FX Excursions

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Crabbing in California

by Angelique Platas

Nov 20, 2018

© Emily Van Dyke | Dreamstime.com


When you hear fresh seafood and shellfish festivals, it’s easy to think of summertime in New England and the famous, lobster-teeming shores of Maine. While summer on the East Coast may be awhile away, crabbing season on the West Coast is right around the corner.


Early 2019 brings a slew of fun festivals and events to Mendocino, California’s, pristine coastline, just in time for Crab Feast.


Each weekend in January brings new reason for travelers and West Coast families to find their way to Mendocino for more than just the weather and incredible views. Seafood fans will love the crab and wine pairings, fun tastings and ample opportunity to chow down on fresh shellfish.


Begin with a few stops at local, family-owned wineries like Meyer Family Cellars of Yorkville Cellars, or Brutocao Cellars and Graziano Family of Wines in Hopland. Enjoy homegrown wines paired with fresh crab and incredible views. Moving further inland toward Anderson Valley, families enjoy tasting menus and fun pairings from Seebass Family Wines at Phillips Hill. The kids will love the old apple-drying barn while the adults take in the local scenery and working history.


Anderson Valley Vineyards © Steven Larsen - Dreamstime.com

Anderson Valley Vineyards © Steven Larsen – Dreamstime.com


Make your way to Little River Inn for tradition crab fare and fun, hosted Jan. 18–19, 2019, and enjoy local entertainment, wine and fresh seafood during the Gualala Lions Annual Crab Feed. Save some room for the next day and make your way to Barrel Tasting 101, Jan. 19–20, 2019, for an inside look at future wine releases, $20 a ticket.


Kids and adults enjoy the best of the season mixed with some traditional farmstead fare at Pennyroyal Farm. Fill up on a crab brunch paired with wine for the adults (tickets $85). If you’re looking more for food and an experience, hop on the Skunk Train for the Crab & Crémant experience, heading to Willits and Fort Bragg, Jan. 20 and 27. Tickets range $56–66 for children and adults.


For something a little more casual, the Blue Collar Winemaker Dinner is hosted Jan. 22, at Navarro Vineyards. Enjoy pasta, crab and drink pairings by Cucina Verona for $20 meals and $6 wines.


On Jan. 26, guests of the 20th Annual Crab Cake Cook Off & Wine Competition can learn a thing or two about preparing crab. The expert-led, but friendly competition allows guests to dive into seemingly endless crab cake options amid live entertainment, auctions and family fun.


A well-rounded, crab-centric vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the water. Noyo Harbor offers tours of Point Cabrillo Light Station and even horseback rides with Richochet Ridge Ranch. Work off some food and wine with a light hike through Stornetta Headlands, or relax on a Land Rover ride, visiting Rothschild Giraffes at B. Bryan Preserve.


Bring the family to the Pacific shores for a festival loaded with summer fun, even in the dead of winter. Clearly January is a busy and fun time in Mendocino, with enough activities worth checking out throughout the month. Check out winter deals and offerings online.


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