Monday, November 6, 2017

EUREKA, CALIFORNIA: The Heart of Humboldt County

Bald Eagle at the Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka, CA. 
Every two years in October, I go to Eureka, California, in Humboldt County, for a children's book author festival. While my focus is work, there is also time to enjoy the beautiful northern California coast, the surrounding hills and forests, and to explore the shops, parks and restaurants of historic Eureka.
Coast near Trinidad, CA, north of Eureka in Humboldt County
Eureka is Humboldt's county seat and has a population of about 27,000. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was a booming port city, transporting lumber from the surrounding forests all over the world. Many of the downtown buildings date from that time. A number of them are covered with colorful murals painted more recently.
Mural on building in historic downtown Eureka
During my visit I stayed at the historic Eureka Inn, originally built in 1922. (The rooms have recently been renovated.) The walls of the spacious lobby are lined with portraits of some of its famous visitors through the years such as Sir Winston Churchill and past president Ronald Reagan making one feel a part of history. The hotel is a short walk from downtown Eureka, which is filled with restaurants, craft shops, a bookstore, an art and historical museum and more. One of my favorite restaurants is the Waterfront Cafe, featuring fresh seafood caught locally, across the street from the boardwalk by the water.
Boardwalk in Eureka
From the boardwalk one can view the boats moored in Woodley Marina, which include both fishing and pleasure boats as well as commercial vessels.
Woodley Marina, Eureka
Not far from the center of town, in a beautiful redwood grove, is The Sequoia Park Zoo. It has a small but interesting and varied collection of animals, including a rescued bald eagle, red pandas, orangutans, musk oxen, ostriches and much more.
Red Panda, Sequoia Park Zoo
Arcata, California, just north of Eureka, is home to Humboldt State University and a variety of businesses including  Fire and Light Handmade Glass, a company that makes colorful glassware from recycled bottles. I came home with one of their beautiful glass redwood trees, now propped in a window to let the light shine through and remind me of my trip.
I always enjoy my visit to Eureka, discovering something new each time!
Tree from Fire and Light Handmade Glass


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