By Vic Gerami
Boho chic Mendocino County is Northern California’s secret and welcoming weekend retreat for all. Known for its dramatic coastline, towering redwoods, charming inns, award-winning wines, and a heritage of local cuisine, the area is just a three-hour drive from San Francisco.
This year, for the first time ever, a special Mendocino Pride: Chasing the Rainbow experience will be held from Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23, making it the perfect place to unwind before San Francisco Pride (June 29-30). KCBS Radio’s “Foodie Chap” Liam Mayclem is the MC for three days of activities that comprise a fun exploration of what Mendocino has to offer in a scenic and festive setting. Festival goers will enjoy wine tasting and a welcome reception on Day 1, a sandcastle contest and a Rainbow Express ride aboard the Skunk Train on Day 2, and a brunch at Queenie’s and a visit to B. Bryan Preserve on Day 3.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21
1PM to 4PM The festivities kick off along Route 128, Mendocino’s wine highway through Anderson Valley, with a wine tasting at the Madrones, a Mediterranean-inspired estate with three on-site wineries. Registration is on site. The Madrones, 9000 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466.
6PM-7:30PM Liam Mayclem hosts the exclusive welcome reception featuring local wine and appetizers at Glendeven Inn & Lodge, a modern lodge nestled amongst the pines. There will be another opportunity to register at this event. Glendeven Inn & Lodge, 8211 North, CA-1, Little River, CA 95456.
SATURDAY, JUNE 22
1PM Attendees enjoy Mendocino’s beautiful coast with a sandcastle contest on Big River Beach, just south of the quaint and windswept town of Mendocino, renowned for its caught-in-amber ambiance and unchanged architecture, reminiscent of a New England fishing village. Toy buckets and shovels provided—serious competitors should bring their own tools. Big River Beach (river side), Mendocino, 95460.
8PM All aboard the Rainbow Express to a dance party in the Redwoods. Built in the 1800s to transport logs, today the historic Skunk Train offers access to the depths of the virgin forest. The dancing takes place at charming Glen Blair Junction, the train’s turnaround in a grove of redwoods. Beer, wine and snacks will be available while guests boogie down—one complimentary drink included with each Pride Festival Pass. Tickets for the Rainbow Express and party can be purchased separately for $65 per person at here Skunk Depot, Foot of Laurel Street, Fort Bragg 95437.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23
8AM to 3PM Brunch on the bucolic South Coast of Mendocino, at legendary Queenie’s Roadhouse Café. They serve organic traditional American food along historic state Route One, a few hundred feet from the Pacific. A local institution in a hundred-year old former livery stable, you can also dine al fresco at their redwood tables—and don’t forget to try their famous pie. Queenie’s Roadhouse Café, 6061 CA-1, Elk, CA 95432.
1PM-4PM Participants can commune with animals, including endangered zebras and mellow giraffes, on a Safari Tour of B. Bryan Preserve, a private preserve that protects and breeds these rare animals on their expansive acres in charming Point Arena, California. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with a giraffe and get a wet kiss to finish off the Mendocino weekend. 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. tour must be reserved at time of registration. B. Bryan Preserve, 130 Riverside Dr., Point Arena, CA 95468.
Mendocino Pride’s Festival Pass is available for purchase here or by calling the Little River Inn at 707.937.5942.
Further information on Mendocino Pride: Chasing the Rainbow can be found here.