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 DahlHoliday 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.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.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.