Review: Elk Cove Inn by Hairy Putter

15 03 2013

There is just something about Elk:
A Weekend at the Elk Cove Inn & Spa


It is with lots of happy yapping that I get to share with you my latest review. Elaine Bryant, the owner of one of Mendocino County’s most historic and treasured inns contacted me to share the news that she had recently made ‘The Hideaway’ a pet friendly room at the Elk Cove Inn and Spa. She extended an invitation for me to come and experience the inn along with my two uprights and I had a feeling we were going to be in for something special. The Elk Cove Inn and Spa began life as a private residence. Built in 1883 by the L.E. White Lumber Co. as the home of the mill’s superintendent, the Craftsman style main house and later additional adjacent buildings are perched high above Greenwood State Beach and are nestled snugly on the side of a cliff overlooking the dramatic rocks and shoreline. All the buildings including the iconic and picturesque Victorian gazebo, (a truly romantic setting suitable for the most magical moments such as a wedding) are majestically situated overlooking the coastline. The ambiance of the Elk Cove Inn invites you to step back from the everyday and simply relish time in the pleasures of relaxation, where gloriously idle moments spent observing the striking landscape and the serenity of being one with nature will reenergize and rejuvenate you. Add a spa treatment or two to your stay and you will feel reborn. All rooms (except The Hideaway) have uninterrupted ocean views so as Mother Nature works her magic you have a front row seat for the show. You can be witness to spectacular storms and romantic sunsets with their constantly changing range of colors that traverse all the drama and hues that artists have ever captured. Add delicious food, complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a welcome basket with house-made cookies, wine and fruit along with port and chocolates for a decadent nightcap and you have yourself a series of indulgences one can get used to.On arrival my dads checked us in at reception in the main house. The reception area also has a nice sample of postcards of the inn and area, Elk Cove Inn keepsakes and local wares for sale. Patty, the innkeeper on duty was very welcoming and gave my dads an orientation to the property including the times for the cocktail hour and breakfast, the location of the private access to the beach (dogs are permitted on leash) and the procedure for booking spa treatments. Patty then presented my dads with the welcome basket and a copy of the pet rules for them to read, acknowledge and sign. Patty then escorted us to our room.

View from the back of the inn

View from the back of the inn

The Hideaway evokes its name perfectly, a cozy space with a well-appointed bathroom that has a large walk in shower complete with multiple showerheads. The main room has a king bed and love seat (a courtesy sheet is provided for covering the comforter on the bed for those of us furry family members that are allowed on the bed). The room includes a coffee maker, small refrigerator, microwave, large flat screen TV with Direct TV and free Wi-Fi. A nice mix of antique pieces and modern touches meld together harmoniously. Little things like the tissue on the top of the box that was turned into a delicate paper tissue rose and the small vases of local flowers picked fresh from the gardens delight the eye. There is a heater in the main room and a radiator to make the bathroom toasty and after a luxurious shower you can wrap yourself in soft, warm comfort with the luxurious terry robes. The room benefits greatly from having high ceilings and plenty of natural light is provided by several skylights. If you open the window in the bathroom the sounds of the ocean’s music will soothe and inspire. Housekeeping had thoughtfully placed a mat and bowl of fresh cool water for me in the bathroom, so I immediately took a nice long drink. I am glad it didn’t take my dads long to get settled as this canine was anxious to go to the beach.

The Elk Cove Inn is surrounded by grounds that are both ornamental and practical. Herb and vegetable gardens meld with native flowering trees, shrubs and flora which present the senses with a pleasant color palate of sights and smells. Being safely leashed, remember we are on a steep cliff, my dads and I spent wonderful quality time together walking the grounds. Access to the beach from the inn is by a narrow and sturdy stairway off the front garden that zigzags the cliff, I had great fun traversing it. The beach is full of interesting drift wood and benches and fire circles are nestled among the huge logs. These are great spots for sitting and soaking up the rugged beauty of the cove while scanning the ocean for bird and marine life. Of course I found plenty of smells to keep me very occupied and intrigued.


View of the inn from Greenwood State Beach

Because food service takes place in the main house, I wasn’t allowed in as I am not a registered service dog (- my dads are working with me on that.) The weather on the Mendocino Coast is temperate so sitting in the car with a cracked window or two for the short time while my dads ate; looking at the magnificent view was not an imposition. My dads later regaled me with stories of the cocktail hour and breakfast. From 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the main house a selection of complimentary soft drinks, liquor and accoutrements for making your own cocktails along with a variety of wines and cheese are served for your enjoyment. You are free to take your drinks back to your room, stay and enjoy them in the dining room with its large picture windows that frame the dramatic ocean view perfectly or enjoy them at one of the many intimate seating areas dotted throughout the property. I especially enjoyed sitting on my dad’s lap in an Adirondack chair as we shared in the simple enjoyment of staring contentedly at the stunning view.


Part of the morning breakfast offering

Breakfast is served in the main house from 8:30 am to 10:00 am and what a spread. My dads delighted in telling  me about some the delicious and delectable offerings: house-made corned beef hash topped with poached eggs, baked polenta with a roasted tomato sauce, cinnamon glazed apples, bread pudding with walnut whiskey sauce, fresh sliced tomatoes drizzled with infused olive oil and fresh herbs, deviled eggs, cereals, oatmeal and trimmings, fresh fruit salad, French toast with warm strawberries for a topping, a selection of fresh baked pastries and my favorite – sausages ( my dads brought me a morsel of those to try). Along with a great selection of fresh juices, tea, coffee and complimentary champagne you have a terrific and varied breakfast of champions to start your day. Each morning new items appear as well as favorites like the Morning Pie made from cottage cheese and oranges, similar in style and texture of cheesecake this is a regular guest must have. In fact, many of the recipes at the Elk Cove Inn are so popular with guests that upon check out you are presented with a booklet of them to take with you so you can recreate some of the Elk Cove breakfast experience at home.

Great sunsets!!

Great sunsets!!

With full stomachs you will be ready to start the day exploring the historic and charming village of Elk and the surrounding area. A short distance by path from the Inn will take you into Elk where several restaurants, village store, post office, art gallery, garden store and beautiful Victorian architecture are yours to discover and savor. The Elk Cove Inn and Spa is ideally located for exploring the Mendocino Coast: to the south is Point Arena, with its open to the public historic and working lighthouse and B. Bryan Preserve, the 100 acre home to various species of endangered animals such as giraffes, zebras and three different types of antelope, where tours are offered. The famous Bowling Ball Beach is one and a half miles from the Inn and can be accessed by path from the Inn, but check for the low tide as that is the only way to really see and appreciate this natural wonder to its full effect. Manchester State Park is a little further south as are the coastal towns of Anchor Bay and Gualala with its innovative and superb art community situated on the Mendocino/Sonoma County border. A few miles north of Elk is Highway 128, the gateway to Anderson Valley and home to dozens of Mendocino County’s premiere wineries and breweries. If you want to explore the giant redwoods Hendy Woods State Park in Philo is the place. To the north Van Damme State Park in Little River and the village of Mendocino, which is an authentically preserved Victorian coastal village and the City of Fort Bragg, home to the world famous Skunk Train and Glass Beach, are all in easy driving distance of the Elk Cove Inn.

Green State Beach Visitor Center Museum

Green State Beach Visitor Center Museum

Elk has a varied and fascinating history and the Elk Museum (open seasonally) is a must stop to learn more about the important and exciting history of this charming town with two names: Greenwood and Elk. Elk village has a delightful array of charming historic buildings, also explore the hill top graveyards at Cuffey’s Cove, grab a bite of lunch at the world famous Queenie’s Roadhouse Café or pick up picnic supplies and a delicious made-to-order sandwich from the Elk Store. The Bridget Dolan Pub offers excellent traditional pub fare and for a special local’s insider experience – any Friday or Saturday evening, have a drink at the hilltop Beacon Light Bar by the Sea overlooking the dramatic coastline. It is one of a kind.

For a complete description of the Inn, its 15 guest rooms and suites please visit A visit to Elk conjures up delightful imaginings of days gone past, this idyllic coastal hill top village and the exquisite hospitality and ambiance of the Elk Cove Inn and Spa offer the visitor a truly satisfying get away from the fast pace of everyday life.

Happy Tail Wagging Travels,

Hairy Putter

Elk Cove Inn
6300 Highway 1
Elk, California 95432
(707) 877-3321



One response

10 04 2013
Tracey Thompson

Hi Harry, I love reading your reviews of dog friendly restaurants. Would you please add your reviews to my site too or may I have your permission to quote from your reviews. Thanks, Harry! Tracey Thompson

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