French impressionist Claude Monet once stated that “my garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”
Considering the splendor of his paintings, inspired by his gardens at his Giverny home in northern France, this comparison is notable.
Gardens can bring joy and a sense that all is right with the world, and many pretty-as-a-picture gardens can be found at inns, bed-and-breakfasts and boutique hotels – places that are out of reach right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But 41 of these lodgings have come together to bring their diverse gardens to housebound travelers with a virtual tour. This free Inn to Inn Garden Tour is divided into three categories according to geography: the Northeast Region, Southern Region, and West, Midwest and Abroad (the latter group includes gardens in Italy and British Columbia).
Each entry includes multiple photos, a history of the property, contact information and location relative to main urban areas. California’s contribution is the Stanford Inn and Resort in Mendocino, three hours north of San Francisco.
Overlooking a stunning Mendocino Bay, the inn features, among other planted beauties, a USDA certified organic farm. I quickly got lost in a video featured on the resort’s website about mushroom hunting in the area’s rich and bountiful forest.
All of the participating properties in the virtual tour are part of the Still Inn Business campaign, launched to help its 300-member innkeepers stay visible and maintain industry optimism.
Like many businesses within the tourism industry, it’s been a tough year for those who own and run independent lodging. In addition to the loss of income, some proprietors must contend with the possible loss of their homes, since many B&B owners live on the premises.
Speaking of Mendocino…the county wants visitors to know it is uniquely situated to offer outdoor activities that meet the criteria for social distancing. Several lodges on this beautiful stretch of California’s northern coast have these specials:
- Noyo Harbor Inn & Restaurant – This hilltop property overlooking a quaint working harbor offers a complimentary bottle of local wine and a kayak experience-for-two with Liquid Fusion Kayaking with a three-night stay. No kayaking experience required.
- Little River Inn Resort – Owned and operated by the same family for five generations, this made-for-the-movies cliffside lodging offers a complimentary star-gazing package with a two-night booking of a room with two queen beds. Package includes binoculars, star map, star guide, flashlight ad hot chocolate. Nearby: hiking trails at Van Damme State Park and the Van Damme State Beach.
- Brewery Gulch Inn – Storm-watching is a cherished pastime on the Mendocino Coast, and this contemporary, cozy inn has the perfect perch on dramatic bluffs (sign up for storm alerts on the website). The inn’s Bonfire Package includes s’mores, beach chairs, blanket, Bluetooth speaker and a star map. The inn occupies three acres of mature pines and redwoods, wetland ponds, wooded glens and gardens.
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