Ferndale, California Shopping in the Historic Village


Ferndale Shops


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