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Gray whales make a cool 10,000-mile round trip each year. They give birth in the warm Southern California waters before heading north with their newborn calves. Mamas swim close to the coast to keep their babies protected from predators. A breach like this is a rare but amazing sight. And you have about three weeks left this month to catch a glimpse before the whales head out of state!
The Esther’s Sazerac (Bulleit rye, St. George absinthe, bitters, sugar cube and lemon peel) is one of the house cocktails on Barbelow’s classic menu.
Although it’s now defunct, the Point Arena Lighthouse is the tallest on the Pacific Coast (115 feet) and the closest point of land to the Hawaiian Islands on the continental U.S. Photo by Bob Wick.
Bowling Ball Beach’s signature stone orbs are visible at low tide, but they will take some searching to find. Take the trail at the parking lot where Schooner Gulch Road meets Highway 1. Be prepared to descend a short rope ladder and cross a stream via fallen tree trunk before hitting the beach.
Right now, a pod of gray whales is making its northern migration from the shallow lagoons of Baja, California, to the frigid waters of Alaska. You have approximately three weeks to get to Mendocino to see these mamas with their newborn calves before they head out of state. So pack up those binoculars and get out of Dodge.
Shack up Mendocino is a small town, chockablock with charming bed-and-breakfasts, but Brewery Gulch Inn (from $275 a night) stands out. It?s the only lodge in the area with a full-time chef, which means slow-braised beef brisket hash and eggs for breakfast, plus a robust food-and-wine happy hour.
Nautical eats Head to Mendo Bistro and order the crab cakes with tarragon aioli and cabbage salad. Downstairs at Barbelow (open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays), night owls can sip a Sazerac before turning in.
Catch a whale Last month, the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands became a national monument. Make a stop at the historic Point Arena Lighthouse. The main trail is perfect for whale spotting. Head a little farther south to Bowling Ball Beach, where giant stone orbs are visible at low tide. From the bluff, look for whale spouts or the faint trace of a tail out of the water about a mile offshore.
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