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“An Eclectic End of the Road Journey”
Review of Howard Creek Ranch

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Howard Creek Ranch
Ranked #2 of 3 Westport B&B and Inns
Northern California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“An Eclectic End of the Road Journey”
Reviewed 7 March 2014

I've been planning a trip to this area for a while now and finally got around to actually doing it. When I searched for lodging near the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, this place was first in line. I read the reviews and after some other searches, decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. It's a place FULL of history and charm. The actual housing (B&B rooms, plus cottages) all have their unique theme. I stayed in the Captain's Quarters in the renovated barn. It was very cool... redwood beams and staircases and antiques everywhere. The area is quiet and rugged (Highway 1 is quite daunting in areas but spectacular) and secluded so no worries about traffic noise or anything. The hosts are interesting and nice and maybe a little odd (in a good and interesting way) and their assistant, Teresa, is wonderful. She made me feel extra special. The grounds and housing are incredible - do not miss out on the trails and hikes on the property!! The closest place for food (they feed you an ENORMOUS breakfast - yum!!) is Fort Bragg - 15 winding miles south. There's a convenience store in Westport with limited supplies. A couple of down sides... the swaying "bridge" over Howard Creek you must cross if you are staying outside of the main house (farm house) - is a bit scary, especially in the rain. Another - I had a leak in my bathroom they didn't fix during my stay (4 days) and had to accommodate a bucket in the doorway. They didn't make my bed like they claimed to do nor did they empty the trash I was using in a common area. Other than that? No complaints. The internet is at their discretion but I had a good connection. The area is magnificent with lots to explore!

Room Tip: There are several to choose from. I wanted a cottage but the Captains Quarters were great. No ocean...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
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Thank J B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • English first
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English first
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014

After a hectic, stressful start to the year, it was all I could do to crawn through last week and make it to Friday. Since just before Christmas, my wife and I had The Boat cabin reserved at HCR for Valentines weekend. Nothing, to me, feels better than being able to fully escape to a minimally technologically modified getaway like this. They have Wifi in the main house, but honestly, when you're here, just try to remember that the internet exists. I dare you.
The ranch IS dog friendly and I sure wish we'd have brought ours, but perhaps another time. The Boat House was very "cozy" as many other reviewers and visitors described, but if you've ever been in a studio apartment, you won't be taken aback by it. The smell of redwood in the house can be deceiving if one thinks they're being attacked by some sort of mold. It's what that kind of wood does when allowed to age in a cool, humid place with near constant moisture nearby. It's not mold. It's just wood. It's nature, people.
The ceiling is a little low, so if you're taller than 6', hold out for a different cabin or room. HCR's website does such a good job at describing thing, I don't see much use wasting the space re-describing what they've covered already. I will say that I've hardly ever had such a fun time staying 2 nights away from home before. I'm so glad that we chose THIS place for our first B&B experience. GREAT, friendly staff. Sunny & Sally are both such wonderful people. Sunny spends what seems like every sunlit hour working around the ranch and joins the crowd at the mainhouse in the evening to unwind over a few tunes (they have a piano everywhere you look and he has a little studio setup upstairs at the Barn). The commonplace in the barn is filled with VHS tapes, games, wonderful old antiques, and such interestingly crafted walls, doors, and decorations.
It rained off an on during our entire visit, which is exactly what I wanted and didn't even expect. I had no idea the ranch set on 60 acres until we arrived, but we took advantage of the trail that winds in and around the redwoods behind the cabins and houses. One morning, before breakfast (and do yourself a favor and DON'T miss breakfast. Just be there 8:50-9am and don't get grumpy about it. If you're late, it's your choice and your consequence), we took a little walk to the beach, guided the entire way by one of the farm cats. He lead us down the trail along the creek, through the mud (they have rubber milker boots to lend out so you don't need to bring or buy your own), down to the waves, and then back to the farm where the cat also wanted to show us where the chickens and sheep graze. I count that cat among the lovely staff I previously mentioned.
The food at breakfast was amazing each day, the cook was so kind and adorable. Teresa, who showed us to our cabin and gave us the tour, was so so kind to all she spoke with and VERY accomidating. There is so much to do at this B&B, it's hardly even worth leaving to go check out Ft. Bragg, but even if you don't mind mingling or exploring your thing, you're not too far of a car trip from many MANY interesting shops, restaurants, and sight seeing opportunities.

Room Tip: -Great staff -Pet friendly -delicious breakfasts (don't be late) -make a conversation with an...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Rafterian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Iowa City, Iowa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2014

I went to a wedding of my niece in Napa. After the wedding, I brought my sister and brother-in-law, who came from China for the wedding, for a rural country experience of Northern California.

I have read Tripadvisor reviews, some in favor and some not, before I decided to stay in Howard Creek Ranch. Yes, the so called ocean view is the overpass of Highway 1. The buildings smell like old buildings. The yard is not tidy with projects underway. The furnitures are old. Some chairs in library and the couch in my room Walden are totally worn out. Some boots they prepared for us to wade cross the creek are leaking. The bathroom is oddly arranged. The rugs are old and stained. The "shoji" paper on room dividers around the hot tub is aged and broken apart. You only get internet service in the "library" of the main building. More of less, I have prepared to encounter those, to be on a farm.

However, I was very disappointed because they made no effort to make us feel welcomed besides charging us in advance.

The first night, the internet router was turned off without telling us. Next morning, at 9 am we were having breakfast while still no internet, I asked Sally and she said the router bothers her husband. So they turned it off during the nights. I asked to leave it on for the next night, since we are from different time zones and would be up during night, which would be our last night. For my brother-in-law, he needed to communicate to China for his business. They turned it off anyway. I should have said that we were lucky that they turned it back on by 7:30 am. I really needed to check google map before we left.

The so called farm breakfast was not good either. We three were the only guest at the time. We were served with sausages of some brand of brown'n serve. They used red delicious for baked apples. If you have cooked apples, the red delicious would be the last kind to use. The pancakes were OK although I could do better myself. The fruit and scrambled eggs was the best on that day. For three of us, we were served with one mango and one orange for fruit. I feel that we were hurried to finish eating too.

The best was the farm animals and one young helper, who knows all the animals.

The rooms were relatively clean considering gravels outside.

For three of us spending two nights, I spent $550 for two rooms. It is definitely not worth it. I would not recommend it to anyone.

Room Tip: Choose the cheaper rooms since they are equally run down.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Dongmeng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
49 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

IT IS WORTH A CALL.... Nope, no online booking here...heck, Sally is old school, and at 70 someoddish years...it is still working for her, and the ranch. DO leave a message...DO NOT expect a quick return call, DO call again in the afternoon. LOL

I have my moments... I am by nature a lover of luxury, and a lover of solitude. I will forsake Luxe for peace any day. While there are a few luxury B&B's on this rugged coast, I prefer the more quaint and rustic.

I was looking for a peaceful weekend on a budget, and BIG DOG friendly. Yes, many places on the coast allow dogs, but have a size limit... My lap dog is 90lbs!

Once again... THIS IS RUSTIC...not luxury...nobody is going to cater to your sissified wants and needs or kill the spider in your room. This is the real deal.

Sunny & Sally are both in the golden years, and Sunny has done an AMAZING labor of love, handcrafting the rooms...and please...this is a continuing, unfinished labor of love and continual work in progress.
The craftsmanship & woodwork are phenomenal, as is the potential.
There is virtually NO CELL service out here, but there is a landline. There is sporadic WiFi. Bring DVD's as there is no cable and the TV screens are small. We didnt bother, hell I didn't even bring my laptop...this was a getaway...all play.

This is RUSTIC AMBIANCE. Country Luxury. Cross a dude ranch and the embassy suites to get a feel for what this is.

So...here is my review...

We drove the Lincoln LS with it's low profile tires and low frame very slowly down the dirt road that led past sheep and goats, finally arriving at the main house to check in. We were greeted by the warm smile of the ever delightful Teresa, who is a wealth of information/knowledge/history/etc... She showed us to our room... walking us across the (one person at a time) wooden bridge over the creek!!! I love it...can you walk across without grabbing the sides for balance??? I tried it while skipping ;) it can be done!!! Upon arriving at the Walden room, I was VERY SURPRISED...pictures do not do it justice. Unfortunately my pictures did not turn out or I would share...only my pics from the beach. They also provided puppy towels and blankets. :)

I am in heaven in this room, and I believe that I will always ask for this room when without the mogwai (children).

We admired the grounds, we watched the sunset, and we had wine & cheese! BRING YOUR FOOD. Harvest Market in Fort Bragg. There is a Micro/Fridge/Coffee maker in room. So think light & easy.

Morning...7am we were at low tide, beachcombing...in the rubber boots provided by our fabulous hosts. 9am the breakfast bell tolls.

Breakfast:
Fresh Fruit
Biscuits
Homemade Jam
Salsa Fritatta
Sausage patties
Pears poached in apple cider w/ cinnamon
coffee
OJ

Now...my chief complaint is the biscuits were not homemade :(
I would have loved homemade ones...but with enough homemade jam and butter it was good.
Everything else AAA+++

We left yesterday knowing that we were in love with the wild rustic charm that few these days appreciate. If Sunny & Sally would allow such things... I would consider this a fabulous 'country wedding' location...for the bride that doesn't expect perfection!!!

Today I booked the Willow room, to take the mogwai to the ranch this coming weekend.

Ohhh..... before I forget....

Some of the charms....

Upstairs in the carriage barn is a library, music room, games, old fashioned VHS tapes for the VCR's, sitting areas, hot tub...a wealth of artifacts and just some amazing collections of eclectic offerings....

I can't wait till FRIDAY!!!!


Now...one last thing... I gave it a 4 out of 5 because there is unfulfilled potential, and because I am a girl of convenience... I HATE TO TALK ON THE PHONE!!!!! I WANT EMAIL & ONLINE BOOKING

:P

Room Tip: FIDO FRIENDLY ROOMS WITH TILE FLOORS!!!! Walden & Willow are the best!!!! Try to avoid SeaView
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SuiteExcursions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Las Cruces, New Mexico
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 January 2014

Stayed: September 2012
Howard Creek Ranch is not your "typical" B&B (is there ever a "typical" one? Each is so different!). But that being said, it is fantastic! If you are looking for a place that is super posh and elegant then this is not the place to choose. BUT, if you are looking for a remote and quiet farmhouse type getaway, then this place is definitely for you! My husband and I stayed in the Blue Balcony room for two nights and loved it! There is a skylight right above the bed that lets the starlight shine into the room...beautiful! The farmhouse breakfast was FANTASTIC with so much food to eat and enjoy! My husband and I were only disappointed that we were not staying here longer! Sally was very friendly and accommodating. We arrived our first night around midnight and she had placed a packet with information at the mainhouse for us.

Many people seem to complain that buildings are not kept up very well. I understand this, but it is a farm and so not everything will be kept up like a palace would be. The rooms are cozy and comfortable. Very good experience! Thank you, Sally!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Crystal S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
73 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 November 2013

Rare vacation for my wife and I without the kids. Found Howard Creek Ranch on internet, pictures looked beautiful and chose the Beach house (noting from pictures how close it was to the beach, including jacuzzi, king bed, etc.). Even changed weekends due to availability. Compared to photo's, the beach house was VERY small, tiny bathroom, outdated, stained rug in a shallow day loft (like climbing into a small boat cabin bed area), no promised internet (only main building) and trust me...you won't go in the jacuzzi. It's actually an original converted tow behind trailer. The internet interior Beachhouse pic VERY deceiving as to the actual smaller size. The website said "view from the beachhouse", that pic had to be taken with a 300mm plus lens from the beachhouse which was back from that spot hundreds of feet. Good luck seeing or hearing waves that far back under the highway overpass. The Home page picture with the white picket fence and well maintained white buildings don't exist....the real view is dramatical different. The ranch house area has overgrown vegetation and not sure when anything was last painted (due credit to the flower beds round the mainhouse). ONLY positive note..the caretaker lady Teresa..was very nice and polite. This place is overpriced. We left shortly after arriving and drove in the rain, in the dark 19 miles down the winding coast to a true romantic location. When your on a romantic adventure, you don't like being told you'll promptly sitdown for breakfast with all, promptly at 9:00am...period. Had the price fairly matched the accomodations, internet photo's better reflected reality, and was in a woodstock mood (which my wife and I do appreciate...having a cabin up the road from Woodstock NY!) we would've otherwise appreciated Sonny's experiment.

Room Tip: All the rooms were aged but quite unique with a communal feel.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Craig R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pioneer
Level Contributor
31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 November 2013

Howard Ranch is a very different kind of bed and breakfast in the Fort Bragg, Mendocino area. It is an old ranch house and barn turned into one of a kind rooms each with a different name and decor. There is even a ships hull that has been converted into a suite. Breakfast was boarding house style and very hearty and delicious. I enjoyed sitting in front of the open hearth fire place each morning waiting to be called to the table. Howard Ranch is just a short walk from the coast and a short drive from Ft Bragg and Mendocino. The Barn suites are by private libraries and common areas filled with an assortment of antiques. You could spend a day just roaming the grounds. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and plan to return again

Room Tip: Check out the room with the Plexiglas ceiling
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Daniel E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Howard Creek Ranch

Property: Howard Creek Ranch
Address: 40501 N Highway 1, PO. Box 121, Westport, CA 95488-8732
Region: United States > California > Mendocino County > Westport
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Westport
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Registered Historic ocean front farm on 60 acres settled in 1867, bordered by miles of beach and mountains in a wilderness area. Award winning flower gardens, antiques, a 75 foot swinging foot bridge over Howard Creek, cabins, comfortable beds, hot tub, nearby horseback riding, full ranch breakfast. A work in progress. "One of the most romantic places to stay on the planet" S.F. Chronicle. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Howard Creek Ranch Hotel Westport

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