Ferndale Hospitality Night: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Press release from Nicole Dahl Creative:

Experience the holiday spirit in full swing this Friday, December 1, from 5:00pm – 10:00pm

By Nicole Dahl

Ferndale on a Christmas Evening.

Ferndale on a Christmas Evening. [Photo courtesy of Ferndale Chamber of Commerce]

Holiday films and Christmas carols would have us believing that snowfall, sleigh rides, and frightful weather are telltale signs Christmas is near. I have been dreaming of a white Christmas my whole life but, here in Humboldt, we have to look for less wintery clues that the yuletide season is upon us. For me, Ferndale’s Hospitality Night has always been my personal merriment cue.Full disclosure, I don’t live in Ferndale. I never have and, unless my winning lottery ticket comes through at the same time that a home on Cream Court comes up for sale, chances are slim that I will ever claim the 95536 zip code as my own. Nonetheless, the Victorian Village has always held a special place in my heart.

Ferndale is different, in the best of ways. Time seems to stand still there, yet the small town keeps up with the rest of the world where it counts. I can get free Wi-Fi at Mind’s Eye Coffee Lounge and Ferndale Tech is right smack-dab in the middle of Main Street, yet Ferndale’s vibe remains decidedly yesteryear.That’s the thing about the Christmas spirit; it’s nostalgic, it’s pure, it’s happy. Like Ferndale, a town that, of course, hosts an annual “hospitality night,” the sweet, small community’s way of showing gratitude to the people that support its existence.

Ferndale has been presenting its yearly Hospitality Night since the seventies. I, a child of the eighties, have been attending since the early 2000s. The weekend often coincides with my dear friend Tricia’s birthday, so I always start off the night by meeting her and her vivacious family at the V.I., otherwise known as the Victorian Inn, for a drink.

From there, I head out solo, breathing in the crisp air as I conquer the east side of the street, browsing through treasures at Ferndale Emporium, stopping in to see the beautiful décor of Like Nobody Else Spa, trying on a pair of Frye boots at Abraxas Shoes, grabbing bath bombs from Girlie Girls for stocking stuffers, and picking up a treat for my four-legged friends at Main Street Barkery.

Each store I enter is decorated to the nines and offers a beverage and a treat. My night is filled with wine, cocoa, brownies and goat cheese, not necessarily in that order. Children sell mistletoe on the street corners and gaggles of spirited twenty-somethings pass me by, on their way to or from The Palace, Ferndale’s favored watering hole.

About the time I reach Shaw Avenue, I get what I came for: the affirmation that Christmas is, indeed, upon us. Between the crisp air and the merriment around me, I begin to feel an overwhelming sensation of love and joy. For a moment, I forget the messy darkness of the world and let the spirit of a small town wrap around me like a warm blanket.

Two customers browsing at The Blacksmith Shop on Main Street, Ferndale.

Two customers browsing at The Blacksmith Shop on Main Street, Ferndale. [Photo by Leon Villagomez]

A quick stop into Humboldt Sweets for a treat and I am ready to turn around and take on the west side of the street. Each year, I look forward to catching a smile from Joe, the proprietor of The Blacksmith Shop, the kind of shopkeeper who you just know has a million stories to tell.From there, I venture on to Golden Gait Mercantile, an old-fashioned general store with a Humboldt twist. Mixed in with antiques, cast iron cookware and nostalgic products are international candies and teas, fashionable hats and beanies, GMO and preservative-free soup and baking mixes, and sweet scented candles. Between all this, a full candy shop at the front of the store and a historic museum upstairs, I spend an hour in this shop, taking advantage of the wine, cheese, and dessert offerings more than once.As I leave the mercantile, I feel warm, like I just received a glass of wine and a big hug from the good ‘ol days. From there, I head to Red Eye Laboratories, a contemporary art gallery showcasing the beautiful work of local painter/surfer, Shawn Griggs. There, I partake in whatever spread they are offering and gawk at the stunning ocean themed, bright, brilliant pieces Griggs has created.After mentally placing a Shawn Griggs original on my ultimate Christmas wish list, I make my way to the Ivanhoe. As I retreat into the warm saloon, I scan the room for familiar faces. I usually find a friend, sometimes the one I started the night with, sometimes one I haven’t seen since high school. I sit down my purchases, climb up on a bar stool, order the Teriyaki Beef Tips, and smile, allowing myself to bask in the anticipation of Christmas.

Though Ferndale changes, like any other town, it’s magic remains. On my last trip across the bridge, I noticed that while the toy store has closed down and Curley’s has once again shuttered their doors, new shops and restaurants have come onto the scene.

Julie Knowles, of Golden Gait Mercantile, and Ashley Moody, of LeArt Endeavor, stroll down Main Street in Ferndale

Julie Knowles, of Golden Gait Mercantile, and Ashley Moody, of LeArt Endeavor, stroll down Main Street. [Photo courtesy of Ferndale Chamber of Commerce]

This year, I will add LeArt Endeavor, a beautiful gift shop full of exceptional treasures in the form of jewelry, paintings, and fancy temporary body art and Victoria Blaise’s showroom to my list of places to stop. Friends tell me Tuya’s, the new Mexican restaurant, has chips and salsa like none other, so, I’ll be giving those a try.Julie Knowles, owner of Golden Gait Mercantile, shares, “The mercantile is my favorite place in the world. Hospitality night is my chance to say thank you and Merry Christmas to everyone who makes living my dream possible.”You see, the one thing I can always count on at Ferndale’s Hospitality night, regardless of what year it is or what stores are in business, is a heaping dose of authentic Christmas spirit and kindness. It seems to be a residential and business requirement.If you can’t make it to the mountains to get a pine tree and these abnormally warm days have you feeling somewhat apathetic towards the upcoming holidays, treat yourself to Ferndale Hospitality Night this Friday. It just might be the thing you need to get to feeling jolly.

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16 comments

  • Concerned Trinity County Resident

    I have never lived in Ferndale but visited during the Christmas holidays and experienced the warm, holiday feeling; truly an experience not to be missed.

  • A nice free advertisement for Ferndale, the community full of wealthy, arrogant, two-faced, back-stabbing jerks. They work the media more than ever these days to get your dollars. Most times of year, you are not welcome in Ferndale, even with your money. Come spend some money on some fake, money-driven crap and then go home asap. Looks great in pictures!

    • Those greedy small businesses, always trying to get people to shop in their stores! Who do they think they are?! Don’t they know they’re stealing money away from Target and Walmart?

    • I only go a couple times a year but everyone seems very warm and welcoming to me. The town has some wonderful places to eat and I love some of the stores. Two of my sons who do blacksmithing love to go to the Blacksmith shop and admire the work there. And, yes, this is free information about an event. While I don’t offer space for individual businesses to talk about their events, I do to associations and to non-profits.

      • I feel the same kym, ive felt welcome and comfortable everytime i go there. It feels like a mellow place too, too bad someone had a bad experience with somone else there and now wants to badmouth the entire place!

    • Hi! I wrote the press release. While I do write press releases as part of my job, I actually did this one for fun (and for free), because I truly enjoy the event and want more of the community to to experience it.

      Businesses are money-driven, in general, Ferndale not withstanding, but every time I shop Main Street I’m always happily surprised by the amount of quality, handcrafted items they sell and, what is sourced from others is usually a product made by a small, family-owned business. In a commerce season of “fake crap,” this town offers quite the opposite AND by shopping there we get to keep money in our community… and, if I’m being honest, I love free food! The whole night is a win-win-win.

    • Ever hear of rectumites? You’ve got a really bad case. In case you’re not familiar, they’re little bugs that crawl up your spine from your ass, work their way through your hair to your eyebrows and give you a shitty outlook on life.

  • If I just glanced at the cover photo I would think it is surely Disneyland!
    Ferndale: Another magical place!

  • Such a unique town and great place to just walk around and enjoy the shops. The Gingerbread Mansion, a block off Main Street, is also a great place to visit. The people there are very nice and will show you around the rooms and building. You can always find a ‘off the normal’ gift for any occasion. If you have never been, go to hospitality night and enjoy.

  • You forgot “Pictures with Santa!” at Humboldt Trinity Real Estate. Stop by for a picture and a donation to the Ferndale Children’s Center – now it’s perfect! https://www.visitferndale.com/events-list/santa-at-humboldt-trinity-real-estate

  • Big ups The Palace

  • Yes Ferndale can be fun and friendly during the holidays. But don’t try to move/live there. If you aren’t one of ‘their own’ you will not be welcomed into the circle of the ‘community accoss the forbidden bridge’.

    …more to be revealed…

    • Keep your crap to yourself. We ARE accepting of all people, even those like yourself. Do you think that you’re the KING….?? 😕

    • I completely beg to differ…. I’ve always been welcomed there and recently moved from “across the river” and have been welcomed with open arms. This may have been true 40 years are so ago but not now.

  • Huh. Well, I moved to Ferndale 20 years ago. From (gasp) Arcata! Even worse, I was raised in Miranda and (double gasp!!) went to rival high school South Fork. I was told to not move there. There was no way I would be accepted. Well after 20 years and stints as a little league coach, 4-H leader, member of the board of the Ferndale Senior Resource Center, active parent volunteer, park volunteer, youth football volunteer, pancake flipper, and with a great circle of friends some “local” and some “outsider,” I’m glad that I was not “accepted.” Any more acceptance and I’d have no time left for myself.

    • BLESS YOU…..Greg, thanks for you sharing, about how you survived in Ferndale!!
      Living in Ferndale is getting involved and helping in all ways in your community, when you can. Thanks!

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