A week ago, I flew home to Sacramento, CA, to surprise my mother on her <significant age> birthday. My dad and I had been plotting for months, so I was pleased that my mom really was surprised. Yay! And Happy Birthday Mom!
My dad and I debated a while about what to do the brief time I was there, and finally decided on our family favorite destination, Mendocino, on the California coast north of San Francisco. As a family, we have been going there for about 30 years – at first we would rent a house in town for the week of Thanksgiving, and a week in the summer. Parking the car and wandering the town and coastline was worth the four hour drive from Sacramento. Mendocino is completely My Happy Place. The Victorian village overlooking the wild Northern California coast is as picturesque as it always has been. In fact, the foggy town has been the filming location of many a movie and tv show – one summer we watched Julia Roberts in a convertible drive down the street over and over as they filmed “Dying Young.”
A very famous 1980s TV show was filmed here, “Murder, She Wrote‘” starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher. We never actually saw any filming, but Mendocino stood in for Jessica Fletcher’s town of Cabot Cove, Maine from 1982-1996, years we definitely vacationed there. We knew “her” house and Hill House Inn, as well as the iconic streetscape of the town. Earlier this year, I binge-watched almost every episode of “Murder, She Wrote” while working on some sewing projects. So deciding to take my mom there for her birthday was not only a no-brainer, but a chance to see some of those famous Cabot Cove sights!
It’s clear the town hasn’t forgotten about it’s famous (and rather deadly!) past. And I certainly hadn’t forgotten my past in Mendocino – most of the trip consisted of “remember the time…” Over the years, we rented many houses in the middle of town, and more recently, stayed in hotels outside of town. We’ve seen the stores change hands, or stay the same, and the coastline change, but mostly stay the same….
It was so nice to be home for a while, and to enjoy the rough, foggy coast (bundled up while Washington, DC, sweltered in miserable heat!). Being back in Mendocino made me want to rewatch all the “Murder, She Wrote” episodes – when we got back to Sacramento, I did make my parents watch one that was set in “Cabot Cove” so we could see the sights. I have to confess, I rather enjoyed Jessica Fletcher’s style, since it reminded me of what I wore in high school and college. It was fun to relive the location of special family history, and a television heroine as well. I feel like there were many lessons to be learned from Jessica Fletcher, and that’s part of what makes me want to watch the series again. Being where she once was, decades ago, makes her more alive. I am not the kind of person to make a random pilgrimage of someone I admire, but well, given the chance to see Mrs. Fletcher’s stomping grounds, how could I resist? Add in my favorite place in the entire world, and it was an easy choice. Oh, and celebrate with my mom! I love you Mom!