Every time I think I’ve seen it all near Mendocino’s seaside, I discover something new or I see a familiar scene in a brand new light. Of course, that’s the whole concept of the Open Road. If you slow down and stay alert, no matter where you are, the world will engage and intrigue you in all kinds of wonderful and unexpected ways. That’s especially true in Mendocino, in part because it’s so beautiful and fresh that your senses are always sharp and its offerings are truly superb. As I have elsewhere in this region, I urge you to drive Highway 1 only a few miles at a time if you can. Stop in the many state parks along the road, visit the historic towns and villages along the way, get out onto the water in sea kayaks or go scuba diving if you’re prepared, wander inland on narrow and winding roads, and stop by the Stanford Inn, just outside the village of Mendocino, and rent a hand-crafted outrigger canoe. Then paddle upstream into deep forests that have been recently protected. You’ll find yourself in a quiet reserve that you and the birds are likely to have all to yourselves. Then head back to the Inn for some fine wine and an excellent vegetarian meal, and be sure to pet the cats and dogs on your way in.