A collection of weathered Cape Cod-style cottages on rocky bluffs above the Pacific, the tiny village of Mendocino on California’s North Coast has a distinct sense of visual drama. Perhaps that’s why it became a thriving artists’ colony in the 1950s; today galleries, bakeries, and cafés, with a few historic water towers thrown in, make for good wanderings about town. You can even stay in one of those picturesque water towers at J.D. House, a tasteful bed-and-breakfast, or book a modern room at its recently opened sister property, the refined Blue Door Inn. Driftwood lines the secluded sands of Mendocino Headlands State Park, where rugged cliffs, sea grottoes, and winding trails surround the town. Spend the day beachcombing, and end it with the crispy crab cakes and poached steelhead at Nicholas Petti’s wonderfully inventive Mendo Bistro in neighboring Fort Bragg.