When we last left off, I was puking my guts out in a hotel room in Eureka, California, plagued by a nasty stomach flu…
The next morning I woke up feeling a bit better, which was good since we only had the hotel for a night. I slept in as late as possible and then I took a nap while Jon went for a run. After he got back, I ate some bland toast and was able to keep it down, so we checked out and got on the road. We looked around historic downtown Eureka and poked around a little antique shop (sadly I didn’t find anything I had to have). We also stopped and took some photos of the Carson Mansion.
The Carson Mansion was built between 1884 and 1885 for William Carson, who earned his money shipping Redwood lumber in the middle and late 1800s. The Carson Mansion has been a private club since 1950 and is not open to the public, so we were only able to take photos from the street, but it is a beautiful home! The club does have information and photos of the interior of the mansion posted here. The mansion is 3 stories (the cupola adds a fourth) and has 18 rooms. Inside, the home is exquisitely detailed with Redwood paneling, ornate wood carvings and gorgeous stained glass windows. The home was sold directly by the Carson family to the club, so the mansion has been maintained since it was built, and has never fallen into a state of disrepair like so many other fine, historic homes.
Our first destination after leaving Eureka was the Victorian town of Ferndale, population 1430 (have I ever mentioned that I love when cities tell you their population on the sign?). The entire town of Ferndale is listed as a California Historic Landmark (#883). We stopped at a little general store which had a neat eclectic mix of items, from modern decor and fancy food items, and several exhibits upstairs with antique items arranged in displays of rooms and shopfronts. There were displays of a millinery, a dry goods store, and an exhibit on Chinese Foot Binding. Well worth a visit.
We wandered the main street and I took some photos of the Victorian buildings. We checked out the small grocery to see if there were any local items that intrigued us too. By this time I was feeling hungry and hoping that I could eat something. We stopped in at the Lost Coast Café and I asked the server (who was also the cook) if he had any soups that were bland, and he explained that he had a a cabbage soup in a tomato broth – normally he would serve it with a feta cheese garnishment, but I wasn’t sure that would be a great idea for my so recently traumatized stomach.
The soup was delicious, even though I didn’t go for the feta topping. It was served with delicious homemade bread. I only ate half of a small cup of soup – even though I was starving I didn’t want to risk eating too much. I had a spearmint green tea, hoping to keep my stomach calm. Jon had a really good salad with caramelized onions, olives, zucchini, tomato, feta cheese, and peppers. Jon said it may have been the best salad he ever had.
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep my lunch down for long once we left the café. Sadly, I only made it about 20 paces before I puked it up on the bark mulch at the base of a tree, on the main street of historic Victorian Ferndale. A woman who was walking by watched me studying the base of the tree (I was assessing where would be my best option for lunch losing); she couldn’t figure out why I was so fascinated by that tree. She got more than she bargained for. Another of my not proud moments!
After I puked on Ferndale, we figured we had overstayed our welcome there and got back on the road…
We got back on California 101, towards Ukiah. On the way, there is another worthwhile detour through the Avenue of the Giants, another huge stand of Redwood trees. The Avenue of the Giants is a 31 mile stretch of the old highway 101. It is an opportunity to drive through stands of old and new growth Redwood trees. Avenue of the Giants claims the tallest tree in the world, at 370 feet. There are lots of places to go hiking or camping, and you drive through several tiny little towns along the way. It is a really beautiful area. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well enough to go for a hike, so we settled for a few stops near the side of the road for pictures.
By the time we reached Ukiah, I was feeling a bit better (have you heard this story before?). We found our hotel and freshened up, and then did a bit of driving around Ukiah while it was still light out. We stopped and peeked at the Redwood Tree Service Station, a little bit of Americana. It was once a gas station, built in 1936 out of a Redwood trunk carved out inside. It is now a small museum with gas station memorabilia. It was closed when we visited, but it was neat to see the historic gas pumps out front. Cute!
I tried to encourage Jon to try one of the delicious sounding restaurants that he had researched (I could just order white rice), but he didn’t want to have a fancy dinner if I wasn’t going to enjoy it too – what a sweet guy! So instead, we stopped at a Food Coop and got some things for dinner. I got some bland food – applesauce, bananas, and bread; but I was able to keep my dinner down – that was a vast improvement.