The Inn at Newport Ranch
Ft. Bragg, CA
Whether near or far, travel opens us to discovery. Travel enlightens and inspires, engages the senses and connects with an inner spirit of wonder. Travel opens doors and windows revealing Life, Humanity, History, new experiences and the potential for adventure. California’s tourists are most familiar with the SoCal coastline, the string of beach cities offering ocean activities and entertainment opportunities that beckon visitors from around the world. Less familiar is California’s coastline north of San Francisco stretching to the Oregon border, its natural wonders and quaint small towns with histories that illuminate California’s colorful past. It is here we discover tranquility and wildness, pristine linear vineyards and dramatic redwood forests, staggering bluffs enduring crashing waves, galleries showcasing local artists and crafts, and an appreciation for a different pace of life. Time slows to watch the whale migrations, the sea lions sunning in protective beach coves, fishing boats dotting the horizon, and stargazing undisturbed by bright city lights.
Perhaps it was serendipity or simply fate, but the story Will Jackson shares of the small ad in the Wall Street Journal that led to the odyssey of The Inn at Newport Ranch feels like destiny. Days after his 91st birthday, Will is entertaining guests with his charm and humor as he recounts the unexpected journey from that daily East Coast commute from Connecticut to NYC to the present stunning Pacific panorama viewed from the spectacular dining room and singular 30 foot redwood dining table of the Inn he first conceived in 1987. Life changing events, architects who embraced his vision above and beyond, a love and respect for nature and the allure of the Old West mystique, and an inherent joy in life, whimsy, and the meeting of antique and modern make the realization of Will Jackson’s dream a wonderful tale. Realizing his vision was not without challenges. The property has a history, a forgotten site of two now vanished redwood logging and mill towns of the 1870s and 1880s, Newport and Kibesillah, between Fort Bragg and Westport, California. Once home to the native Pomo coastal tribes, it has a story that has carried it forward to this incarnation as a working cattle ranch and Conde Nast award winning boutique hotel. An endeavor that wows with creative renditions in its three defining properties, architecture and design incorporating old and reclaimed redwood, unique repurposed antiques, and breathtaking views, The Inn at Newport Ranch opened in 2016 to accolades and recognition as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Best New Hotels in the U.S. Now grown to encompass over 2,000 acres of private reserve, over 1.5 miles of beachfront, 3 miles of contiguous ridge lines, and over 20 miles of trails from the coast to the redwood forest, its environmental ecosystems are beautifully preserved.
The Main Inn honors the original footprint of the earlier inn bed and breakfast with an awe-inspiring architectural design and decor carried throughout the living and dining areas with feature fireplaces, library, the three second floor accommodations, and the lower level recreation room. Outside, a welcoming wrap around porch positions cozy seating for daydreaming, migrating whale sightings, cocktails and optimal sunset views. An outdoor kitchen and firepit is ready for events large and small and a 7-person rooftop hot tub is an amazing addition for panoramic views day and night. Every aspect of the Inn contributes to the warm and intimate atmosphere that defines every experience, whether a romantic or friend getaway, the perfect wedding, a retreat to uplift your soul, educate your mind, inspire your spirit or business. Viewed from the Main Inn, the striking contemporary Redwood House rises dramatically above the coastal bluffs, uniquely supported by 24 raw redwood trees. A west facing wall of glass highlights stunning ocean views. Three uniquely designed spacious suites with kitchenettes showcase distinctive fireplaces, cozy seating and artisan crafted mantles and headboards. Each ensuite bathroom reveals creative elements of design. Downstairs group spaces include a meeting room for retreats and conferences, sitting area, plus two private massage rooms.
The third guest space available is the owner’s spacious home, Sea Drum House, offering a modern escape in a separate four bedroom coastal accommodation with kitchen and optimal living and dining space. Stunning views and an element of seclusion perfect for wedding and special gatherings make this a wonderful addition to Newport Ranch. The interiors of each accommodation incorporate the native redwoods in unique and unexpected ways. Antique farm and logging equipment has been transformed into stunning chandeliers, lamps, or wall art. Historic photos enhance the connection with past and present along with the grazing cattle and cowboys on horseback rounding up the herd. Will’s childhood ice skates become door handles, and a discovery hunt for hidden treasures is a favorite guest pastime. His pride in details include his personal favorite walk-in fireplace with stone seats in the dining hall and the spiral redwood root that anchors the Main Inn stairway. Actually, his boundless enthusiasm extends from rare redwood finds to antique discoveries, educational ideals, and the wonders of the oceanscape. To truly appreciate every aspect of the property, The Inn at Newport Ranch offers guests an ATV tour that thoroughly illuminates all aspects of the land and sea, flora and fauna. The daily tours are led by the delightful staff at the Ranch, who infuse each tour with fun facts and a deep history of the area. Otis Brown — historian, naturalist, guardian of coast, trails and trees — is another staff treasure who charms guests with his easy humor and knowledgeable local perspective. Guests will find hiking, biking, barbecue picnic lunches, sundowner cocktail getaways, and horseback rides are arranged to maximize the experience. Nearby beach accesses are opportunities for fishing and whale watching tours, sea kayaking, and even diving. Local wineries are highly recommended for tastings.
We learned from Otis that his commitment to The Inn at Newport Ranch and the acres he oversees is also a family affair. The extensive organic garden that is the farm to table link to the exceptional dining at the Inn is the domain of his wife, and their children share their passions. The fresh produce is central to the dining experience at the Inn, which is helmed by Executive Chef Cooper Bogard. Breakfast is typically ranch size, preparing guests for a day in the fresh air and great outdoors with fruits and egg or tofu main dishes. The dinner menu typically includes a fresh fish, meat, and vegetarian option, fresh vegetable dish and delectable soup. Wine and canopies are sundowner treats and the refrigerator is stocked with refreshments and snacks for guests to raid day or night. Discovering the natural beauty of California’s northern coast is an exhilarating adventure and a stay at the Inn at Newport Ranch is a superlative boutique experience, a discovery that everyone from Conde Nast to Andrew Harper to Modeliste finds memorable and meaningful.
In the words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”