The sinuous road was a wiggle of curves as the car sailed deeper into the lush, green forest. The trusty machine had already passed through Sonoma with its endless rows of plumping grapes, driven beside the massive, crashing waves of the endless Pacific Ocean and roared into the congregation of towering trees of the Emerald Triangle.
Mendocino County, best known as the pulse of the United States’ cannabis production industry, has been home to many deep-forest growing operations and, subsequently, disastrous police raids. People come from all around the world for opportunities to trim marijuana, inspired by the urban-legend-level tales of making out with a lot of cash for a couple weeks or months of hard work.
This journey into the emerald paradise, however, was not to practice and perfect the delicate art of marijuana styling. Nor was it intended to delve into the fascinating world of illegal, outdoor grows. No. This particular trip was taken for one reason and one reason only: to chill hella hard at the only cannabis bed and breakfast in the entire state of California.
Anyone would be delighted to have the chance to slip away from the unrelenting demands of everyday life and bask in the satisfying silence of a secluded bed and breakfast in the woods, but to be able to do it while taking massive bong rips on the balcony makes it a truly unforgettable gem.
A sign above the cabin’s front door reads “Cannabis Always Welcome” and just one step inside confirmed the grin-inducing sentiment. It’s the details that give this carefully-designed retreat that extra sparkle. Pot leaf print is prevalent in the house from the bathroom to the bedspread in one of the downstairs rooms. The living room is fettered with cannabis memorabilia from posters to a diagram of cannabis sativa to the CHAMP logo proudly displayed right near the entrance.
The bookshelf boasts cannabis-centric literature, regional guides to aid guests in finding local adventures and stoner games to keep them entertained. On the top shelf there’s a bong, a rig, a torch, a pipe and other accessories for guests’ smoking pleasure. In the living room, two small couches sit in front of big television and a coffee table with a grinder, ashtray and incense holder. A spiral staircase near the massage room ascends into the master bedroom loft with a balcony that overlooks the organic apple trees and chicken coop in the front yard. Not bad for a space that used to be a barn and a garage.
“It’s all about the medicine. We wanted a place where people feel comfortable being themselves,” owner Sherry Glaser said.
Indeed, if ever there were a place to get comfortable, the Mendocino Bed, Bud and Breakfast was the one. The cast-iron, potbelly fireplace was roaring as plumes of smoke sailed through the room. A homemade meal was cooking in the oven of the full kitchen stocked with pots, pans, teas and utensils. Although groceries had been bought, the refrigerator had some food in it including breakfast items that could be prepared in the morning — organic orange juice, free range eggs, bacon, goat cheese and fancy ciabatta bread rolls. But, they weren’t just loading it on heavy for show. They go above and beyond for all of their guests.
Sherry Glaser and Sheba Love, the owners of this woodsy paradise, also run the Love In It Collective in Mendocino Village. The unassuming shop sits among the regular sights of a small town’s version of metropolitan area — coffee shops, novelty stores, boutiques — blending in as a just another place to shop in the area; given the potential customer has the proper documents, of course. Their choice of location and insistence at being viewed the same as any other business offering valuable and needed services, has helped to give them the courage to step further into the spotlight to advocate for what they know is right.
“The more we’re in the public eye, the safer we are — out of the cannabis closet. This is normal, what we do,” Sherry said proudly.
Sheba, the resident cultivator for Love In It, is somewhat of a legend. She was affiliated with CHAMP (Cannabis Helping Alleviate Medical Problems), the Castro District collective in San Francisco that was known for its overwhelming compassion and professionalism. The member-funded, member-ran, non-profit wellness cooperative took part in a landmark court case that helped to establish the right of dispensaries to offset sales with cost of goods sold. Now, a decade later Sheba and her partner Sherry provide safe access to world-class medicine at their family-owned dispensary and offer a peaceful sanctuary where people can safely medicate.
In order to stay in the beautiful cabin, a reservation must first be made through their residential listing on Airbnb. It costs $180 per night, which includes the awesome breakfast as well as access to hiking right through the backyard. Up to five people can stay in the family-friendly cabin with additional fees for extra guests. Although there’s no cable TV, there is a television there with a variety of DVDs to choose from as well as wireless internet.
Distractions like the TV and browsing the internet are no competition to the fun of being able to smoke freely while on a getaway adventure — a simple novelty which doesn’t wear off very quickly. Plus, the kind hosts stopped by to check in and ended up sharing some of their personal story behind the dispensary.
Earlier in the year, the business suffered a massive blow after being raided by the police in an event that left Love In It temporarily shut down and all of their products — including every single last one of their lush, green, homegrown plants — revoked.
“The laws are against us and they can take anything, anytime. If they’re going to come, they’ll come. It’s scary, but exciting being on the frontlines,” Sherry said.
As she recounted the story, her sparkling eyes, broad grin and effortless extroverted nature betray her history as a stage actress and comedian. Like most people with a knack for humor, she knows how to make any tragic story sound like a hilarious tale. In a moment of honesty, though, she shared more about the experience.
“It was hell! They terrorized our family, they took our plants and they treated us like criminals,” she said, shaking her head with frustration.
Luckily, Love In It reopened about a month after officials shut it down and all is well at the Bed, Bud and Breakfast again. Their Airbnb page boasts raving reviews from past guests who praised everything from the food to the location, noting how peaceful and serene it was to stay at the property.
As the sun rose the next morning, the ground was wet as the rain from the night before sparkled on the apple trees. An employee who worked on the five acres of property that the bed and breakfast sat on stopped by to see if any firewood was needed for the fireplace. As he brought the slabs of wood into the house, I asked him how he liked the space and how it was working for Sherry and Sheba.
“Are you kidding?” he laughed. “They are awesome. Look at what they’re doing,” he said, gesturing to the beautiful space we both stood in.
I took another look around the fully-furnished cabin to soak in a few more details: the honey-colored wooden floor, the inspiring magnets on the fridge, a small bouquet of homegrown Northern Lights mixed with Blueberry buds that Sheba had so graciously offered as a parting gift. It was true: they were awesome for all of the work that they do. From running a healing collective where patients can naturally medicate, to providing a picturesque cabin where people can feel comfortable and cannabis is always welcome.
Have you ever been to a bud & breakfast before? Tell us about it in the comments.
Originally published in issue 13 of Cannabis Now.