MENDOCINO COMMUNITY GUIDE
Plant Your Roots in Mendocino County with Ukiah Realtor Whitney Vau
Mendocino County is a beautiful place to call home. From rolling hills to majestic redwoods to breathtaking coastline, this slice of Northern California has it all.
As an eighth-generation resident of the Ukiah Valley, Ukiah Realtor Whitney Vau is here to help you plant your roots in Mendocino County. Read Whitney's guide to the community below, or call our Ukiah office now to start your home search!
Ukiah is the county seat and economic hub of Mendocino County, but it still has that small town feel with its charming tree-lined neighborhoods, family-owned businesses, and an abundance of community events like the Farmer’s Market and Taste of Downtown. Ukiah has always had agricultural roots with a crop history that once included pear orchards and hops, as well as redwood logging. Now, the majority of the “deep valley’s” agricultural land is vineyard, with a few remaining pear orchards scattered throughout. Ukiah is known for its diverse attractions like the Montgomery Woods, Vichy Springs Resort, Grace Hudson Museum, and The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to name a few. With the construction of Costco and several other large projects, development of the Ukiah Valley is currently at a record high so the area is teeming with exciting potential.
Not to be confused with Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, the Anderson Valley is about 2 ½ hours north of San Francisco in the western region of Mendocino County. There’s a undomesticated beauty and eccentric charm present here from the valley’s rustic landscape to Boonville’s own quirky dialect. The scenery along Hwy 128 ranges from sheep pastures and apple orchards to vineyards and redwood groves. Beyond the valley lies the stunningly-dramatic Mendocino Coast, which is the perfect place to retire to after a day of wine tasting or for a weekend getaway. Mornings in the valley are cool as coastal fog blankets the Valley regularly; this marine layer provides the perfect climate for Pinot Noir and Alsatian varietals. The 20-mile stretch of wineries between Yorkville and Navarro is quiet, unpretentious, and casual. Among the many wineries and tasting rooms sprinkled throughout the valley, Roederer Estate, Navarro, Goldeneye, and Handley are a few if the most well-known. Ultimately, Anderson Valley is an ideal second home location for buyers looking to escape the steep price points and tourism of Napa and Sonoma yet still get to enjoy the easy-going nature of Northern California wine country.
Venture fifteen minutes north of Ukiah and you’ll find yourself in the more rural town of Redwood Valley. Larger and more established than nearby Calpella, Redwood Valley is ideal for buyers looking for acreage and privacy while still being within close proximity to Ukiah. Home to more than a dozen estate and independent wineries, the community spirit is very alive with many residents residing in the area for generations. Annual community events like the Taste of Redwood Valley, the Fireman’s BBQ, and Black Bart Parade are a few highlights. Also of interest is the Coyote Valley Casino, which has expanded over the years to include a convenience store and gas station with the lowest gas prices in the area; a hotel is currently in the works.
Serving as the gateway to Mendocino County from the south on Hwy 101 and the heart of the upper Russian River wine country, Hopland is a rustic, easy-going farming community situated amongst majestic oak-covered hills. Fewer than 800 people live here, making it an ideal second home location for Bay Area residents looking to escape the city grind or a primary residence for Sonoma County commuters. The Hopland Passport and Earth Day at the Solar Living Institute are just a few of the community draws, as is bocce ball at Brutacao Cellars or wine tasting at the Campovida Farm.
Just north of Redwood Valley and Ukiah, Willits is both the heart of Mendocino County and the gateway to the Redwoods. It’s a town rich with history, being home to Ridgewood Ranch, the final resting place of famous racehorse Seabiscuit, and the eastern terminal of the “Skunk Train,” which runs through the Redwoods to Fort Bragg. Every July, the town hosts the Frontier Days & Rodeo, which happens to be the oldest continuous rodeo and Independence Day celebration in California. Ultimately, Willits is an ideal spot for buyers looking for more acreage and privacy, while still being within close proximity to the larger Ukiah.
Located just northeast of Ukiah and Lake Mendocino, Potter Valley is a lush agricultural region that is home to a number of family farms and ranches. Painter Grace Hudson was born here and Charles S. Howard, owner of the racehorse Seabiscuit, owned a ranch here in addition to the one in Willits. With a population just under 700, this quiet valley is an ideal place for buyers looking for substantial acreage and country solitude.
Once home to primarily working-class fishing, logging, and ranching communities, the Mendocino Coast has become tourist destination and county locals’ favorite weekend getaway destination. About an hour from Ukiah, this raw, rugged coastline’s most well-known spot is easily the small, historic village of Mendocino from which the county gets its name. Sprinkled throughout Mendocino’s Victorian-lined streets are a number of quaint B&B’s, inns, boutiques, and eateries. There’s definitely a 1960’s vibe still alive and well here, evident by quirky community events, whimsical decor, and small, artsy shops throughout the village. Along the windy, scenic Hwy 1 you’ll find other coastal hamlets such as Caspar, Little River, Elk, and Albion to name a few. About fifteen minutes north of Mendocino sits Fort Bragg, which is the center of commerce for the Mendocino Coast. It, too, has become a tourist destination with plenty of breweries, restaurants, and boutiques to explore. Ultimately, Coastal Mendocino is an ideal spot for a second home and/or permanent residence. What makes this stretch of oceanfront real estate so enticing is its profound natural beauty and relaxed community spirit.