For the uninitiated the 101 runs from Seattle all the way down west coast USA. We are going as far as LA. When folk heard I was planning a trip to this part of the world they said this coastal route was a must do, so we are.
It is always fun navigating one’s way out of a city armed only with a large map showing main highways through the wee square denoting the city. But a couple of wrong turns and we seemed to be headed in the right direction. Through some lovely wine and farming country, over the hill, through the forest and onto the coast. It is about a 9 hour trip from Portland to Eureka with the road following the coast most of the way, though sometimes frustratingly screened by trees, this especially so as we passed the stretch famous for its 350 – 500 foot high sand dunes. If time had been more abundant a dune buggy experience would have been fun but we had food appointments further down the line to consider.
It is a trip to be done once, and did have some stunning vistas but it also reminded us how lucky we are with what we have in New Zealand, all the way along choosing which part of NZ this particular stretch reminded us of. If making this trip a good halfway point to stop for a bit of lunch would be at Bandon a cute little town with lots of cafes and art galleries. Although long it is not a difficult journey. We made a whistle stop tour of Arcata just before arriving in Eureka. If you are going to break your journey at this most northern part of California, either of these towns are lovely.
We had booked in to Hotel Carter, a series of Victorian houses offering boutique hotel accommodation as well as Restaurant 301 heralded as one of the best places to eat on the coast. The hotel is charming, in the historic part of town, as are the staff (charming, not historic!)
They very kindly gave us a tour of the restaurant’s kitchen garden then we had time to sample a complimentary tile just before dinner. The hotel boasts a 1000 plus varietal wine list, its owner’s main business in the Napa area.
Dinner at 301 was more freshness and locally foraged food. The cucumber carpaccio simply and surprising stunning. A true case of respecting every ingredient equally. We had but one complaint, we told the delightful wait staff. Immediate looks of despair! The sparkling water was no other than Waiwera! A nice touch so far from home we thought.