Birthday Road Trip: Elk, California

Hwy 101

We headed south from Gold Beach on a beautiful Tuesday morning in May. All went very smoothly for about an hour. We were just south of Crescent City, California when we came upon a flagger with a stop sign. The motor home in front of us started turning around right there on Highway 101. Not a good sign.

Turns out there was a huge mudslide at Last Chance Grade in February and they were still very much repairing the road, only letting one way traffic through every two hours. We had just missed our chance. We were only an hour into our 6 hour drive. Not good. We had 2 hours to kill in Crescent City. We looked for a way around, but there wasn’t one. What there was, however, was a very happy accident… The Redwoods!

We turned around and made our way, a very short drive, to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We hiked for about an hour. The Redwoods are gloriously beautiful. So majestic!

We had just enough time to grab some tacos and get back in line for the slow crawl past the mudslide area… three months since the slide and that part of Hwy. 101 was still a one lane gravel road.

We made it to Elk, and our honeymoon spot (July, 1989) well before sunset. The Harbor House Inn is everything it was back then, and more. New owners did a full remodel a few years back and it’s all very lovely, and very pricey. They have an excruciatingly expensive Michelin star restaurant on site which is apparently popular with the San Francisco crowd. We were able to get our cottage room at a somewhat reasonable price because we were there on mid week days when the restaurant is closed.

On our honeymoon there were no cottages and we stayed in a beautiful Oceanview corner room of the lodge. Those lodge rooms have since been divided up and are much smaller, so I opted for the three-room Oceansong Cottage Suite with a fabulous view from every room. What a treat! The room came with a lovely homegrown breakfast, but otherwise we had to look elsewhere for food, which was fine as gorgeous Mendocino was just a short drive north, plus, we had stocked the fridge with lots of snacks.

Our cottage from the back side.
The walk down to the beach is steep!
All three rooms of our suite had this gorgeous ocean view.
The room came with breakfast each morning.
The original lodge at Harbor House Inn. The grounds are amazing with immaculate flower, veg, and herb gardens, and their own chicken coop. Fresh eggs every morning!
I included this one because I love table shots from above. This room service breakfast included fresh salmon, home baked bread spread with local cheese and garden radishes & herbs, porridge, biscuits with apple butter, fresh squeezed orange juice. All so delicious!
Mendocino Coast
The beautiful California coastline at Mendocino.

What a fun little trip down memory lane. By Thursday morning we were on the road again.

9 thoughts on “Birthday Road Trip: Elk, California

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