One of the things that makes my job as Director of Barketing for Mendocino County such fun is how fortunate I am to get to try many different lodging and dining experiences. Then in turn, I get the enviable task of sharing these tail-wagging adventures with you in the hope that you will get the opportunity to bring along the uprights and enjoy a play day or two with us in Mendocino County. Each property I review offers a unique experience for furry guests. For my latest review I got to stay once again in one of my favorite towns, Elk, as it is known in present day; to the locals of days past, Greenwood is the name that still resonates.
Elk/Greenwood has a rich and varied history celebrated and honored by The Griffin House Inn. The Inn is a colorful and intricate part of the Elk/Greenwood community and has hosted everyone from hippies to yuppies (If anyone is familiar with the 60s musical group ‘Cat’s Meow’, they were frequent guests). I don’t particularly care for felines, but I am very curious about the group’s name and on my visit I did see a couple of the four legged variety patrolling the grounds. Each of the eight well-appointed and cozy cottages is named after a prominent historical individual or family that have (and still) contribute to the development and lively history of the town. The three ocean view cottages offer guests an intimate encounter with the dramatic splendor of the Elk Coast. Perched on what I can only describe as the ‘edge of the earth’ our cottage, The Matson, has an unobstructed view of the naturally carved arches that have formed over the centuries into the giant rock formations that lie just off the private cove below. Remnants of the wooden trestles that carried the trains full of lumber precariously out onto the giant rocks and then on to the waiting schooners off shore are still visible.
From the moment you step inside the cottage and feast your eyes on the vista before you and step out onto the deck, real time will cease to matter. Relaxation, contemplation and quality time with each other, individually and/or with your furry friend(s) immediately begins. As my dads continued unloading the car and getting us settled into the cottage, I stayed out on the deck and jumped up and made immediate use of the Adirondack chairs to get some rays and enjoy the feel of the ocean breeze blowing through my fur.
With no in-room TV or phone to distract, the only sounds that fill the air is the comforting rhythm of the waves marking their arrival on land and the occasional call of birds. Wood-slatted privacy screens separate the cottages but do not obstruct the views. The comfortable Adirondack chairs with their footstools are perfect for lounging and contemplating the beauty before you. A variety of books and games have been thoughtfully supplied inside the cottage and heat comes from a faux wood gas fire in the main space and a portable radiator located in the bathroom. Wi-Fi is available in the cottages and Bridget Dolan’s Pub, which is part of The Griffin House Inn, serves, according to my dads, some good and tasty pub fare. There are a couple of tables for alfresco dining, weather permitting, but alas even though we had sun and clear blue skies, by the time the uprights where ready for dinner it was too cool to eat outside. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to tell you about a meal experience at Bridget Dolan’s in the not too distant future.
Upon check-in at the Griffin House Inn you will be asked if you have any dietary restrictions and if you prefer coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the morning and you are given a choice of times for breakfast delivery. The next morning about 30 minutes after the beverages were delivered a delicious homemade breakfast was brought to our room. Cranberry juice, fresh fruit along with two corn tortillas topped with fried eggs, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado and my all-time favorite – BACON. After breakfast my dad took me for a walk. We walked to the Greenwood State Beach Museum and Visitors Center then followed the headlands north; I stopped plenty of times as there were lots of interesting smells. My dad did not seem to mind the interruptions as he was intent on photographing the stunning vistas and wild flowers that blanketed the headlands. We soon arrived at the Greenwood State Beach and traversed the path down to the beach. At the top of the path are picnic tables, restroom facilities and recycling/garbage cans. The path to the beach is wide and slopes gradually but it does cover some steep terrain. You surely will get your exercise coming back up. On the beach itself there are picnic tables and BBQ pits. Someone had made a wooden shelter from driftwood; I went inside, as it was cool and shady. Make sure your uprights bring some fresh water and a bowl to drink out of as the walk, the sea air and sunshine can make us thirsty. Also, don’t forget the poop bags for disposal, as there are none provided.
Since the weather was so beautiful my dads decided to pick up a picnic lunch from the Elk Store on our way back from the beach to enjoy on the deck at our cottage. At the Elk Store you can pick up a nice selection of everyday staples. They have everything you might need for a great picnic as well; a great selection of cheeses, deli meats, vegetables, homemade desserts, snacks and chips along with local wines, beers and sodas and they make delicious made to order sandwiches. They also carry some wonderful products made in Mendocino County, souvenirs and postcards.
For those who love history, Elk/Greenwood has an amazing, colorful and varied story to tell. Several books are available for purchase at The Elk Store and Greenwood State Beach Museum and Visitors Center that vividly recall the origins of the town back when the town had around 3500 residents in and around the area along with 10 hotels, 15 saloons, several dance halls, three general stores and several popular brothels.
After my walk and our satisfying lunch we all settled in for the afternoon basking in the feeling of tranquility that only true relaxation brings as we watched and listened to the gentle sounds of the ocean. My uprights read books, sipped wine and we all simply let the outside world fade into distant memory. We observed the birds as they passed so low and close to the cliff that we got a bird’s eye view of them for a change. I know that if my uprights had let me, I could have caught one; I just know it. Soon the afternoon faded to evening and the sky began its amazing kaleidoscope of color changes and we all watched transfixed. I was snugly wrapped up in my blanket curled contently in my upright’s lap watching a wonderful sunset on the edge of the world surrounded by love.
If your uprights are like mine, do you ever hear them lament how they wish they could stop the world and grasp a moment of silence? Sometimes all the noise of the world can drive one crazy, when all you can seem to hear is the cacophony of the instruments of 21st century life – that invasion of the senses that emits continually from every kind of electronic device – stop it in its tracks! Stay at the Griffin House Inn cottages, where you can finally switch it all off and hear only the symphony of the ocean and the a cappella choral sounds of sea birds as they glide by while you relax and, like me, contemplate the flight of birds.
Please visit www.griffininn.com for further information.
Griffin House Inn
5910 South Highway 1
P O Box 190
Elk, California 95432