In honor of both the Whale Festival and its 75th Anniversary, Little River Inn is releasing a limited-edition private label beer with Anderson Valley Brewing Company, created by Brewmaster Fal Allen and Chef Dym. A Saison, or Farmhouse-style ale, the beer was crafted with locally foraged candy cap mushrooms and quatre épices (a spice mix that contains ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger), to give it a complex maple-like depth and a refreshing finish. The ale comes in a commemorative Little River Inn 75th Anniversary bell-shaped glass that guests are welcome to take with them once they finish their beer.
The 1st time we discovered the delights of the Little River Inn, friends introduced us to its charm as we moved to Northern CA as a newly married couple. In those days there were no phones or T.V.’s in our rooms. On a couples’ weekend we all stayed in rooms with fireplaces and views of the ocean, and found it so relaxing. We agreed that we slept great because of the sound of the waves. The guys would golf, the gals would shop, and we’d all hook up for a drink in the Whale Watcher’s... Read More
The 1st time we discovered the delights of the Little River Inn, friends introduced us to its charm as we moved to Northern CA as a newly married couple. In those days there were no phones or T.V.’s in our rooms. On a couples’ weekend we all stayed in rooms with fireplaces and views of the ocean, and found it so relaxing. We agreed that we slept great because of the sound of the waves. The guys would golf, the gals would shop, and we’d all hook up for a drink in the Whale Watcher’s bar before dinner.
In 1990 along came son Eddie, and at 5 mos. we brought him to the Little River Inn along with Grandma and Grandpa. The big guys golfed, the women shopped, and we all relaxed and had a marvelous time.
Our New Year’s tradition at Little River started in 1994, when we received a call in the summer that someone had cancelled and we’d cleared a waiting list. Hutch and I both worked for Sears at the time, and with the holiday rush and after Christmas sales, we really looked forward to New Year’s as a mini vacation-- a time to recuperate, recharge our batteries and reconnect. We learned to reserve our room for the next New Year’s at the end of each annual stay.
When Eddie was young we booked an early dinner seating in the dining room so we’d be out before the real revelers. The food and service is always wonderful, the room’s beautiful, and everyone’s in such good spirits, complete with party hats. Our pictures from New Year’s Eve provided many of the family pictures for the following year’s holiday wishes.
Once back in our room we get comfortable and watch the ball drop in Times Square. At midnight the three of us kiss and toast the New Year with champagne and Martinelli’s. New Year’s Day we always order room service so we can watch the Rose Parade. Later we make sure we’re back in the room for the Rose Bowl game. In the 90’s, there was a cat that visited the guest rooms, which thrilled Eddie, or sometimes the cat could be found napping in the piano room. The cat would look so cozy, just as we always felt at the inn. We always asked for the room on the end; at sunset we could watch deer grazing right outside our room.
As Eddie grew, we entertained ourselves with longer walks on the beach in the day time and played board games at night. The Inn "grew up" along with us, as they installed T.V. and a video lending library, which became a plus for us with a child. One of our favorite trips, the power was out for part of the time. Since the Inn has its own generator, we enjoyed a candle lit dinner, delicious as always. We played board games by flashlight, and we cherish those memories.
There is much to do nearby. We always go into Mendocino one or two days, and every other year we go north to Fort Bragg. We walk in Van Damme State Park unless it’s raining, and we’ve visited the Rhododendron Botanical Garden. Of course the guys usually try to golf and Eddie and I sometimes lob and chase tennis balls back and forth just for laughs on the LRI’s courts, when no one else wants to play seriously.
Eddie’s 18 now, and two years ago we changed rooms so that he could have his own bed, an upgrade from a cot. This year we watched DVD’s rather than VHS tapes, but not too much has really changed.
The friendly staff always welcomes us back and we feel like it’s our home away from home after all these years. This year in conversation with one of the staff we realized we’re coming full circle; we joked about some day Eddie having a room with his own family, and we would be there as the grandparents.
The Inn has "love" in its phone number and at its core, it’s always been about family. For us, our love is complete because of family, and we look forward to many more celebrations and sharing our New Year’s traditions at the Little River Inn.
— Bernadette and Hutch Gibb