Monday, June 4, 2012

A Little Cottage On The North Coast

My first few years in Mendocino, I lived at the inn. I loved living at the inn. People always asked me if it was hard to seperate my work from my leisure, it wasn't. Guests were always respectful, the inn seldom intruded on my private time. And I really enjoyed getting to know the guests.

But the economy intruded and it made more sense to put the suite of rooms I was living in back into service. I started to look for a place to hang my hat nearby.

Friends of mine that I met up here invited me to rent the one-bedroom apartment above the garage on their ranch in Albion. Within 6 months of moving there, I met Sarah, we were married and soon after, we moved into a little 2 bedroom cottage on another part of the ranch.

This little cottage was at one time the milking barn. We are very lucky to be fortunate enough to live here. We have a huge rolling lawn with a great view of the ocean. In addition to having two baths inside, it also has an outdoor shower for those warm days when the thermometer reaches 60 :)

I miss living at the inn, but Sarah and I love our little cottage. And with a new addition to the family due in August, I think the guests at the inn will appreciate the fact that we no longer live near their rooms.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pura Vida Brings The Afro-Carribean Beat To The Coast

Again, everyone has a second job up here in Mendocino. Margi, a long-time innkeeper here at Brewery Gulch, has a band with her husband, Jorge. Pura Vida is extremely popular in Mendocino county. Their pan-latin repertoire includes rumba, mambo, chachacha, samba and cumba. Pura Vida was recently featured at the Anderson Valley Pinot Festival. You can listen to clips from their latest CD here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Thoughtfulness of Guests

We have a couple that has stayed with us for the past three years. They always come in May, they are from Staffordshire and they are just the nicest people. Somehow, maybe through my blog, or maybe through Facebook, they heard that Sarah and I are expecting. They brought this little music box all the way from England! This is why I wanted to be an innkeeper...for the relationships you develop with guests over the years. Thank you, Ken and Barbara.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friends Helping Friends

The Ritz, an old squatters cabin perched above the Big River in Comptche
The view of the Big River from the cabin
Unloading the wall that Barry built

As handy as I get

Moving the wall into place

Bolted down and ready for action

Barry is a very handy guy. He has a little cabin in the woods that he has gradually rebuilt from it's very run down state when he aquired it. His latest project was to create a mudroom. He built the new exterior wall at his house out here on the coast and recruited a few friends to help him with the wall raising (and of course, subsequent barbecue).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creatures of the Gulch

I love the collection of creatures that make their homes here at the inn. Caputured in just one day here on the grounds of Brewery Gulch, photographer John Bernal shot these pictures of just a few of our many friends.

Two of our many mule deer that frequent our meadow in the mornings and the evenings.

A California quail in the brush off the back deck.

An Acorn Woodpecker that finally chased the squirrel off of one of the feeders.

A Scrub Jay waiting for his turn at the feeder.

Stellar Jay, the bully of the neighborhood.
One of the turkeys looking for reception. They really are kind of dumb.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Devil's In The Details

From all the traveling I have done over the years, I have learned that at a hotel, like elsewhere in life, the details make or break the experience. The poolman that remembers your name year after year, the hotel staff that remembers what kind of pillows you like, the welcome you receive when you first arrive.

One of the best things about owning the inn is the chance to put this experience into practice. And I'm lucky to work with a manager and staff that have the same orientation and commitment. We try to note guest preferences such as the guest that likes a backboard on his side of the bed, or the guest that needs scent-free amenities, so that whenever the guest visits, they feel at home.

One of the greatest compliments a guest can pay to our staff is to tell us that as soon as they cross the threshold, they can relax because they know the details have been taken care of.

Time and the Maiden

Construction on the Mendocino Masonic Temple was begun in 1866 and took 7 years to complete. Along with the Presbyterian Church on Main Street, this building is one of Mendocino' iconic landmarks.

What makes this building instantly recognizable to anyone that has visited Mendocino is the visually arresting statue situated on top of the building's cupola. Entitled Time and the Maiden, this beautiful sculpture was carved by Mason and local lumber mill employee, Erick Jensen, from a single block of redwood.

In his beach shack on the Big River, Erick labored over this piece in his spare time. The statue depicts Father Time, the Hourglass of Transience, the Weeping Maiden, the Anointment of Her Hair, the Acacia Branch and the Sacred Urn, the Sundered Column and the Book of Light -- all symbols within the Masonic Order.

The Savings Bank of Mendocino purchased this building, deeding retention of the meeting hall and kitchen to the Masons, and has preserved and maintained it ever since.