Last summer, I got lucky. By chance or fate or skill, during my Northern California driving trip, I connected with Julie Benbow, Executive Director of Visit Redwoods, the Humboldt County visitors bureau. During my time staying in Eureka, she introduced me to some fabulous sights, and even arranged for entrance to the world-famous Carson Mansion.
Not only did I adore working with Julie, but she apparently liked me as well, since she invited me back up to Humboldt County, offering to host my trip to see some of the rest of her county. I accepted immediately, and am so excited that the trip is happening this week!
I am flying from Burbank directly to Arcata-Eureka on Avelo, a new low-cost carrier based out of Burbank for their west coast operations. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you no doubt hate LAX, so any opportunity to fly out of Burbank is appreciated. Avelo graciously offered to work with Julie to sponsor my flight, so I like them even without setting foot on board yet. (I’ll probably write more about them as the trip progresses, so stay tuned for an honest review both of the airline and of flying with the mask mandate lifted. And yes, I’ll still be in my N95.)
While as of this writing a few things in Humboldt still aren’t confirmed, I can give you the basic itinerary. Articles will come after, starting in the beginning of May. And you can follow along on my Instagram for daily photos.
Humboldt County Itinerary
Day One – Burbank to Ferndale
It’s an afternoon flight, so basically I’m just picking up my rental car and heading south of Eureka to Ferndale, a small town of about 1300 best known for being the birthplace of Guy Fieri. My bed and breakfast looks adorable, and the town looks cute as well.
Day Two – Ferndale
Today’s focus is regenerative and sustainable farming. I’ll be heading to two different micro farms to talk about the industry and how tourists from the big city can have an amazing agricultural experience at a farm that actually gives back to the land rather than rendering it unusable after a few years. I’m also going to be learning more about the local farm to table movement, and exploring the town during daylight hours.
Day Three – Ferndale to McKinleyville
I am changing lodging today, and I do want to explore McKinleyville a bit, and will in the afternoon, but this morning I am going to be with an oyster fisherman on Humboldt Bay. Did you know most California oysters come from here? Well now you do, and I’m going to learn how they are fished, and hopefully how to better shuck them before eating these treats directly from the water. Yeah, this is a story I’m excited to write!
Day Four – McKinleyville
Today is all about Trinidad. No, not the island. This Trinidad is a small town on a little rocky bay north of Arcata, and is supposed to be one of the most picturesque coastal towns in California. A pretty walk to their lighthouse, some fried shrimp or clams from the bay, an art gallery or two, and perhaps a glass of wine – sounds perfect, no?
Day Five – McKinleyville
Besides oysters, Humboldt County is known for having the best on the west coast – and maybe in the country – of another product. That’s right, today’s story is all about cannabis! I am hoping to visit a farm and a dispensary, learning about cannabis growing, the up and coming industry of cannabis regional tourism, and to talk about some of the challenges with an industry that is still technically illegal at the federal level. I may even try some, although I’ve only smoked once back in college. But when in Humboldt…
Day Six – McKinleyville to Burbank
Today the trip will come to an end, but not before I get to explore Arcata a bit. The “second city” of Humboldt County, Arcata offers some pretty scenery, nice Victorian homes, and apparently a marsh that is a sewage dump turned wildlife refuge. I can think of no better way to end a trip that is so focused on nature and agriculture.
So that’s the trip! Below is a map that includes most of Humboldt County. Ferndale is the flag to the south, while McKinleyville is to the north. Please follow along on my Instagram, and I can’t wait to share stories with you from this awesome part of my state!