erndale was founded in 1852. A prosperous dairy industry provided the economic base and the means to produce the splendidly ornate buildings. So well-preserved and colorfully painted are the Victorian shops, homes, and farmhouses that the state of California bestowed it as “The Victorian Village”. (Read more about Ferndale’s History here)
Ferndale’s beauty lies in the familiarity of its architectural lines. The trims of the windows and curves of the rooftop shingles appeal to the child in us who remember tracing these very lines on the pages of a storybook. Ferndale is the combined effort of grown architects who brought painted pictures to life.
The town is living museum of Victorian treasures. Unlike a regular museum, Ferndale begs to be touched, explored, and experienced. Ferndale sits in the heart of Northern California’s redwood forests and pastoral valleys and perches near the tip of the ocean. Ferndale is a unique blend of oceanic nature and lovely 1800s era civilization.
Upon exploring Ferndale, one can find the many different types of interests pursued by the wonderful people who live there. The shopkeepers have created a delightfully unique Victorian Main street, complete with something for everyone.
This museum features quaint antiques like Victorian room settings, a working seismograph, and farming and dairy equipment. The Ferndale Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. From June to September, it is also open on Tuesday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please call in advance to schedule a group tour conducted by a local volunteer. The museum can be reached at (707) 786-4466.
Ferndale Kinetic Sculpture Race Museum
The Kinetic Sculpture race originated in Ferndale the year 1969. Later, it spread to the rest of the world. Memorabilia from the past of the races is showcased. It is open 10 am to 5 pm daily and is located in the Ferndale Art and Cultural Center on Main Street.
This Carnegie Library was built in 1910. It is open from 12 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Thursday, and Saturday and from 12 am to 4:30 pm on Friday. Evening hours are on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The library can be reached at (707) 786-9559.
Ferndale Repertory Theatre:
Year round live theatre is performed in these halls. Classic plays and newly crafted plays are executed to the delight of the community. Performances take place at 8:00 pm on either Friday or Saturday nearly every week. On Saturday and Sunday, matinees are at 2:00 pm. The Theatre can be reached at (707) 786-LIVE; (707) 786-5483.
Humboldt County Fairground
The fairground is a delightful meadow, a fun place to walk and explore when no events are scheduled. The fairgrounds are often busy with Scout-o-ramas, High School Rodeos, and antique shows. However, the most exciting event is the Humboldt County Fair and Horse Race that takes place every August. This tradition is now 101 years old. Call (707) 786-9511 for fairgrounds information.
Visitors can discover a myriad of pastimes and activities in Humboldt County. This county is home to the Redwood National Park and more than 40 other parks, forests, wildlife reserves and recreation areas. These areas of land combined create half the world’s preserved old growth redwood giants. Hiking, scenic drives, camping, biking, wildlife watching await among the forest, along with more outdoor adventures like beachcombing, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking and canopy tours.
Many well-known wonders of nature exist near The Gingerbread Mansion. Most renowned as the world’s largest remaining old-growth coast redwood forest is “The Avenue of the Giants”. It is possible to either drive through the avenue, or park and hike among the giants. Also, located minutes away from The Gingerbread Mansion, lies “The Lost Coast” of Cape Mendocino. “The Lost Coast” is the most beautiful westerly point in the Contintental United States. This area offers spectacular trails to run on, explore, or photograph. Similarly nearby are the Eel and Van Duzen Rivers which are excellent for fishing salmon and trout. These clean and beautiful rivers are also suitable for swimming. To the north, is Eureka’s Old Town and the ruggedly beautiful coast near Trinidad. Though a little farther than a few minutes from The Gingerbread Mansion, they are also exciting to explore. (See Redwoods & Parks here)
Annual festivals and parades contribute to the perpetual enchantment of Ferndale. Among the events are “The Danish Festival”, “Kinetic Sculpture Race”, “The Humboldt County Fair”, held every August, “The Portuguese Holy Ghost Celebration”, “Cinco de Mayo Folkloric Festival”, “The Village Faire”, “The Pet Parade”, and “Christmas in Ferndale” where the world’s tallest Christmas tree is lighted and a lighted tractor parade is displayed. (See Events Calendar page here)
Ferndale is Northern California’s best kept-secret. Removed from the hustle and bustle of California’s large cities, the small Victorian town retains its vibrant beauty and authenticity. The Gingerbread Mansion, though beautiful and charming, is made complete by the equally special town it calls its home.