Little River Inn: Five Times the Memories

Behind every generation is, well, another generation. Fortunately, some choose to carry on the family traditions and when there’s good thing going, why mess with the formula? The key is successfully refining the foundation. At the Little River Inn, that’s exactly what five generations have accomplished.

Little River Inn overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Mendocino Coast

Little River Inn overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Mendocino Coast

To find the roots of Little River Inn, located on California’s scenic Highway 1, a couple miles south of Mendocino (3.5-hour drive from San Francisco), one has to dig deep all the way back before the American Civil War, when lumber baron, Silas Coombs, journeyed from the East Coast to mill lumber from the tallest redwoods in the world, a splinter of which was used to build a stately Victorian home in 1857, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Fast forward 156 years to fifth generation innkeepers, Cally Dym and Melissa Pyorre, whose grandfather, Ole Hervilla, turned the house into the Inn in 1939, who now run the only true resort property along the Mendocino coast. “Our grandfather turned that original building into the Inn some eight decades ago and we’re still happily on the job, doing what it takes to make you feel more than welcome,” says Dym. Evidence of that promise can be found on a welcome note in any of the 65 guest rooms overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “Need an extra pillow? No problem. Need a llama? A little more difficult, but doable.” Not to worry, however. If there isn’t a local camelid available, Little River Inn has plenty of beckoning options to match anyone’s palette for an adventurous or romantic getaway.

California's northernmost ocean-viewing hole (#9/18)

California’s northernmost ocean-viewing hole (#9/18) © Robert Kaufman

Fair warning for incoming golfers  ©Robert Kaufman

Fair warning for incoming golfers ©Robert Kaufman

With a full-service spa and tennis, Little River Inn also offers the only golf in the area thanks to a nine-hole course built in 1957, by grandpa Hervilla after he consulted with several course architects who were too expensive to do the job. With a variety of pin placements and dual greens on holes seven and nine, 18 holes is doable on the 5,458-yard layout. Keeping with the family theme, Melissa’s husband, Justin Pyorre, is the Director of Golf for the “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” designated course weaving through the redwoods and pine trees along the coastal hills. Fourth generation family member, Danny Hervilla, refers to his favorite course as “our poor-man’s Pebble Beach.”

Early morning light shines through the redwood and pine trees © Robert Kaufman

Early morning light shines through the redwood and pine trees © Robert Kaufman

At one-twelfth the green fee ($40/18 holes) of that fabled course on the Monterey Peninsula, it would be challenging to find a better value to play golf anywhere along the California coast. In fact, hole number 9/18 holds the distinction of being the northernmost ocean-viewing golf hole in California. This classic coastal property surrounded by 225 wooded acres may not be on the same radar of the pantheon of great resorts along the California coast, but for the beauty, hospitality, and what it offers, the value is unrivaled. And the best part is the sixth generation is ready to jump onto the family train proving once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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