The North Coast might just be the perfect place to eat. Few other places in the world can offer such a harmonious blend of chefs, farmers, fishermen, and foragers working together with winemakers and brew masters to create culinary magic. With the ocean’s bounty to the west, sustainable farms and vineyards and artisanal food makers everywhere else, the North Coast naturally draws remarkable chefs interested in preparing ultra-fresh dishes that reflect what’s growing right now. Settings range from white-napkin finery to a chowder shack by the pier. Farmers’ markets here are friendly affairs, and they’re a great way to mingle with locals and sample the region’s bounty. Cheese-makers have a strong hold here, with sheep, goats, and cows getting plenty of sweet grass in surrounding hills.
"Farmers’ markets here are friendly affairs, and they’re a great way to mingle with locals and sample the region’s bounty."
And of course, there’s the sea. Locally caught wild fish is a staple on just about every menu, as well as seasonal crab and one of the world’s most prized foods, abalone.
Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose-filled gardens.
Each year, December through May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.
It’s also a place where a new generation of farmers and winemakers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favorite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breathtaking Redwoods National and State Parks.
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