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I recently had the pleasure of traveling up the California coastline to Mendocino and staying at the Stanford Inn by the Sea, a bucolic resort tucked into a wooded hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. James and I were warmly greeted by co-owner Jeff Stanford as well as Sid Garza-Hillman, author, certified nutritionist and head-of-kitchen at The Ravens, the hotel’s celebrated, haute cuisine restaurant.

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From the balcony of our room we savored a platter of macaroons, raspberries and cappuccino ice cream, all hand-made at The Ravens, while gazing upon gardens where they grow food for the kitchen, which led into a pasture where rescued horses, llamas and donkeys grazed, overlooking the sun setting into the Pacific. It seemed surreal yet warmly nostalgic. We lit the fireplace and absorbed the incense of a crackling fire while getting ready for dinner.

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The food was consistently fantastic, and they have one of the largest vegan brunch menus in the country, which is included if you stay at the inn. They have a canoe rental with vintage redwood canoes which you can take out for several hours on the bright-blue estuary, there’s an enclosed greenhouse pool, jacuzzi and sauna, and even a massage therapist who will get those knots out while you relax in the forest.

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We ended our second evening with a Pinkus Hefeweizen from the bar while wandering the gardens taking macro shots with my Olloclip of the plants and pollinators. It had all gone by too fast and felt like a mix of my fondest camp memories with a luxury twist and set of handsome ethics. I can’t wait to go back!

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