Sparkling sunshine, brisk sea air and a rustic wooden bench or picnic table with stunning ocean views, anyone? Mendocino and its neighboring towns offer all sorts of charming picnic possibiltiies — and plenty of places to pick up tasty provisions, whether you’re doing the picnic-to-go option at Trillium or grabbing sammies at the market.
So here are three picnic venue suggestions and two places to pick up picnic fare.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
This state park wraps around the village of Mendocino, offering easy trails, quiet beaches and miles of easy hiking trails. Pop into the visitors center and museum tucked inside the historic Ford House, which was built in 1854, then head out to the park’s lush lawns, which are dotted with picnic tables.
Details: The park is open for day use daily at 735 Main St. in Mendocino; www.parks.ca.gov.
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park
Stroll out to this 1909 lighthouse — it’s a half-mile walk from the parking lot, with handicapped parking available near the lighthouse itself — to take in spectacular views. There are picnic tables next to the lighthouse and near the lighthouse keepers’ houses.
Details: The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily; the lighthouse is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find the park at 13800 Point Cabrillo Drive, just north of Mendocino; www.parks.ca.gov and https://pointcabrillo.org.
Noyo Headlands Park
The Noyo River meets the Pacific Ocean in dramatic fashion at this Fort Bragg park. The 104-acre park includes a relatively recent addition to the California Coastal Trail that opened a long-inaccessible section of coastline. Now a 6-mile, ADA-accessible trail meanders along the headlands, with 18 artists’ benches and several picnic tables tucked here and there.
Details: Open daily. There are parking lots at the southern and northern ends of the park, including one at the end of Cypress Street, north of the Fort Bragg’s Noyo bridge, and one near Glass Beach on Elm Street; www.city.fortbragg.com.
The Trillium Picnic Box
Sure, you could brown bag it with a sandwich on your lap. Or you could picnic with an actual tablecloth and napkins, dishes, silverware, wine glasses, a fizzy St. Germain cocktail, perhaps, and a Point Reyes Blue cheese salad ($15) and grilled wild prawn and avocado sandwich ($20). And a dazzled spouse or beau.
Mendocino’s Trillium Cafe serves lunch and dinner alfresco on the patio — or in a Trillium Picnic Box you order ahead, pick up on your way to your picnic, then drop off afterward. Open Friday-Tuesday at 10390 Kasten Street in Mendocino. Find the picnic box details and peek at the menu at www.trilliummendocino.com.
The Harvest Market at Mendosa’s option
This longtime market and deli offers pre-made sandwiches in the refrigerator case, as well as deli salads, organic produce and various chip options. The pre-made sammies are fine, just make sure you pick up packets of mustard and mayo — they’re near the door — to give your sandwich a little more oomph.
Mendocino’s Harvest Market opens at 7 a.m. daily at 10501 Lansing St. Fort Bragg’s Harvest Market opens at 6 a.m. daily at 171 Boatyard Drive. Find details at www.harvestmarket.com.
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