Ferndale-- Ferndale California shopping is
one of the finest experiences you'll find on the West Coast. Not only
will you delight in the look and feel of the solid Victorian buildings
(made from old growth redwood), in which shoppers gain a sense of
comfort and longevity, you'll also discover that the tucked away village
on the Northern California coast in Humboldt County seems quaint and
old-fashioned, yet the shops contain anything from funky hats to modern
sculpted art such as Satava's jellyfish.
For over a year we saw the photos
of Ferndale, read about their old-fashioned events such as the Christmas
tree lighting ceremony in the village, studied the place and thought it
seemed like a fun destination with a sense of community. It was just so
hard to get to from Los Angeles. And the drive of 635 miles would take a
solid day or maybe two of driving.. Fortunately, Horizon Air came
along with nonstop flights to nearby Arcata Airport in the summer of
2005. The trip suddenly was reduced to a few hours and the cost of a
ticket purchased in advance was not prohibitive. With enough in the
budget to rent a car and still buy a few trinkets or pieces of art, all
systems were go.
As you drive into the village with
its towering redwood trees lining the city street, you instantly notice
the houses are authentic. There are some new, customized
Victorians in Los Angeles we've seen lately, but they're not like these
authentic properties. The buildings alone make shopping difficult
because they're so beautiful, you could easily spend your time just
taking pictures of the wood trims and scroll work.
But the real surprise is that
Ferndale offers a wide selection of not only antiques, but also boutique
gift items and quality art. There are many artists represented in
several shops and galleries, with the work often reflecting local themes
such as the ocean or fishing. The finishes are often glass,
bronze or in the case of paintings, watercolors, oils and acrylics.
From delightful shop windows where
the sunlight electrifies the colors of a piece of sculpted glass, to a
couple stands outdoors on the shady side of the street where funky hats,
derbies, caps and bonnets all hang from a wooden rack, Ferndale offers
something for every taste and era it seems.
To break up your shopping, there
are some great cafes, restaurants and an old-fashioned soda fountain
where bright red and white Ferndale football jackets from the high
school team's 1967 season hang on the wall. You've just gotta'
love this taste of a small town made up of friendly people, great
architecture, interesting gift products and a setting beyond compare at
the edge of a redwood forest. Ferndale is for those willing to drive a
bit further to explore the town. The shopping is a bonus.
Where to stay when
visiting Ferndale? There are several B&B inns and
hotels with quite limited booking options. We simply can't
help ourselves, however. There's really only one place to
enjoy, and that's in Eureka.
Carter House Inns is our favorite. But there are
many budget and affordable properties, as well, so if money
is a concern (and it is these days),
book one of the other 14 or so hotel properties nearby
in the top tourist destination for the region, Eureka.
Eureka < Ferndale >Fortuna