02-15-2021 President’s Day in Victorian Ferndale

As we were planning our trip, we kept a close eye on the weather.  In spite of the predictions for rain throughout the trip, there was a small weather window for Tuesday, the 16th.  A slight chance of sunshine and only partly cloudy skies were predicted on several weather websites.

We talked about the options of visiting the tiny town of Ferndale on Tuesday rather than Monday.  Walking around a Victorian themed town in the rain might not be nearly as delightful as enjoying it during that sunny weather window. We were also a bit concerned that our visit to Ferndale coincided with President’s Day in addition to being on a Monday when small town shops are often closed.   

However, we had bigger plans that would require sunny weather much more than a simple day in Ferndale.  The Lost Coast backway was an experience that Mo and I have shared a couple of times and we wanted to share it with Deborah.  We woke up to another very gloomy day Monday morning and prepared to follow our original plan for a slow easy day moving and visiting the little town.

We took our time with an easy morning, sharing coffee, playing one more hand of Hand and Foot.  Around ten we packed up the MoHo, hooked up the car and prepared for our very short travel day. 

It was a short 21 mile jaunt from our park in Eureka to our next camping location near Ferndale. Between Eureka and Ferndale is the tiny historic hamlet of Loleta, once the location of the Loleta Cheese Factory.  As we planned the trip, knowing Deborah was a cheese lover, we included a cheese factory visit.  Sadly, that was not to be.  The cheese factory succumbed to bankruptcy just last fall.  The wonderful aged white cheddar is no more.

Mo and I have camped at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale in the past.  When we were last there the park was nearly empty but due to the wet grass the park host put us on the pavement.  This time, when we arrived, the park looked partially full and the wet grass sites were soft and there was a lot of mud.

The caretaker was an extremely friendly, talkative, jokester full of pithy comments who finally decided that the campground was much too soft for us and instead helped us settle in along the midway area of the fairgrounds.  We were behind a gate, although it was never locked so that wasn’t a problem.  He assured us the “homeless types” were not a problem here because he made sure they weren’t encouraged.  He also assured us the the police drove through repeatedly throughout the night so we shouldn’t be worried.  It hadn’t occurred to us to be worried but we smiled and nodded and said Thank You.  He also was completely unconcerned about taking our money and said he would get back to us for that part in the next couple of days.

This photo was taken on our sunny Tuesday, not the day we arrived in the rain.

We settled in, unhooked the Tracker and let Mattie have a nice little run on the thick very wet grass.  Our friendly camp host also called around to some of the local restaurants to check if there was inside or outside seating available.  Deb wanted to treat us to a nice dinner out while we were on this trip and our fish and chips luxury from Crescent City wasn’t enough to satisfy her.  We decided to save the eating out day for Tuesday, when we knew we would be tired from a long day exploring the Lost Coast.

The trip to town was walkable, but not on this day in the gloom, and probably not for me.  When we arrived in Ferndale, I decided it would be best for me to try using my walker instead of sticks.  It was an excellent choice.  Sometimes standing around gives me a lot more trouble than walking and I had the option of not being in a rush and being able to sit down while Deborah browsed to her heart’s content.

Ferndale is a truly charming place, and even in the pandemic it was lovely to visit.  The architecture is beautiful enough from the outside that indoor shopping wasn’t needed to enjoy the town.  However, a few shops were open where we meandered and perused the lovely offerings.  One store we especially enjoyed has delightful linens, soaps and lotions, art and jewelry.  It was a shop Mo and I had visited in the past and it was nice to see it thriving in spite of Covid.

After browsing the main street of the charming town, we decided to visit the cemetery.  I managed to walk the distance without having to reload the walker and Mo drove there to meet us as we arrived.  I think the Ferndale cemetery is one of the most charming we have visited.  Only one I remember that comes close is the beautiful cemetery on the hills around Natchez, Mississippi.

Mo stayed with Mattie when we discovered a sign saying no dogs were allowed.  She took her for a nice walk and by the time Deb and I returned she and Mattie were on their way to the car as well.

After walking the cemetery, where I was most grateful for my little red walker on those hills, we discussed exploring the beach just five miles west of town.  Not surprising that all three of us were happy to give up more explorations and return to the warm and cozy MoHo. Deb and I played cards and Mo again watched news as we whiled away the chilly afternoon all snugged up and happy.

Dinner was precooked ribs I brought from home and a big salad.  I thought of my friend Jeanne who loves my ribs. I know that if Jeanne comes west from her Vermont home to visit, those ribs are an absolute must! We shared a bottle of Druid’s Fluid, a lovely red blend from our local Troon’s Vineyard that Deb brought along on the trip to celebrate Valentine’s Day and chocolate.  It was just as good with our ribs!

It was a perfect day even with the gloomy weather and we were excited to read weather reports that indicated our Tuesday day of explorations would be lit by brilliant sunshine and no rain.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

2 thoughts on “02-15-2021 President’s Day in Victorian Ferndale”

  1. We love Druid’s Fluid! I am in awe of how organized you are, making delicious gourmet meals ahead of time. Ferndale is lovely, and it’s a place I’ve always wanted to explore. Thanks for the tour. 🙂


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