.Mendo Me: A Spring Coastal Getaway

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Elk Cove, which offers some of the most stunning views on the Mendocino coast, as well as luxury suites, cottages and a day spa, is dog-friendly too.

Spring in Mendocino County is one of the best times of year. While the wind can sometimes still be a bit nippy, the menus are changing over from winter vegetables and Dungeness crab to spring fare such as asparagus, beets, cabbage and halibut. Wildflowers are starting to bloom, and there are plenty of gorgeous sunny days to be enjoyed—without the crowds that summer brings.

For those who are looking for a coastal retreat that offers peace, privacy, ocean views, a fantastic on-site restaurant and beach access, the newly updated Elk Cove Inn and Spa is an ideal choice.

The Updated Elk Cove Inn and Spa

Built in 1893, the Elk Cove Inn and Spa is a Craftsman style mansion that was converted into one of the first bed and breakfasts on the Mendocino coast in 1968. The inn sits on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The property features four oceanfront suites, four cliffside cottages, two carriage-house rooms and six mansion rooms (located in a separate historic building/former mansion), 12 of which are pet-friendly. Pet-friendly rooms include five ocean view suites.

When new owners Victor Passalacqua (the chef) and wife Melissa (a sommelier) took ownership of the Elk Cove Inn and Spa a few years ago, their vision for the property wasn’t to change everything—but instead to update the existing property and to open a farm-to-table restaurant (SIBO) on the property, where they could serve food made with ingredients sourced from their own culinary garden and farm and/or caught or foraged locally.

Since opening, the Passalacquas added a greenhouse (for vegetables and herbs), a culinary garden, honey bees, chickens, goats and rabbits to the property. Eggs from the chickens make their appearance at breakfast, while rabbit, fish, sea creatures and mushrooms (caught or foraged by Victor Passalacqua) are normally featured on the dinner menu.

The property, which has always been dog-friendly, remains so under the new ownership. “We have four dogs of our own, and we know how hard it is to find an elegant escape that allows you to bring your pups,” says Melissa Passalacqua. “We don’t just allow dogs—we welcome them as part of our family.”

The inn may be the most luxurious dog-friendly accommodation option on the coast—featuring a day spa and large suites or apartments with plenty of windows, ocean views, private decks, kitchenettes and bathrooms with both a large, soaking tub and a separate shower. All rooms are just steps from a dirt path and private stairs that lead down to a peaceful, driftwood strewn beach. The inn is also situated just a two minute walk from the Elk Store and Mattson Mercantile.

In the mood for something more immersive than hanging out at the beach or hitting local hiking trails? Elk Cove offers guests the options of several unique, outdoor activities, from tidepooling and fishing expeditions to ocean canoeing (advance reservation required).

Chef Victor and Melisssa Passalacqua have also planned a series of food and wine lover experiences over the course of eight weekends in 2023. In January, they offered a mushroom foraging expedition; in November, they will be introducing participants to tide pooling and fishing, followed by a seafood-centric dinner.

March and October will feature an Anderson Valley Winemaker’s dinner with wine and food pairings. And in April and May, the couple will explore the farm to table concept with guests—including farm visits, cooking demonstrations and dinners.


Spring specials at Elk Cove include Free Tuesdays (for any three-night booking that includes a Tuesday, the Tuesday night is free) and $100 off regular room rates for garden view rooms through March 31. elkcoveinn.com.

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