Two hours from Yosemite Valley, Lee Vining provides seasonal alternatives for Yosemite lodging
I love, love, love El Mono Motel & Latte Da Coffee Cafe in Lee Vining, California. Last year after meeting the owner, Kelly, I was determined to stay at this quintessential California motel. On a recent visit, I did just that!
The cafe is fabulous; cheerful, welcoming, and great place to hang out. Clearly, the garden courtyard, front porch with willow chairs and views of the Eastern Sierra sky keep guests coming back and happy! Wish they'd spend less time online and more time taking in the ambiance. Some of the best coffee on the "East Side". Made with love, homemade baked goods ATDF!
The motel is another on of those places I adore. If you want the Ritz, don't stay here. For me, this is as good as it gets and rates five stars when it comes to customer service, prices, and location. The garden is enough of a reason to stay. Just ask all the birds. I opted for a room with shared bath. The rates are great. The room with queen bed and sink was just perfect and included that spectacular garden view. Yes, there is some Highway 395 noise, but I was content. This place is hugely popular with Europeans, especially Germans and most people heading to or from Yosemite and hikes in nearby high country wilderness.
The Mono Lake Committee bookstore and visitor center is literally across the street. The right turn up Highway 120/Tioga Pass to Yosemite (closed in the winter) is a mile south on 395. El Mono -- close to all of the splendor and great outdoors that is the Eastern Sierra -- is just miles away from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area.
When you stop in, give Kelly my best!