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The rubber has hit the road. Your hand caresses the car door handle. Your anticipation is beyond scope. You look up to see the first destination you’ve picked. So many choices! Slake a well-earned thirst with a Smokey Hazy Hemp Ale at Humboldt Brews after hiking Samoa’s dunes and wetlands. Ride a Redwood Cycles eBike along the Live Art Wall and tag a graffiti artist (on Instagram). Motor out to Redway for a Café Feast gourmet basket you can munch for lunch while you find the Lost Coast. Take the family out to Swimmers Delight and watch the children splash the heat away. On the way home, enjoy the lovely drive that ends at Cat Shack Ice Cream as a treat for the kids. (Yeah, for the kids ….)

You swing your feet out and hit the pavement grinning from ear to ear like the rest of your crew. You all earned this treat. Enjoy.

click to enlarge Samoa Dunes and Wetlands. - JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Jonathan Webster
  • Samoa Dunes and Wetlands.


Outdoorsy Type


The Eureka Waterfront Trail on a summer day is glorious. You can see some of it as you stroll, limited by time minus energy. Rent an eBike from Redwood Cycles and you can take it all in, relying on a quiet motor or pedal power as you desire. Go free range or choose from four group rides: Avenue of the Giants, Eureka’s Old Town and Waterfront Trail, Hammond Trail or Old Trinidad Highway 101. It’s $25 per hour (2 hours minimum) or $75 for the day, helmets and other gear included. Parents, it’s up to you to decide if your child is able to ride an eBike safely (waivers required), but child and dog trailers are available at your favorite price: free. An orientation gives you the lowdown on the cool ride and the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need before heading off prepared for your adventure. Redwood Cycles is easy to find at 1 C St. in Eureka’s Historic Old Town. Call owner/operator Steven Light at (707) 599-2008 or visit www.RedwoodCycles.com to make a reservation.

Delve into the everchanging Samoa Dunes and Wetlands (New Navy Base Road). Rain, tide and wind flow through this landscape, shifting and shaping the meandering paths. Hike around, up and down, or head for the shore. Bursts of wildflowers and cool green fronds line the way. Was that a red legged tree frog? Pause in a patch of shade and listen to birds happy in their native habitat. Currently stewarded by the Friends of the Dunes, SDW is a rarity. How often does a new dune preserve come along? Find the georeferenced map at www.friendsofthedunes.org to appreciate the scope of this special place and get the best parking info (no dedicated lot, see the FAQ). Use the Dune Plant Guide to see if the sweet flower you just found is really an endangered Menzies wallflower and tag the Friends of the Dunes on Instagram (@friendsofthedunes) to thank them because this place is awesome.


Foodies


A picnic table overlooking the Eureka Municipal Golf Course’s 18th green is the best place to enjoy the properly named Super Taco, a delight of beans, carne asada and cilantro cradled in a tender handmade tortilla. Cocina Mariposa (“butterfly kitchen”) gives you access to the talents of the Carillo family: Chef Marisela, mother Graciela and two sisters who expertly wield the tantalizing flavors of the west-central Mexican state of Michoacán. All dishes are cooked to order and well worth the wait. Using locally sourced and organic ingredients when available, Cocina Mariposa knows how to please everyone — note the vegetarian taquitos and keto enchiladas. The organic chicken tender basket with fries assures that the picky child in your life will not dramatically starve as you enjoy your torta on a fluffy telera roll. Inclusiveness through gastronomy. The menu entices a return for a breakfast of chorizo con huevos. Or maybe Taco Tuesdays and house-made horchata? Breakfast or lunch? Either way, you win at Cocina Mariposa, 4750 Fairway Drive, Eureka (9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday).

click to enlarge A half-order of wings and a Smokey Hazy Hemp IPA at Humboldt Brews. - JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Jonathan Webster
  • A half-order of wings and a Smokey Hazy Hemp IPA at Humboldt Brews.
There is no summer without beer. Humboldt Brews gives us all the support we need to enjoy our full-fledged freedom to enjoy a good craft ale. Or, particularly, to love 25 of Humboldt County’s best brews on tap rotation. Thirst quenched, hunger beckons. Hum Brews, as it’s known, offers delights like Humboldt grass-fed beef and local organic tofu, both of which work with a pitcher of the Ardell Brothers’ storied Red Nectar Pale Ale, a long-ago local classic once again being brewed in our county. Though you may need milk, as this wingmaster does not play: award-winning wings (10 awards to be precise) served by the pound and a house Suicide Sauce that comes with a warning — eyes may water at its appearance on the table. Social lives are rebirthed Tuesdays over spirited games of cornhole (loser buys). Watch the game in the sports bar with a delicious hummus tostada salad and a Smokey Hazy Hemp IPA. When it’s time to go home, grab a growler of your favorite brew. Check out www.humbrews.com and www.northcoastjournal.com for updates on the live entertainment schedule. Find it all at 856 10th St., Arcata, (707) 826-2739.

Café Feast just gave Redway another reason to be happy. Laura Lasseter and her family took over the former Meadows Café and re-imagined its offerings to better serve the community. Using seasonal ingredients, she’s crafting a menu to drool over. Fresh salads, like the delightful blueberry feta salad, and her take on a sweet and spicy chicken taco served on a Hawaiian roll, topped with Asian slaw and bacon bits. The tri-tip sandwich is a favorite, taken to the next level with the addition of a basalmic glaze and fresh organic greens. Relish a flaky Brio pastry with espresso or a refreshing smoothie. A memorable picnic along the Avenue of Giants starts with a charcuterie board or box of succulent fruits, fresh veggies, crisp crackers, savory nuts and Cypress Grove cheese. Take a Sweet and Savory basket along for a romantic stroll on Shelter Cove’s Black Sand Beach. Or create your own mix with a grab-and-go sandwich and gourmet treats from the café’s bright shop (wagyu jerky or old-fashioned popcorn balls?) and lose yourself in the Lost Coast. A bread crumb trail from Café Feast will lead you back to 1211 Evergreen Road for more (8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday). Take U.S. Highway 101 to Redway Exit 639B, then turn right at Redwood Drive and right at Evergreen Road to the Meadows Industrial Park. Find it on Facebook.


click to enlarge The Native Mural Project in Henderson Center. - JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Jonathan Webster
  • The Native Mural Project in Henderson Center.


Art Lovers


An explosion of art is just what the Insider orders after months of looking at our own walls. The 2020 Eureka Street Art Festival celebrated the medium of the mural, rising above the restrictions of social distancing with 12 new artworks by Humboldt and local artists. Thus, the Henderson Center Mural Tour was born (barely contained by E and F streets, Henderson and Harris streets). The Native Mural Project debuted with artwork created by Alme Allen, Carl Avery, Melitta Jackson and Julian Lang. The dazzling “Of a Feather” by Mir de Silva (Dave’s Place, 426 Grotto St.) reveals the charming detail of a frog with the artist’s signature hiding by a downspout. While taking in “Run,” by Native artist Jackson, you might be drawn into a conversation with another appreciator of Eureka’s public art passing by. Art can inspire reconnecting with fellow humans after such a long drought. Best of all, the only cost is your time. Visit www.eurekastreetartfestival.com to get the skinny on this summer’s event: A Colorful Week In the Streets.

click to enlarge Live Art Wall on Waterfront Drive. - JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Jonathan Webster
  • Live Art Wall on Waterfront Drive.
The Live Art Wall on Waterfront Drive is one of Eureka’s coolest places. These murals are ephemeral, seemingly blown in off the bay only to return when their time has come. Playful and powerful, the artistry makes good use of a utilitarian seawall. Differences in style and subject highlight the cultural diversity of Humboldt’s street art scene, from playful manga to distraught realism to edgy graffiti. In one mural, two crying children seem to join in our shared distress, openly wounded and inconsolable. Farther along, you may wish the colorful creature offering “Free Hugs” could deliver. This year the gentle “We will get through this together” piece reminds all that art can indeed keep us together. Take a selfie with your favorite and share Eureka’s love of public art with your friends and follow the artist’s social media. The continually evolving Live Art Wall is one of many projects Ink People uses to provide artists with paying jobs. Visit www.inkpeople.org for a public art map, make a donation (because, man, this is cool) or submit your own proposal.

Fish cascade up into a startlingly blue sky, propelled along silver lines. Nearby, splashes of color entice you to walk the L Street bike/hike path between Eighth and Ninth streets in Arcata's Creamery District. A joyous unveiling at the Keep the Giant Jolly celebration debuted these new installations, the result of a two-year community public art project spearheaded by the Arcata Playhouse. James Hildebrandt crafted two 14-foot sculptures, titled “Homeward Leaping,” that compel your gaze to flow along his vision of Jolly Giant Creek’s stream as sleek fish swim its current. The touching 4-by-72-foot mural painted by 70 students from Fieldbrook Elementary and Redwood Coast Montessori celebrates the creek that flows through their lives. Students created the 2-by-2-foot panels at home during the fall of 2020, painting a bit of the Jolly Giant they held in their hearts during a year inside. How can you support young artists? Visit www.arcataplayhouse.org and find out what the rocking education team is up to next.

With the Kids


click to enlarge Lighthouse Plaza Mini-Golf. - JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Jonathan Webster
  • Lighthouse Plaza Mini-Golf.
What to do with the kid who jumps on your bed at the crack of dawn? The wavy greens of Lighthouse Plaza Mini-Golf beckon starting at 8:30 aM (9 aM on weekends; last tee at 6:30 pM). The quirky 18-hole course winds around a massive Humboldt State University lumberjack who holds … a golf club. Your 4 year old will be so happy to find a putter in just the right size. The junior caped wonder who rides in your back seat will love the new Batboat. Grab a hot dog at the Lighthouse deli before hitting the ADA-accessible greens. Afterward, seek out resident celebrity Homer J. Simpson and an opportunity for a hilarious family selfie. Play is $7 per person, 4 and under free. Take State Route 255 around Arcata Bay (north or south) to 180 Lupine Drive, Manila. Look for the lighthouse.

Cat Shack Ice Cream fits the bill for the kid (and the adult) tired of the limitations of the family freezer. The little ice cream shop was built by fourth-generation scooper Mark Albert’s great-grandfather. Choose from the colorful menu offering butter pecan, bubblegum, espresso chip and more. Large or small, cone or dish? The small cone is easy to hold in little sticky hands and just the right size for an after-lunch treat. There’s a reason the cone’s paper wrap reads “JOY.” Fireman’s Park at the end of a stunning Victorian Main Street gives parents a playground opportunity to burn off some dairy-fueled energy before bundling everyone into the car for the trip home. On the way back to U.S. Highway 101, see if the kids can spot the roadside cutout sign (driver’s side) of a young woman bottle feeding a calf. Cat Shack Ice Cream is open noon to 9 pM at 606 Main St., Ferndale.

Hot today? Grab the kids and that 5-foot inflatable floating pretzel they gave you for Father’s Day, and head for Swimmers Delight at Van Duzen County Park. It can’t have a more appropriate name. The river is clear and cool with a majestic backdrop of intense geology. Relax in dappled sunlight as crayon-colored canoes paddle by. Squeals of happy children echo off the bluffs as families caper in the water. Relax. Float. No interruptions — the park is a cell phone dead zone. Give the kids a history lesson and call grandma on the pay phone. Day use fee is $5 per vehicle (sunrise to sunset), or camp for $25 (no reservations). Floatation vests are available for smaller swimmers who may need a bit of an assist (free, thanks to the Sea Tow Foundation). U.S. Highway 101 to the Carlotta exit 685 and State Route 36 E, then contain the excitement for 16 miles. Any questions? Call the park ranger at (707) 445-7651. Don’t forget the towels!

Not Strictly for Tourists


A good farm-to-table tour is a great way to spend a summer day and the Emerald Triangle provides. For a tour with a THC twist, Humboldt Cannabis Tours begin and end in Eureka with a fully vaccinated driver who can answer all your burning questions. The Half Day Farm Tour begins at a dispensary before heading to the fields. The budtenders of Northern California are the cannabis equivalents of French sommeliers. Seeking enlightenment about edibles beyond the gummi spectrum? The budtender knows all. Two terroirs combine in the Weed and Wine Tour. Start with a tasting and charcuterie board at Briceland Vineyards. After lunch, meet cannabis at its most beautiful: swaying gently in the breeze. You can even pick the brain of a ganga master. Legend Johnny Casali and his award-winning Huckleberry Hill Farm hold the key to many of marijuana’s mysteries. Ask questions, feel the sun on your face (or the rain — this is Humboldt) and enjoy. Half day tours are $95 per person; full day $195. Due to COVID-19, tours are limited to 10 people. Check www.humcannabis.com for additional options and call (707) 839-4640 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) to reserve a tour.

click to enlarge Sumêg Village. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Sumêg Village.
You’ve got the time and the Clarke Historical Museum is the place to go back in time. Schoolteacher Cecile Clarke founded the Museum for Humboldt to explore its history. What are you waiting for? Contemplate the luxe life of the lumber kings in the Victorian Room that boasts the influencer swag of its day. Become entranced by the virtuosity of Karuk, Hupa and Yurok master basket weavers. Find out what it took to mine gold (and why no gym memberships were needed during the Gold Rush). Appreciate the courage necessary to use the gear in the Firefighting exhibit (closes Sept. 21), some of which saw local action. Admire the beloved 14-foot-tall Lentell Map, fresh from the careful touch of a papier mâché conservator. Examine the early roots of anti-Asian prejudice through the online exhibit Immigration, Expulsion, Homecoming: The Legacy of the Chinese Expulsion in Humboldt County (www.clarkemuseum.org). Reconnoiter your way to 240 E St., Eureka (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, suggested donation $5, $10 per family).

On a misty day, the Sumêg Village at Patrick’s Point State Park is dreamlike. The traditional houses materialize out of the fog. You run your fingertips over a fallen redwood and contemplate the Yurok who split boards, built homes and dug out canoes by hand. The woodworking skills of the Yurok are awesome: artistry mixed with a deep understanding of the environment and its resources. The architecture of family and changing houses speaks directly to the realities of living on a heavily wooded, wet coast. The ultimate in green construction. The village is aptly named Sumêg, Yurok for ”forever,” a place created to heal and teach. Summer will see the end of a restoration project that is passing techniques from elders to the next generation, led by 86-year-old Yurok master builder Walt Lara. Call (707) 677-3570 to schedule a guided tour with Yurok site interpreters to learn more. Day-use fee per vehicle is $8, $7 for seniors 62+, sunrise to sunset at Patrick’s Point State Park, Trinidad, U.S. Highway 101.
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Meg Wall-Wild

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