Vegan foodie getaway at Stanford Inn by the Sea

Image courtesy Stanford Inn by the Sea
Image courtesy Stanford Inn by the Sea /

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd. This day is meant to honor the earth and create transformational change in our environment. There is a new theme each year and the theme for 2023 is “Invest in Our Planet.” As foodies and travelers, we can do this by both incorporating a more plant-based diet as well as staying in eco-friendly lodging during our travels. Stanford Inn by the Sea is the only vegan resort in the country and matches both of these criteria. The resort focuses on wellness and incorporate sustainable practices.

When seeking eco-luxury travel, Stanford Inn by the Sea is the place. Located in Mendocino, on California’s northern coast, Stanford Inn by the Sea overlooks the Mendocino bay. The Inn was opened in 1980 by Jeff Stanford and his wife Joan. The couple have transformed what was originally a small, rustic lodge into what is now a AAA 4 Diamond inn and resort.

This inn boasts 41 rooms that can accommodate parties of all sizes. All the rooms are paneled in ponderosa pine with redwood accents, giving the rooms a cozy, rustic feel. Every room has a wood burning fireplace, refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. Robes are provided for guest use. The resort is also pet-friendly and has many amenities to make your dog feel welcome. Nightly rates start at $312, depending on the season and type of accommodation.

Stanford Inn by the Sea is a destination for vegan eaters to relax and unwind

Stanford Inn by the Sea has onsite dining at Ravens Restaurant, which provides plant-based and organic meals that guests can enjoy while observing picturesque ocean views. Jeff Stanford is not only the owner of the inn, but he is also the executive chef at Ravens Restaurant. As detailed by a representative of the Inn: “He runs what he calls a “co-creative kitchen” where he welcomes input and suggestions from all restaurant staff including the sous chef, cooks, dishwashers, servers, bussers, and hosts. While Jeff makes the final call on each dish and guides the overall direction of the menu, he believes that what makes Ravens Restaurant so singular is that its cuisine is a product of multiple ‘voices.’ Ravens stands nearly alone, even in the plant-based/vegan dining space. In contrast to most other plant-based/vegan restaurants that build their dishes around various fake meats & cheeses, seitan, oils, and refined sugar, Ravens’ menu features dishes created from almost entirely whole plants.”

A cooked-to-order breakfast is included with your stay. Menu items include Portobello Benedict, their vegan take on a brunch classic, and their signature brunch entrée Stanford Herbed Polenta. This grilled herbed polenta dish features garden greens sautéed in a braising sauce and is served with a cashew “cream” sauce.

While Ravens Restaurant does not serve lunch, they do provide a “Lunch on the Go”! Since many resort guests enjoy local hiking, biking or canoeing both on and off-property, they can pre-order a Lunch on the Go. Selections include a variety of vegan wraps, sandwiches and salads all priced less than $20 that can easily be taken on outdoor adventures.

Image courtesy Stanford Inn by the Sea
Image courtesy Stanford Inn by the Sea /

Dinner is served daily with much of the produce coming directly from Big River Nurseries, the onsite USDA-certified organic farm. One of the most popular items in the Ravens dinner menu is the Sea Palm & Root Vegetable Strudel. Sea Palm, a seaweed found along the North American west coast, is combined with carrots and onions and then wrapped in phyllo and topped with a ume plum raspberry sauce and wasabi. The strudel is accompanied by a shiitake-vegetable-cashew stir-fry.

Stanford Inn by the Sea is a wellness-focused resort. The 10 acre property features gardens, a pond and a barn with horses and llamas. The indoor saltwater pool is kept at a comfortable 82 degrees. Housed in a greenhouse structure, guests can enjoy a swim in any type of weather while enjoying a 360 degree scenic view.

Catch a Canoe and Bicycles Too is the Inn’s watersports rental facility. Operating since 1982, guests can spend time on the Big River and rent redwood outriggers, canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle-boards. They even have the only pet-friendly canoes in the world, so dogs can enjoy quality time on the water with their humans.

In the wellness center, guests can book themselves massage, acupuncture, and acupressure treatments and a selection of ayurvedic treatments. For additional fees, there are a variety of classes offered including yoga and pilates, a creative “playshop” led by an art therapist, cooking and nutrition, gardening, nature walks, canoe tours and, in the fall, a seasonal mushroom exploration tour.

If you are looking for a vegan foodie getaway with a focus on health and wellness, Stanford Inn by the Sea fits the bill!

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