State Highway 128 may just be the greatest stretch of California road you’ve never heard of. On its roughly 55-mile run northwest, the highway leads to a little of something for everyone—especially foodies.
Soon after the highway crosses into Mendocino County from U.S. 101, you’ll reach the Yorkville Highlands wine region. The area is home to 25 vineyards; Cabernet Sauvignon is the most prominent grape. If you love Bordeaux wines, stop in for a free tasting at the all-organic Yorkville Cellars, which grows the eight main grapes from that fabled French region. More than 3,000 kinds of mushrooms thrive here, and over at Maple Creek Winery, artist/owner Tom Rodrigues will give you a mini master mycology course during your tasting.
In another 10 miles, in the Anderson Valley, you’ll reach Boonville, home to Boontling, a folk language that’s been spoken for more than 100 years. Tour the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, where you can try the rare barrel-aged releases for some “bahl hornin”(Boontling for “good drinking”). Then fling your cares away on the disc-golf course (BYO discs).
Dubbing itself “a modern roadhouse,” the Boonville Hotel blends country style and contemporary sophistication in its rooms and at its restaurant, Table 128.
Start day two a few miles north at the Philo Apple Farm, which is about more than apples—although you will find endless heirloom varieties at its farm stand. Spend the night at the working farm and join special Stay & Cook sessions to learn new kitchen skills. Nearby, hike through redwoods and cool off in the swimming hole at Hendy Woods State Park.
Tiny as it is, the town of Philo also has some seriously good eats—like the wood-fired pizzas at the Mediterranean-style Stone & Embers in The Madrones, a compound with elegant guest rooms and tasting rooms. Beyond Philo, State Highway 128 travels past some of the county’s top wineries, including Navarro Vineyards and Winery (famous for its Gewürztraminer), before beginning a lazy 11-mile meander through the big trees at Navarro River Redwoods State Park. Pull off for quick dips in the river—and, in season, try your luck at casting for steelhead.