Ferndale and Humboldt County

Ferndale and Humboldt County

Welcome to Rich Life Travel Friday!



This time, I am taking you to Ferndale in Humboldt County, just a few hours north of Sonoma Valley.

My husband and I were invited to spend the weekend in Ferndale by some friends. They live in the same small town that we do and have a vacation home in Ferndale.

Bill and I  left very early on a Saturday morning and headed north up the Highway 101. We stopped off at the Tudor-style hotel, Benbow Inn, about an hour south of Ferndale. Built in the 1920’s, this hotel has old-world charm and gorgeous grounds.


It was a bit too cold and dreary out to relax on this lovely patio.


So we ventured into the lobby where I got cozy with a giant teddy bear…wearing a vest (but no pants).


The bridge over the Eel River makes for a bucolic scene. Can you imagine yourself lounging on one of those chairs on a warm day, sipping on a Ramos Fizz after brunch?


The back patio at Benbow Inn reminds me of a European hotel. I bet this place is lively and fun during the high season.


After a lovely breakfast at Benbow, we got back on the road and headed for Ferndale. Many rustic farms dot the countryside.


Spring, being such a colorful time of year, is the ideal season to visit Humboldt County.


This area is a landscape photographer’s dream. I started clicking away as soon as we arrived in the area.


We saw several abandoned farmhouses, dating back to the mid to late 19th century. This one was particularly fascinating and eerie to me, especially with that foreboding sky as a backdrop.


Once we arrived at our friends’ home, I knew it would be a great weekend. This is their barn. Isn’t it something?


I loved the way our friends landscaped their property. What a novel way to use a wheelbarrow!


They also have this adorable cottage on their property, built in the late 1800’s.


Once we unpacked our things, we headed a short distance to downtown Ferndale.

The first thing you notice about Ferndale’s Main Street is how colorful and ornate it is. Ferndale is known for its Victorian buildings which line the thoroughfare and are found throughout the area.

The shopping in Ferndale is great. I bought several unique things – home accessories and jewelry – that I will be showing you in future posts.


The stately hotel and restaurant, The Victorian Inn, is well known in the region. We already had our accommodations but if we needed a place to stay, we would certainly consider staying in this beautiful building.


Another option is The Gingerbread Mansion Inn, just a block from Main Street. Both inns have superb reviews and I doubt one could go wrong with either.


After a day of sightseeing and shopping, we returned to our friends’ beautiful house to freshen up, then ventured back to downtown Ferndale for a lovely and tasty dinner at Hotel Ivanhoe, a local favorite that has been around since 1870.

With full bellies, we returned to our friends’ home and spent the rest of the evening chatting away until it was well past our bedtime.

The next morning, I looked out the window and quickly grabbed my camera to head outside. I had to capture this moment: a sunrise over a nearby farm.


After Bill and I spent some time photographing the local landscape, we returned for breakfast: homemade French Toast with fresh fruit and coffee.

Later that morning, we packed up and hit the road. We decided to do some Humboldt County exploring.

If you know me well, you know I love cheese. I can’t remember the last time I went a single day without eating cheese. We visited Loleta Cheese Factory and stocked up with lots of blocks of cheddar, fontina, jack and more.I think we may make it through the summer with all the cheese we brought home!


Back on the road, we decided to take the very long way home through the Lost Coast. Unfortunately it was foggy out but still scenic nonetheless.


Over winding roads – some of them gravel – we finally made it to the coast. Talk about remote! We felt like we had the ocean to ourselves. Not a soul in sight.


It began to rain, which for us Californians these days is something special! It was such a beautiful drive. I really enjoyed all the little things like passing over this lovely one-lane bridge as we headed inland.


We passed through some stunning forests as drove away from the coast.


Mossy branches on tall trees looked eerie and almost sinister.


As we neared the highway, we drove through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This was my favorite part of the drive.  I love big Redwoods and the lofty canopies they create. This is the kind of nature I enjoy most.


Our visit to Ferndale and the Humboldt County area was two weeks ago and I still think about it everyday. Visiting this area was such a great way to unplug and slow down. From abandoned farmhouses to majestic Victorians, and the rugged coastline to quiet Redwood groves, it truly is a wonderful place to get in touch with nature, history and a slower pace.

Since my visit to Ferndale, my friend Abigail Zimmerman of Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen painted this lovely piece that she says was inspired by my sunrise photo of the farm. Isn’t this wonderful? She is so very talented. Be sure to visit her blog and say hello!


A big thank you to our friends for inviting us to share the weekend with them in their beautiful home. We had a wonderful time!

Have you visited Ferndale and Humboldt County?

Make it a rich day!



P.S. Don’t forget that Monday is the last day to submit your photo for How I Wear My: Layers. Visit the How I Wear My page for details.


  1. March 27, 2015 / 8:56 am

    Those trees are amazing, Adrienne! I love every image in this post and would enjoy this type of a journey so much. Thank you for taking us there. I also think you would have really enjoyed the experience I am posting about today…come on over!

    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:47 am

      Aren’t the tall Redwoods amazing? I love to stand among them – makes me feel so small!
      I am off to visit your post!

  2. March 27, 2015 / 9:22 am

    Gorgeous photos!

    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:46 am

      Thank you! Most were taken with my iPhone but my husband took lots too. He does such a great job!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Linda Salazar
    March 27, 2015 / 10:10 am


    Love that area so much! My sister and I took a road trip to San Francisco and Humbolt when I was in my early 20’s. I think we stayed in Garberville and I remember driving by the Benbow Inn. It looked like such a charming place, it’s nice to know it’s still in operation after all these years. I also recall that we drove to Shelter Cove and the road being pretty remote but so beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing your trip…brought back some great memories. 🙂


    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:48 am

      That sounds like a great trip! Garberville is a cute town – rustic.
      Benbow still has its charm, though would benefit from a little facelift. It’s showing its age a bit.
      We wanted to go to Shelter Cove but ended up getting off and heading inland too soon. Next time!
      Hope all is well.
      xo, A

  4. March 28, 2015 / 2:37 am

    I love the Friday Travel idea – and Ferndale looks like a marvelous place to visit! I’m saving your California travel posts for future visits – thanks!

    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:45 am

      Thank you, Anne! Let me know if you ever need any personal travel tips on touring California (especially Northern California). I would be happy to help in any way I can!

  5. Kathy
    March 28, 2015 / 7:21 am

    Next time we come up, would love to go there for an overnight stay. Looks absolutely beautiful.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:44 am

      That would be fun! I think you would like it. But it’s kind of a trek from here – about a 4 hour drive from where I live, add another hour or so from San Francisco – but the drive is beautiful.

  6. March 28, 2015 / 8:41 am

    Great post! As you know my husband is from Humboldt so it is near and dear to us. I love the Redwoods State Park, and I am amazed you guys made it to the Lost Coast- a very long drive. We went there on our honeymoon and stayed in a hotel/lighthouse!

    If people get to Ferndale they should check out the world famous Kinectic Sculpture Race which takes place Memorial Day weekend and is a 3 day event Arcata to Ferndale of human powered works of art! Really something. Ferndale houses a museum with them off season, if one is visiting.

    Another favorite in Humboldt is Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Grove with the oldest trees on earth and also the darling beach town of Trinidad, which is a historic whaling port. All beautiful!
    Loved your photos! xx Kim

    p.s. Link to race details : http://kineticgrandchampionship.com

    • Adrienne Shubin
      March 30, 2015 / 8:41 am

      Hi Kim,

      Yes, I did know that about your husband. I love the Humboldt Redwoods State Park – I find it so peaceful. How fun that you stayed in a lighthouse on your honeymoon! Is that at Lost Coast?

      I would love to see the race Memorial Day weekend. Bill and I have been talking about taking the RV up there again soon….maybe this summer to cool off a little (I love how close Ferndale is to the ocean – keeping temps down in the summer).

      I have been to Trinidad. Darling town! They have a cute lighthouse there as well. I will have to make sure we visit Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Grove. Thank you for the tips, Kim! xo, A

  7. March 30, 2015 / 10:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this! We have camped in the Redwoods several times, and visited Ferndale during one of our trips. Such a lovely part of the country!

  8. Sofia
    April 5, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    As a resident of Humboldt County (specifically Arcata), it was really neat to see you enjoyed your time up here in my neck of the woods. I hope you’ll consider coming up to Arcata too!

    I’m a long-time reader who’s never commented before but I just got really excited to hear about a visitor seeing what a great place Humboldt County is!

    If you ever need recommendations for other places to visit in Humboldt you can feel free to contact me. 🙂

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  10. Alexis Nelson
    June 30, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    I am a bride to be living in Ferndale, WA. I am looking for a barn that I could use as a venue. I like the barn which you have photographed, I wonder if you remember the name of it?? I would appreciate it.

    Alexis Nelson

    • Adrienne Shubin
      July 1, 2015 / 9:20 am

      Hi Alexis – this is a barn in Ferndale, California. The people who own the barn don’t rent it out for events. Sorry!
      Thanks for asking,
      Best, Adrienne

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