• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com


A flourishing logging town in the late-19th century, Mendocino seduces 21st-century travelers with windswept cliffs, phenomenal Pacific Ocean views, and boomtown-era New England–style architecture. Following the timber industry's mid-20th-century decline, artists and craftspeople began flocking here, and so did Hollywood: Mendocino served as a backdrop for East of Eden (1955), starring James Dean, and the town stood in for fictional Cabot Cove, Maine, in the TV series Murder, She Wrote. Today, shops, galleries, inns, and cafés predominate in the small downtown area.


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