We pulled up to the schoolhouse around midnight on a chilly October evening feeling a bit hesitant about this home we'd chosen to dwell in for the weekend... opening the door felt a bit like entering a scene from the Shining. It was so expansive that we felt maybe we'd lose each other in it...or the artwork in the bedrooms might come to life...or we'd be sent to the Principal's Office and never be allowed to go home! I hate to admit that was our first impression because what was to come was a girl's weekend fantasy come true.
The Old Albion Schoolhouse actually did serve as the school for the town from 1924-1968. It is beautifully restored, even the schoolroom signs are left in their proper places...I chose to sleep in the "Principal's Office". The "Cafeteria" is now the kitchen. It has a gorgeous view to the ocean, lovely copper countertops and a huge fireplace to gather around. We cooked, dined and sipped champagne by the fire.
In 1995, legendary record producer, Bill Bottrell, purchased the schoolhouse and made it a home for his family. Later he moved his recording studio into the "Library" and many artists such as Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Seal, and Shelby Lynne recorded there. The soundstage, complete with working board, mics and instruments, is the centerpiece of the house and was an absolute blast to play on! This is where we got a little "girls gone wild"... letting our inner rock stars shine, dancing and belting out the songs for hours.
After spending time in the house, we realized that what we felt when we opened the door was the rich history coming at us... If the walls could talk about the school days, the community center for urban refugees in the 70's, the basement haven for the Hell's Angels and c'mon... Tom Petty! The energy enveloped us and we were were absolutely in awe of the home.
It's too special to visit only once, but no future visit could rival the first stay in this grand property on the northern coast of California. We simply could never have imagined how amazing it was. Just four ladies rocked that schoolhouse! We created and left our own sweet and raucous memories there that will forever stay between us and the walls.
food & libations: Mendocino Cafe for the Thai Firepot!
cool for kids: performing on stage, the land to run around & visit with the alpaca
must visit: the nearby river for a kayak run, the historic town of Mendocino