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California coasting at the one and only Heritage House

Rooms at California's Heritage House Resort overlook the Pacific Ocean
Rooms at California's Heritage House Resort overlook the Pacific Ocean
G Dingus

When was the last time you fell asleep to the sounds of waves breaking on the cliff side? When did you last awaken to a toasty fire blazing in the fireplace and the aroma of coffee being brewed by your spouse/best friend/ partner? You pull on your terry robe, push you feet into a pair of cushy slippers and settle on the couch to watch the Pacific Ocean work its magic.

Rooms at the Heritage House come with views of the Pacific
G Dingus

Where in the world are you?

You are on the northern California coast in Little River, just south of the artsy town of Mendocino. To be precise, you are indulging in a getaway at the Heritage House Resort.

The resort, a group of wooden cottages scattered over 37 waterfront acres, first opened in 1949. Its main building was and still is an 1877 New England-style farmhouse. The Heritage House, always known as a romantic stop on the coast, achieved fame as the setting for the 1978 movie “Same Time, Next Year” starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. Sadly, when 2008 hit travelers’ pocketbooks, the resort closed.

The good news is a new owner has appeared on the scene, reopening Heritage House in September, 2013. To date, 45 of the 70 rooms have been renovated and totally updated. A full spa and swimming pool are part of future plans.

The resort’s new look is contemporary with a focus on 21st-century amenities. In addition to the gas fireplace, guestrooms have a king bed (no twins – remember it’s romantic), plus a bar area with a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee maker. A sliding glass door leads to a deck with Adirondack chairs for viewing the ocean.

The bathroom, especially, in our upstairs room in the fourplex Seacliff building blew us away. In addition to his and her sinks and a large glass shower with the requisite rain shower head, we had a soaking tub for two. The tub (as well as the shower) looked out on a gorgeous cove and the blue Pacific. Last but not least, the floor was heated with an individual control. Wonderful on those chilly coastal mornings.

About that view, you’ll notice there’s no artwork adorning guestroom walls. “The view is the art,” General Manager Jim Hunter pointed out. The décor colors are intentionally neutral—beige, ivory and white with dark wood furnishings. All the better to enhance the colors of nature.

In case you’re wondering, yes you do have a phone and free WiFi in your room. The large flat screen TV offers a fun surprise. The move “Same Time, Next Year” loops continuously on Channel 1. If you’re never seen it, give it a whirl.

Warning: the Heritage House could become habit forming. Same time, next year?


The Heritage House Resort is located at 5200 North Highway One, Little River, CA. Call 877-295-9973. Check the web at for rates and special offers.

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