Nestled in the fertile farmlands of the California North Coast, surrounded by forests of towering Coast Redwoods and far from the tourists of any major California attraction, is the quaint little town of Ferndale.
First settled in the mid 1800’s, Ferndale has a large collection of Victorian storefronts and homes which earned the entire town a California Historical Landmark #883 and the nickname, Victorian Village of Ferndale’. A walk down Main Street is a trip back in time when locals rode in on wagon, purchased dry goods from the local mercantile store, meats from the butcher and stopped off at the hotel saloon before heading back to the ranch. Today, Ferndale welcomes visitors with a handful of historic hotels, phenomenal restaurants and boutique shops.
Ferndale was first settled by early emigrants from all over Europe. They were experienced dairymen who supplied the region with much-needed milk, cream and butter. The wealth of the dairy industry affixed the phrase “Butterfat Palaces” to some of Ferndale’s most exquisite Victorian homes.
To this day, Ferndale has a strong heritage of Portuguese descendants and every year they celebrate the Portuguese Holy Ghost Festival – a tradition that was carried over from the Azores. Other Ferndale celebrations include the Humboldt County Fair, Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade and the oh-so-wacky Kinetic Sculpture Race.

You won’t find hotel chains or restaurants in Ferndale. Accommodations include historic hotels and Victorian homes. We stayed at the Hotel Ivanhoe, an Old West-style hotel that was once a stagecoach stop that has a popular restaurant & bar.

Other noteworthy hotels include the Gingerbread house, a Victorian mansion that was once the home of the town doctor and the Victorian Inn, a large Victorian-era hotel that is exquisitely maintained.

For dinner, we thoroughly enjoyed the Hotel Ivanhoe Restaurant. They are well-known throughout the region for their gourmet renditions of traditional Italian cuisine. After dinner we ended up in the adjacent bar where some very friendly locals suggested all the things to see and do in the area.

On their suggestion, we headed to Humboldt Sweets the next morning where we found irresistible cinnamon rolls, scones, lemon bars and plenty of other sinful delights.

Although we didn’t give it a try on this visit, word on Main Street was that the Ferndale Meat Co. made some of the best deli sandwiches to be had.

Also on Main Street is the Golden Gait Mercantile, a traditional dry goods store that carries unique souvenirs and goodies like local jams, packaged soups, old-time candy, homemade soaps and much more. The floor has a prominent buckle and wires strung across the shelves to keep stock from falling… a reminder that Ferndale resides in active earthquake territory. A few doors down, the Ferndale Repertory Theatre presents theatrical plays and dance on weekends. Other than that, the juke box and occasional live music at the Hotel Ivanhoe Bar is about it for nighttime entertainment in town.

The Victorian Village of Ferndale is located 5-hours north of San Francisco at the northern edge of the Lost Coast, one of the least visited regions of California.

Although few take the time to make it this far up the California coast, this region has plenty of beauty and interesting sites. Take a stroll down Main Street through the brightly colored Victorian storefronts, enjoy a good meal and pick up a locally-made gift.

Visit the Pioneer Cemetery where Portuguese, Italian, Danish and other early immigrants are buried.

Tour the Loleta Cheese Factory to see how cheese is produced from the sweet milk to the final packaging.

Enjoy a microbrew beer at the award-winning Eel River Brewing Company.

Savor fresh squeezed cider as it’s been made since 1916 at Clendenen’s roadside cider works.

Snap a sunrise shot of the picturesque Centerville Bridge and follow it up with a sunset at Centerville Beach.

Be humbled by the majestic redwoods at Humboldt Redwoods and Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Parks.
Ferndale is one of those few vacation destinations that can easily instill rejuvenation. The relaxing nature of Ferndale will surely have you planning another visit.

When you Go to Ferndale:

Humboldt County Fair
1250 5th Street
Ferndale, CA  95535

Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade
Check the Events Page at:

Kinetic Sculpture Race
Held in the month of May

Hotel Ivanhoe
315 Main Street
Ferndale, CA 95536

The Hotel Ivanhoe

Gingerbread Mansion
400 Berding Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

The Victorian Inn
400 Ocean Avene
Ferndale, CA  95536-0096


Hotel Ivanhoe Restaurant
315 Main Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

Restaurant & Saloon

Humboldt Sweets
614 Main Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

Ferndale Meat Co.
376 Main Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

Golden Gait Mercantile
421 Main Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

Ferndale Repertory Theatre
447 Main Street
Ferndale, CA  95536

Loleta Cheese Factory
252 Loleta Drive
Loleta, CA  95551

Eel River Brewing Company
1777 Alamar Way
Fortuna, CA  95540


Clendenen’s Roadside Cider Works
96 12th Street
Fortuna, CA  95540

Centerville Bridge and Beach
Centerville Road,
Ferndale, CA  95536

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park