In the late 1800s Ferndale was an agricultural and transportation center, a melting pot for Scandinavian, Swiss-Italian, and Portuguese immigrants. The Main Street Historic District is on the National Register and the entire village is California Historical Landmark No. 883.
There's nothing stodgy in this small town, though; Ferndale loves to have fun! The cradle of the wild and wacky Kinetic Sculpture Race, Ferndale continues to host the finish of this off-beat art event, now a three-day contest. The village is home to many colorful events and festivals, including the Foggy Bottom Milk Run, Tour of the Unknown Coast bicycle run, Portuguese Holy Ghost Celebration, the Humboldt County Fair, Bargain Lovers' Weekend, Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade, and now Ferndale Concours on Main!
Explore the old-fashioned mercantiles, antique stores, art galleries, and specialty shops, hear the ringing of the blacksmith's hammer, and talk with the friendly people. Watch fresh candy being dipped by hand to whet your appetite for a fine dinner and an evening of theatre. Resting by the fire in your elegant bed and breakfast inn, think about tomorrow: a walk along nearby coastline, a nature hike in Russ Park (the 110-acre forest bird sanctuary), a boat tour of the Eel River Delta, a visit to the museum, a tour of Fern Cottage, a drive to the Lost Coast, a visit to the redwoods, a leisurely day filled with old-fashioned service and friendly faces.
Nestled between the two redwood forests in a thriving dairy community, you may discover Northern California's best-kept secret, the Victorian Village of Ferndale. Sunset magazine confirms, "you can immerse yourself in Ferndale's Victorian spirit."
Although it's been suggested that the Victorian village is a fairytale setting, Ferndale is a working, all-American town that takes pride in its beautiful community and cultural heritage. Here you'll find a town where the old way of life has not been compromised. The splendid buildings have been carefully restored, embellished with lovingly tended gardens, and people take the time to smile a friendly greeting.
About the Victorian Village
Photo courtesy of Ellin Beltz