The New York Times

36 Hours in Mendocino County

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Ninety miles north of San Francisco, Mendocino County is just faraway enough to have narrowly escaped the Bay Area’s radical transformation during the tech boom years. In contrast to other formerly quiet Northern California backwaters, Mendocino maintains its rural identity and eccentricities, including its long-standing status as one of the country’s major marijuana-producing regions. Where there is big news, it’s largely culinary. The 30-year-old chef at Elk’s Harbor House Inn was recently named a James Beard award semifinalist for Best Chef in the West. Besides the Harbor House’s eight- to 12-course, $150 per person prix fixe dinners, there are cheesemakers, upstart breweries, exceptional farm stands — notably Fort Bragg’s Nye Ranch and Caspar’s Fortunate Farm — and farm-inspired restaurants, like the long-awaited, soon-to-open Fog Eater Cafe, which began as a farm pop-up, and will serve “California cuisine with a Southern twang.” After years of population stagnation, young people are moving in, or coming home, and committing themselves to Mendocino’s fertile soil and sea. It’s a second wave back-to-the-land movement and a welcome reprieve from

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