A Birthday Weekend with Scent Shopping

My birthday was Thursday, October 9, but I didn't do much to celebrate it that day because I taught all day into the evening, capping the day off by giving an oral midterm exam to my evening class.

The following day, however, my spouse and I escaped San Francisco, and drove up to Mendocino, about a 150-mile drive inland and then up the coast of California. The town is quite picturesque, with water towers behind many of the older houses and a general late-Victorian atmosphere. It was a logging town for many years, until in the 1960s and '70s many artists and hippies moved up there and revived the place by making it into a coastal resort and artists' colony.

The Mendocino Hotel, where we stayed, dates from 1878. It has a Zagat-rated restaurant; but we opted for a much grander dinner venue, the Café Beaujolais, an excellent restaurant which it is my pleasure to recommend very highly. The place serves impeccable French-style dishes. We had a great three-course dinner there, capped off by a great Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1828 sherry dessert wine.

While there, we looked around the coast, hiking out beyond the town to see the various coves and sea-caves that abound along the shore. We saw pelicans and cormorants along with the more usual sea gulls and grebes. We also saw three painters with easels and canvas set up in the cool, breezy morning, each rendering a unique version of the coast and seascape. One painter even made it into another one's canvas!

We looked around the town, too, with its shops and galleries. Mendocino has been the scene of quite a bit of filming of both movies and television. We visited "Jessica's house" (now a bed-and-breakfast), the place where Angela Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher in some scenes of the TV series Murder, She Wrote, filmed in the 1980s.

There are excellent jams and jellies sold in town, as well as good chocolates (we bought some of both), a killer espresso joint (Moody's Organic Coffee Bar on Lansing Street), and many art galleries; best of all, for me, was Perfumes Mendo, where a very gracious Judith Brandman sells many fine men's and women's scents. I ended up buying Chevignon and Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal.

The drive up and back, the beautiful sunny and slightly crisp weather, the hotel and restaurant, and the scenic and laid-back town made a truly extraordinary birthday getaway, which my loving spouse Russ planned as a wonderful surprise. I'm one hell of a lucky guy.

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Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 27, 2005
So, is it the same right down to the year? I was born in 1946...

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