Photography by Yuri Krasov
Fresh green grass after the rain, pine trees with lacy moss hanging from their branches, a stretch of the road with hardly any vehicle passing by, a veil of fog over Smuggles Cove’s splashing waves, and a few lawn chairs made of silvery drift wood placed on a hill to face the ocean… That was the view from our room at the Brewery Gulch Inn near Chapman Point in Mendocino – a magical place to which my thoughts travel back again and again, unable to break the spell.
Upon arrival at this country inn, rather new, and tastefully decorated with handcrafted wooden furniture in honey colors; leather sofas; bird-patterned throw pillows, and contemporary art pieces awashed in light streaming from the tall windows, my husband and I felt immediately at home, greeted by a smiling concierge Sarah Rowe with long mermaid hair, and a scattering of shiny AAA Diamond award plaques on the wall behind her back.
A word “Brewery” was placed in big vertical letters between the double clear-glass French doors leading to the outdoor terrace overlooking the misty ocean. When I asked Guy Pacurar, the Brewery Gulch Inn hospitable proprietor, if there’s indeed a brewery located anywhere on the property, he smiled and said that that was just the name of some former land owner. A detailed map of the area mentioned Breurry Gulch (which probably evolved colloquially into “Brewery” over time) but the historical spelling of the gulch’s name was the least of our concerns. We were mostly preoccupied by the immense beauty of the place; by our conflicting desires to sit by the fireplace, to linger on our balcony, to rush for the cameras and photograph a flock of wild turkeys parading by the Inn’s small parking lot – and a nagging realization that our stay here was too short – even before it really started!
Our room, “Osprey,” with a warm rustic feel, nautical/Native-American décor, and luxurious Sferra linens over a featherbed, was equipped with leather armchairs by the gas fireplace, a desk, a flat screen TV, a spacious wardrobe, and a full bathroom with high class Asprey amenities, Himalayan bath salts and thick Abyss towels.
Since Ms. Rowe reminded us about the nightly served dinner at 5:30 p.m. (included in the room rate, same as breakfast) prepared by the Inn’s private chef, and paired with the famed local wines and artisanal beers, we decided not to venture too far from the Inn, especially that our drive from the San Francisco Bay Area took quite a few hours with frequent photo stops along the breathtakingly beautiful Mendocino coast.
What was called “light dinner” on the Inn’s website turned out to be a rather substantial meal with freshly-prepared salad; crab cakes made with locally-caught seasonal Dungeness crab, accompanied by two dipping sauces; a grilled vegetable medley; a main course chicken and vegetable casserole, and a couple of house-made cakes for dessert!
The buffet-style meal was served at the Great Room, where Inn guests were seated in comfortable big chairs by the large tables around the four-sided fireplace of swanky contemporary design.
The next morning, a lavish breakfast was served in the same Great Room, prepared by the same excellent chef from premium organic products, and served by the friendly staff, including Mr. Pacurar himself. After we indulged in an array of fresh-squeezed juices, eggs Benedict, cooked-to-order omelet, the Inn’s special Millionaire’s bacon, and more home-made cakes, all served on artful china, he handed us a thoughtfully prepared list of places to visit around the Inn, with detailed directions, and notes like “tasting fee waived for Brewery Gulch Inn guests” across from the names of spectacular wineries with highest-rated pinot noirs and chardonnays and great ocean views.
We spent the day exploring the many parks and beaches of stunning beauty – marveling at the crashing waves next to a truckful of curious dogs, tasting wines at the Pacific Star winery with a row of red Adirondack chairs placed movie-theater style over the majestic Pacific; visited a poignantly lonesome lighthouse at Point Cabrillo, gilded by the setting sun, and return back to the fireplace warmth, and delicious aromas coming from the kitchen of our home away from home. Before we checked in, we were asked by the Guest Services to please warn the staff if we had dinner plans elsewhere. With the preparation of all meals right at the Inn using locally sourced fresh ingredients it was critical for the staff to calculate the right amount of produce needed for each meal, plan accordingly and avoid food waste.
Knowing from experience that the “light dinner” will not only be varied and delicious, but will satisfy the heartiest appetite, we surely didn’t have any plans to go out. That night, a succulent steak and roasted potatoes were accompanied by a fresh salad with sweet corn, mushroom ragout, a cheese plate, and those tempting sweets – too good to skip.
We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean, and slept soundly through the night like never before!
On our way back home, we stopped at the artist’s studio of Rebecca Johnson – a Brewery Gulch Inn featured artist. Her striking paintings of lonely barns (made of real barn wood collected at demolition sites) against green fields and blue skies, placed on the walls of the Inn impressed us so much that we decided to visit her studio, and meet with the artist of a great poetic vision.
Apparently, we weren’t alone in our desire to see more of Ms. Johnson’s work. On our list of places to visit shared by Mr. Pacurar, her studio was mentioned at the very top, and clearly marked by the amount of miles to drive from the Inn.
To help guests prepare for their stay, the Brewery Gulch Inn website has a What To Do section with suggested itineraries and an annual calendar of events as well as a link to Mendocino’s official website with plentiful information on local sites, area restaurants, and festivals. The Pre-Arrival Concierge section lists a variety of services and activities, including massages, wine tours, chocolate tastings, restaurant reservations, and horseback rides that can be arranged prior to arrival.
To book your stay at the Brewery Gulch Inn, go to: http://www.brewerygulchinn.com/.