World-Class Hospitality Rooted in Midwestern Traditions
The North Coast certainly isn’t short on top-notch boutique lodging options. We are blessed to have an eclectic variety of offerings that provide stunning views, charming architecture, interesting histories and an unmatched level of hospitality.
The Elk Cove Inn and Spa stands proudly as a member of that club.
They’ve been operating on the coast of Northern California since 1968, when it became one of the first bed and breakfasts on the Mendocino coast. For over 50 years now, it has offered one of the most idyllic settings available for overnight stays, welcoming guests from around the world. Located just 150 miles from San Francisco, and situated high atop the magnificent cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Elk Cove Inn provides spectacular views and direct access to Gunderson State Beach.
It continues to be a favorite for couples, individuals and groups of all ages and walks of life, and it certainly makes a great backdrop for small weddings.
Two of the Inn’s latest additions are innkeepers, Joshua and Amy Mitcham. Via email, Joshua sent us the story they tell curious guests about the adventures that led them to the North Coast.
“Three years ago, Amy and I eloped in the U.P. (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). Amy had always wanted to one day own and run a bed and breakfast. We thought it was a dream for the future. Shorty after our wedding, Amy, who was selling life insurance and working as an assistant to a financial advisor, found herself itching for a new challenge to take on. I pushed her to quit her job and look for something else,” Joshua begins.
After a long search, Amy came across an opportunity that would eventually lead them to the North Coast. She wanted to become an innkeeper and asked Joshua if he would quit his job as well and join her on this adventure. Joshua says, “Without a moment of hesitation, I responded with a resounding “ok” and our journey as innkeepers began.”
Just over two weeks later they both packed up their lives and headed to Massachusetts.
“We worked at a 25-room inn where we signed a short three-month contract,” continued Joshua. “We quickly realized this was the life we wanted to live, but we felt that particular inn was not quite the right place to settle in for an extended amount of time. We looked around a bit for other similar opportunities and found a quaint five-room bed and breakfast in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.”
Another move was in the works and the couple pulled up stakes, moving on to the next chapter in their innkeeping journey. “We found absolute bliss and beauty in Virginia and it was the perfect place for us to hone our skills. We signed a year-long contract and as that came to an end, we found ourselves wanting more,” related Joshua.
They signed on for a second year. Fortunately for the Elk Cove Inn and Spa, the property in Virginia had been sold. They stayed on until the sale was completed and were happy with the conclusion.
They took a vacation to recharge and worked a brief stint in Mayland. But they longed for a change in scenery. Joshua tells us: “We came across a position offered by a gentleman named Rakesh. We have both always dreamed of coming West and this position seemed to hold all the challenges and experience we were ready for. We flew out to meet with the Owner of the Elk Cove Inn and Spa and after a few days of getting to know each other, Rakesh asked us, with his back to the window, if we would like to come and manage the Inn for him. We considered this as we looked out on the Pacific and already knew what each other was thinking.”
California turned out to be home for them. “Since taking on the new position, we have found ourselves with a renewed energy and excitement,” Joshua said. “As we settle into the new role, and with the help of Rakesh, we are revitalizing this beautiful property and bringing our unique style of innkeeping to Elk, California. We plan to make upgrades around the property and focus on creating the best West Coast experience for our guests. We have signed a three-year contract and are so excited to be living our dream life here on the North Coast of California.”
When asked what they were most excited about for the future of the Elk Cove Inn, Amy replied, “Between the beautiful scenery, the property and the locals, Elk Cove Inn is the perfect place to come and feel amongst friends. We have always maintained that when you visit us, you can have as much, or as little, company as you want. We want guests to feel at home and that is something that we want to continue offering at the Inn. We think that’s what makes the bed and breakfast experience special.
However, we are looking forward to the future and are developing new ideas to try out and see what our guests find would add the most to their experience. We plan to continue making updates not only to decor, but also to the breakfast, and the property. The most important aspects of a bed and breakfast are the bed and the breakfast. We have already been upgrading our mattresses and plan to reinvent the already outstanding breakfast buffet to include specialty items that exceed expectations.”
The challenges of being innkeepers are many. Amy stated it this way: “Innkeeping definitely has its challenges because you are always juggling multiple tasks at once, but it’s also incredibly rewarding when you get everything done and both guests and staff are happy. At the end of the day, it makes it all worth it. There are long hours running an inn, no matter the size of the property, and it can be difficult to manage at times, but we always have each other to fall back on when one of us is getting burnt out.”
And the best part of innkeeping? “The best part is having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without having to leave the house,” relates Amy. “We have always loved hosting and innkeeping is just that on a larger scale. Besides the guests, we have also found innkeeping to be a way to satisfy our wanderlust. As we are travelling innkeepers and not the business owners, we have had the opportunity to manage inns for both long and short durations and it has opened up so many options for us to travel and see the world while also being able to truly see what it is like to live in different places that you don’t get to experience when taking a vacation.”
Rakesh Taneja, the owner of the Elk Cove Inn and Spa, has an interesting backstory as well. He and his son were staying at the Inn years ago and had such a wonderful time that he couldn’t resist the attraction to buy it when it came up for sale.
“I fell in love with this small town and the Inn,” said Taneja. “I have years of experience of owning hotels, but owning an Inn has its own challenges … but they are all worth it.”
You can read more about Joshua and Amy here. Click below to start planning your Elk Cove Inn getaway.