Choices! Choice! Choices!
By Sandra Scott
Choices. Choices. Choices. Making a decision can be difficult but it is especially hard when all the choices are equally wonderful. MacCallum House, in the heart of Mendocino, just off California’s famed Highway One, is set on two beautifully landscaped acres. The choices at MacCallum House are varied and unique. The Main House is complemented with accommodations in a variety of outbuildings.
In the Main House guests can relax in the Gwen MacCallum Room featuring a sleigh bed and a claw foot tub for two. In the unique category is the three-story Water Tower room with a sauna, jetted spa tub for two, and gas fireplace. Built in the late 1800s, the Tower has a working redwood tank on the top and the original hand-dug well that still produces water. Guests can check out the well 50 feet below through the viewing window on the floor. The image conjured up by the word “barn” will change forever for guests who choose to luxuriate in the Upper Barn Suite with its river stone fireplace, spa tub for two, two-person sauna, and deck with views of the ocean and picturesque village. If Mendocino looks familiar it is because it has been the setting of many movies and television shows. It was Cabot Cove, the setting for “Murder She Wrote.” It is a great little town with art galleries and small historical museums close to the classic Skunk Train tours.
The luxurious Victorian mansion is perched on the highest hill in Mendocino overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Main House was “Daisy” Kelley’s wedding present from her father when she married Alexander MacCallum. Daisy was a world traveler, but she always returned to Mendocino, because she said it was “the most beautiful spot on God’s green earth.” When Daisy was at this home, she frequently entertained artists, writers, and musicians. Often the talk turned to travel, the arts, and the art of fine dining. Similar conversations can be overheard today in front of the Gray Whale Bar’s fireplace or on the wrap-around front porch, while guests sip local wine and enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres during the afternoon cocktail time.
The award-winning restaurant is housed in the former library featuring a river-stone fireplaces, oil lamps, and tables graced with garden flowers. The chef, Alan Kantor, boasts that, “Everything we serve is prepared in our own kitchen, including breads, hand rolled pastas, and smoked meat, fish or poultry. We use only the freshest seasonal ingredients and feature local and regional organic and products whenever possible.”
Guests will see the innkeepers’ personal touches and attention to detail everywhere. The owners, Jed and Megan Ayres, who were high school sweethearts, and Noah Sheppard, grew up in Mendocino and attended Mendocino High School together. During high school Jed and Noah worked at the MacCallum House under the current chef, one as a line cook and the other as dishwasher/prep cook. They took over the property in 2002.
Whether guests choose one of the six rooms in the Main House, or accommodations in one of the seven cottages, or one of the six rooms in the Barn, they will fall in love with MacCallum House. Many guests return time and again to their favorite accommodation. But, most try a different experience with each visit, such as choosing Daisy’s own bedroom with a queen-sized sleigh bed and warm wainscot walls one time, and the Carriage house featuring a Franklin stove and private patio with a hot tub the next time. Regardless, guests can expect the Innkeepers and staff to provide special services such as picnic baskets, limousine service, a masseuse, and flowers to make the stay even more memorable. The Innkeepers want guests to feel like they do and remember Daisy’s claim that Mendocino is the “most beautiful place in the world.”
If you go:
The MacCullum House Inn & Restaurant, www.maccallumhouse.com.
Mendocino information: www.gomendo.com
Photos courtesy of Sandra Scott, John Scott, and MacCallum House