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Heritage House Inn

The Perfect Out-of-Town Recharge

Mendocino County has become one of the most vaunted areas in California for romantic weekend expeditions, and for good reason. Take Heritage House Inn -- a beautiful cliffside hamlet in the diminutive borough of Little River, California, that offers 37 acres of majestic solitude from the riff-raff of city life.

Whether you want to hang out on the gazebo with a specially prepared picnic hamper from the inn’s delectable restaurant, or rent a kayak and venture out past the pebbly shores of the estate’s private beach, Heritage House Inn is the kind of place you can explore for hours. Unsurprisingly, this 19th century lodge is a prime destination for lovebirds, and a bevy of elopement and wedding packages is available to make that special occasion one that’s imprinted on the memory.

Built in 1877, the inn has seen the addition of several new rooms throughout the decades, as well as an expansion of the sprawling grounds. Forty-seven detached suites dapple the hillside and range from contemporary to traditional. Resort-goers reluctant to part with their cell phones or sacrifice their link to the outside world needn’t fret: huge flat-screen TVs, phones, wireless Internet, and preloaded iPods will make you feel right at home. As for the deluxe appointments, feather beds, spacious private patios, a full mini-bar, a sunken Jacuzzi tub, and rainfall showers will make you feel like you’re sitting pretty in your own private resort.

For the full epicurean experience, a visit to Chef Nancy Kinchela’s restaurant -- straight down the hall from the inn’s main lobby -- is definitely in order. Kinchela brings with her a treasure trove of experience from some of the world’s busiest and most glamorous cities, including Dubai, London, and Melbourne. The food is California cuisine with a distinctly European influence. Garden-grown ingredients, local specialties, and enticing wine pairings are what keep the crowds coming back for more, whether they’re staying at Heritage House or not.

If you’re worried that Heritage House Inn might bring out your more sedentary side, think again. One of the singular treats of our stay was a four-hour wine-tasting tour through the Anderson Valley, generally known for its optimum grape-growing conditions and its pinot noir. In fact, the inn offers guests a variety of things to do, from wine-tasting to horseback riding to private plane charters. Just tell the concierge what your interests are and they’ll fashion something especially for you.

Make sure you also get the opportunity to relax at the on-site spa. Products and treatments were devised in conjunction with ESPA, a line of services derived from aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, and other holistic/restorative treats. Four private treatment suites in two buildings offer everything from dry wraps to facials to couples massage. After your treatment, you can retire to your suite’s private deck, sipping herbal tea and admiring the ocean view.

As the weather gets warmer and the days get shorter, make sure you get some down time and pay a visit to this bucolic hamlet. I can’t think of a better recharge.