Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Slice of...Humboldt County, California!


Oh hello, Sometimes Sweet friends!! We are Michelle and Chad (and Dharma and Bodhi, too!), and we’re pretty sure we live in the most magical place on earth (Disney World ain’t got nothin on us!)…and that’s why we want to share it with you! If you live in the US (or not!), you should most definitely make our home your next vacation destination!



Greetings from Humboldt County, California!

At first, we thought maybe it was just us and the excitement of being somewhere new and completely different from the dry, hot, crowded desert that we were used to, but we soon learned that we are not the only ones who feel a sudden wave of tranquility the moment we pass the Humboldt County sign on Highway 101, like a breath of fresh air…real clean air! Its funny how many people don’t even know of this place, but I think we secretly kind of like it that way. We live right on the coast in Northern California, when you think “Nor Cal” you probably think San Francisco and that’s about it…but there is a whole enchanted world beyond the bay that you must explore! From San Francisco, take the 101 North and in about 4 hours you will be in awe of your surroundings…thick forest and rolling hills as far as the eye can see, not to mention the majestic ancient redwoods old and wise and grander than anything you have seen before(unless you’ve seen a dinosaur, then you win). And that’s not all, there are a handful of fun little tourist traps along the way…you know you need a redwood burl of a bear, or a Bigfoot, or…Shrek.
 

The drive takes you through The Avenue of the Giants, the One Log Home, and Confusion Hill (where the water runs backwards in the stream!). You’ll pass through a few small towns with one main row (along the 101) of independently owned shops, restaurants, cafés, and natural foods stores. You’ll feel like you’re in a hippie mecca, and you totally are…hippies love Humboldt, fact. ;)

 

We actually live in Eureka, which is a small coastal town (we can see the bay from our back porch!) and like all the other towns along the way, the 101 runs right through it. It’s actually our main road through town and not at all like the highways and freeways of a big city. We are actually a big logging town (more heavily in the early days) and there is an insane amount of history here. Our neighborhoods are filled with beautiful Victorian homes painted in some of the wildest color combinations we’ve ever seen (its fun to say you live next door to the teal, lime, orange, yellow house or the pink and gray house with the gargoyles)! And there is the coolest house in old town Eureka called the Carson Mansion, it’s was used as a model for the Haunted Mansion at Disney Land (see…told you it was magical here! We inspired Disney Land. Holler!).

 

We have 5 local farmer’s markets each week (there are actually more but we go to just 5 of them…that’s plenty), and everything is amazing and delicious and fresh! They are vended by the farmer’s themselves and everything is local, and it’s far less expensive than shopping at the grocery store. We have a huge local food scene, and because we aren’t exactly located in the most convenient location for delivery (you should see our gas prices…insane!), we have the most sustainable community we’ve ever lived in…not perfectly so, but far far better than anywhere we’ve been yet. In addition to local produce we also have local coffee, a local tofu shop (this means nearly every restaurant in town has local vegetarian options, seriously awesome!), all kinds of local cheeses, dairy, and eggs, local Humboldt free range grass fed beef (you can visit the farms for yourself!), and also incredible local products like jams, sauces, vegan cookies and cakes, vegan jerky, vegan chocolates, and honey. We have an amazing natural foods store and our co-op has the best bulk section we’ve ever seen (we sometimes take our guests there like it’s a tourist attraction)! We aren’t really big drinkers ourselves, but we also have 3 local breweries and a handful of great wineries too, all award winners! We also have some really fantastic restaurants, almost all catering to vegetarians with vegan options too. And we love knowing that even when we eat out our food is fresh and local, we don’t have many chain restaurants at all (we do have a sizzler, of all things) and our towns actually have ordinances against big business, only allowing a certain number of corporations in (we are proud to say we do NOT have a WalMart!!). We even have one fully vegan restaurant called Wildflower, in Arcata…vegan mac and cheese, vegan french toast, vegan rueben?...delicious!!

 

We also just to happen to have a really great arts community and we have a few local art nights each month. But not only are there painters, sculptors, crafters, graffiti writers, photographers, film makers, dancers, singers, any-instrument-under-the-sun players, bakers and candlestick makers…we have inventors too! Check out the Kinetic Grand Championship! We have a lot of concerts and little festivals year round, and our community of people is overall very artsy, loving, open, and peaceful…it is not rare to get free hugs here in Humboldt. One of our favorite spots in town is called the “Devil’s Playground” (we have no idea why it’s called that, there is nothing particularly devilish about it), it is an abandoned truck docking station behind the mall (the “mall”), that has been taken over by artists. It is such a rad place!

Art gives life to the things people have forgotten.

 

We live in the trees, man (imagine our best Tommy Chong impression here)!

It’s seriously so amazing! When else will you EVER be in the Ewok Village? Let’s be real. If you ever get the chance to visit the Redwood Forest, we highly recommend it we have had some incredible experiences among the ancient trees of Humboldt. There is something deeply humbling about little tiny you in a thick forest of giants. We have a lot of great places for woodland adventures here! Right in town we have the Arcata Redwood Park, which is located right next to Humboldt State University and Sequoia Park in Eureka, but there are forests all around us so we could pretty much head in any direction and be in the trees (unless we head towards the ocean, but we’ll get to that later). Our forests have a feeling all their own, and no matter what time of year it is, the colors are so impressive! It is like a vivid green empire of ferns, moss, leaves and foresty things. And mushrooms! We have so many fungi! And if you pass the giant Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox, be sure to pull over for a photo! And check out the Trees of Mystery!

Flippin magical dudes, we’re tellin ya!



Fern Canyon is a rad spot located off the highway down this long bumpy dirt road, into the mystical land of Jurassic Park! Well okay, there aren’t any dinosaurs…but they did film here! Even without the dinosaurs, Fern Canyon is an epic place for an afternoon adventure. (Run around like screeching like velociraptors if you want, we don’t judge.)


 

Chad proposed to me by the river in Avenue of the Giants…so romantical.

 

The trees are seriously huge…just in case you didn’t believe us.

 

We also live right by the ocean…yes, THE ocean! Not the kind of beaches you go to for swimming or laying out with a book, it’s too cold for that (although we do have rivers, which are awesome for swimming in the summer!). We have the kind of beaches that make you have to pick your jaw up off the sand, like completely breath taking. If you are a photographer you should come here to take your next prize winner, and if you’re not…your pictures will look awesome anyway. ;)

We don’t go in the water because it’s freezing (also I am not interested in leaving this world as a snack), but Dharma does! Oh, and surfers, surfing is pretty big up here. There’s Loleta Beach, Samoa Beach and dunes, Clam Beach, Moonstone Beach, Lufenholtz, College Cove, Trinidad, Patrick’s Point State Park, which has the agate beach…and those are just the ones we go to! Our beaches are dope! It is the only place we’ve ever been where the forest floor turns to sand and opens up to the ocean, all in one 20 minute hike. One side of you is trees and the other is ocean. It’s…magical! (have we mentioned?)
 
 
 

Yay! We hope we didn’t bore you with all of this awesomeness. ;)
And we hope you come visit Humboldt on your next road trip!
Living here has completely changed our lives, and we feel it has helped us grow into the people we are now.
If you can spend some time here or even just pass through and pull over at one of the view points, you’ll know just what we mean.
Much Love homies.

May the force be with you…nanu nanu.
M+C

 

14 comments:

  1. I was SO close to going to Humboldt State. Kinda wish I did now!

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  2. Wow! It sounds like such an amazing place to live. I love small towns - they have such a homey vibe to them, that you can't experience in the big cities! I also love going to farmers markets...you get the BEST produce!

    :) I just loved your post
    xoxo
    -erinj0

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  3. I have lived in Humboldt my entire life and the best word truly is "magical." I vowed never to take Humboldt's beauty and charm for granted simply because I experience it every day. There really is no other place on earth like it! I went out to my car earlier and saw a banana slug- my favorite forest creature, aside from the ewoks.

    The Kinetic Sculpture is this weekend- one of Humboldt's awesomely quirky events. For the glory!! Oh, and the Oyster Festival is on my birthday this year, June 18- score!

    Much Humboldt love,
    lindseythefork

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  4. That place does sound magical! Maybe one day?!

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  5. *sob sob sob sob sob* I miss my home. I am a Humboldt girl now living in Portland and i miss cali

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  6. This was so beautifully written, thank you for that breath of fresh air! Your beaches look pretty amazing but they ain't got nothing on the west coast beaches in auckland, new zealand ;)

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  7. oh gods, that looks like a fantastic place to live! I surely wanna visit once I make it over the seas! :o)

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  8. You've sold me.
    Sounds absolutely incredible!!
    And who wouldn't want to live in a town called Eureka?

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  9. Agreed. It is a great place.

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  10. LOVE this....thank you. I visited close by last year, but not close enough, and my heart yearns to return.

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  11. So fantastic to read this love letter to Humboldt. I lived in Trinidad as a kid, but left when I was 4 and have lived in England ever since. But whenever I return, drive North from SF and start weaving through those big trees, it feels like home all over again. Thanks for the visit!
    Bryony

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  12. There's a Walmart in "the mall" now

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  13. I live in Eureka with a view of the bay, too! I hope you're still here and loving this area as much as my family and I do! We moved here in 2005 from Santa Rosa (in Sonoma County) and never looked back!

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