and you may miss it. With a population of 59 or so people,
the town on the Eel River is the gateway to Ferndale.
Fernbridge once was more populated place but industries have
changed its face.
Fernbridge's neighbor to the west, Ferndale, captivates the interest (and
sometimes hearts) of travelers who've heard about the charming Victorian
village with its shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and
beautifully-preserved buildings. Without Fernbridge however, the
historic buildings of Ferndale may have diminished and faded into decay
as so much of the late 19th and early 20th century California town
Fernbridge, the namesake for both
a small town and the
town's centerpiece bridge, connects Ferndale with
the outside world and millions of travelers passing through Redwood
Country in Humboldt County on California Highway 101, thanks to the
bridge. While the bridge remains the
busiest thoroughfare in town, side by side photographs would show a
different picture a century later. A convenience market, tractor store,
antiques mall and Humboldt Creamery plant where ice cream is made for
clients such as Costco (Kirkland brand) and Double Rainbow brand of San
Francisco, are some of the buildings scattered along Highway 211 and
Depot Road in the sparsely-populated Fernbridge.
Ferndale hasn't always relied on
Fernbridge for trade and commerce. Back in the 1800s, Ferndale was a commercial hub
sandwiched between the Eel River and the Pacific Ocean. As the river
silted, development moved to Humboldt Bay with the railroad and highway
skirting Ferndale, and cutting it off at Fernbridge.
While Friends of the Eel River
proclaim salmon fishing is nearly gone due to a predator Northern
Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis), the largest species of the
Minnow Family, fishermen enjoy casting a line at the mouth of the Eel in the towns of Loleta, Fernbridge, and
Fortuna. Once abundant and thriving, you can still find Chinook salmon
12 to 30 pounds in weight and early steelhead in late fall and
early winter. Slow-moving and stillwaters provide easily accessible
In late May on Memorial Day
weekend, Fernbridge participates in the wackiest race on land,
Kinetic Sculpture Race. People-powered contraptions or sculptures
complete a 38-mi/60-km course over three days, with the highest award
going not to the winner but to the contestant who comes in closest to
the middle. Understanding the logic of the race is not as important as
experiencing it but, according to the race's founders, winning and
losing are both extremes, therefore perfection lies somewhere in the
middle. Contestants utilize ordinary vehicles or design their own
creations and power them along a route from Arcata to Ferndale. As they
cross Fernbridge, they're in the home stretch in a hilarious, yet worthy
event that raises money for special causes.
Humboldt Creamery produces some of
the finest ice creams on the market in Fernbridge. Humboldt
Creamery is a cooperative of approximately 60 member dairies, many of
them family-owned businesses. Together they supply fresh milk which is
used in the production of fluid milk, powdered milk, ice cream and
frozen desserts. While most California dairies confine cows and feed
them the controversial growth hormone rBST, Humboldt Creamery
dairies keep their cows grazing on pastures most of the time and do not
use growth hormones that potentially affect the health of youth and
adults consuming these harmful products.
Humboldt Creamery, Loleta
Cheese Co. and Rumiano Cheese Co., the three dairy processors that buy
raw milk from dairies in Humboldt and Del Norte counties differentiate
many of their products as natural, rBST-free. Gaining in popularity, the
demand for these natural foods is huge and is expected to grow.
Getting to Fernbridge:
From California Highway
101, take the Fernbridge/Ferndale exit. Cross historic Fernbridge to
enjoy the scenic beauty of a region that's slightly tucked away in time.
Where to Stay: Your best
bet for a variety of accommodations can be found at Fortuna 3 miles away
or Eureka just up the road a ways.
Points of Interest: Be sure
Loleta Cheese Factory in Loleta, California 2.4 miles away and Ferndale,
5 miles beyond the bridge.
597 Fernbridge Drive Tel: 707-25-8820
40 Dealers offering a wide selection of antiques and collectibles.
In a turn of the century building at the gateway
to Ferndale, dealers offer art pottery, depression glass, English pine
furniture, vintage clothing and accessories, quilts, primitives, antique
lighting, coins, marbles, dolls toys and more.
Located just off Highway 101, directly across from the famous Fernbridge
Bridge. Open 7 days a week 10am - 5pm
Fernbridge Meat and Cold Storage
Fernbridge Meat and Cold Storage Company is famous for its cured
sausages and jerked meats.
Humboldt Creamery Association 06-0345
Fernbridge, California 95540
707-725-6182, Fax 707-725-6186
Fernbridge Tractor & Equipment
Address 20 Depot Road
Fernbridge, CA 95540 Directions: Take
Highway 101 to Ferndale/Fernbridge exit.
Continue on Frontage Road until you reach the turnoff for Ferndale.
Telephone (707) 725-5174 / (800) 427-5174
Fernbridge Tractor & Equipment Company carries products such as
John Deere Agriculture Equipment: Tractors from 40 to 425 horsepower,
Hay and Forage Equipment, Telehandlers and Tillage. Lawn and Garden
Tractors include Walk Behind and Riding Mowers, Gator Utilities
Vehicles, Compact Utility Tractors, Rototillers and Front End Loaders.
Gearmore Products include Blades and Scrapers, Post Hole Diggers and
Pounders, Chippers and Tillers. Lely Roterras, Lely Scrapers, Hibiscus
Hay Rakes, McHale Wrappers, Solexm Alamo Products, Kifco AgRain and
Victor Forage Equipment are carried by this full service store. They
also sell some great tractor replica ride toys for children.