garden.
2PM – My boys absolute favorite activity in Mendocino County is the Skunk Train. We spent 75 minutes on the Pudding Creek Express route. The route follows along the Pudding Creek estuary until you reach Glen Blair junction where you can hop off for 20 minutes or choose to catch a later train home. We usually sit for the first part of the ride and stand in one of their open air cars for the ride back. Passing through the giant ancient redwoods is like entering another world.
5PM – A rustic bonfire dinner at Van Damme State Beach, right across from the inn. We met back up with innkeeper Cally to enjoy a barbecue bonfire dinner on the beach. The kids played with the rocks and driftwood as the sun set. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. It was the perfect low-key (and outdoor) activity for the evening.
8AM – Another glorious morning with sweeping ocean views, foggy vibes, and a delicious breakfast. I enjoyed my coffee on our patio and listened to the ocean waves and blackbirds morning song.
10AM – We pack up, check out and leave the keys in our room. A little earlier than normal check out, but we have a bit of driving to do to our next activity. Luckily it’s on the way home.
11AM – Farm tour and tasting at Pennyroyal, a female-founded regenerative farmstead creamery in Boonville, California. I loved the organic and natural flow of their kitchen garden. Pennyroyal, the farmstead’s namesake, grows wild on the property. The farmstead is both kid and dog (tasting room only) friendly, offering grape juice for kids and water for furry friends. The farmstead is now open again for tours and tastings, with precautions in place to help keep everyone safe.
What I packed for Mendocino
I will admit foremost that I packed a lot for this trip. It was my first hosted trip in 18 months and with multiple activities per day, I wanted to be sure that I was ready for anything (and for photos).
What I wore in Mendocino
The weather was beautiful on this trip, as it can be during summer in Mendocino. It does still get a little chilly at nights so during the bonfire I had a couple of moments where I wished I had brought my bigger jacket. Other than that, I think what I packed was spot on for this trip. Not pictured: For the drive up I wore the black maxi shirtdress with white sneakers and for the Pennyroyal tour I wore the striped shirt with denim and sneakers. I tried to link similar items in my packing list if actual links were not available.
This trip and all activities were hosted by Little River Inn, a place we’ve loved to visit over the years. While I did not receive monetary compensation, all activities and meals were paid for. That said, Mendocino County has been a favorite place of ours for years, and so has Little River Inn. It was wonderful to finally meet the innkeeper in person and we genuinely enjoyed our time here.