On December 7, 2017, at the end of my week of West Coast business, Patty flew in from Washington, DC to meet me at San Francisco International Airport, landing at about 9:00 pm. From there, we took the last flight up to Arcata, California, 280 miles to the north, where we would spend the weekend visiting our son, Ian.
Even though my long-awaited Nikon D850 Full-Frame Digital SLR camera had just been delivered at home that week, I didn’t ask Patty to drag it along with her. So, I was left with only my iPhone 5 to record a very nice weekend in Northern California.
We landed at the Eureka, CA airport at midnight, and we grabbed the last airport shuttle for a ride to our ‘airbnb’, which was just off The Plaza in downtown Arcata. When we arrived, we quickly dropped off our luggage, and then walked downtown to where Ian was working at The Alibi restaurant/bar. We hadn’t seen Ian for about nine months, so we were looking forward to this trip for some time.
Ian introduced us to his coworkers and friends at the bar, and we were immediately impressed with how welcoming they were. Matt and Jesse were behind the bar, and we met some of the frequent patrons as well. In particular, we had nice chats with Oly (short for Olympia Beer), who had just come from a Zaparella concert, and Rick, who would be playing with his Beatles cover band at the Blue Lake Casino, in Blue Lake, CA the next night. We had a great time with all of them, and we ended up closing the bar down at about 2:15 am.
Friday, December 8th
Friday morning we walked down to The Plaza in Arcata and grabbed breakfast at Cafe Brio. Then we hoofed it around town to see the sights around town.
The town of Arcata was first settled in the spring of 1850, after a group of miners discovered the adjacent Humboldt Bay in December 1849. By the next April, ships from San Francisco, filled with opportunity-seeking men, were arriving at this natural harbor. It quickly became a supply center for gold mining camps up the Klamath, Trinity, and Salmon Rivers, but its continued development was spurred by about one hundred years of harvesting and exporting of local redwood timber.
In 1906, a statue of president William McKinley was erected in the center of the town square (now called The Plaza).
These days, Arcata, with the adjacent Humboldt State University, is a hotbed of local environmentalism and social activism, which embraces such colorful events as the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and the North Country Fair Samba Parade (which I had the opportunity to witness the last time I visited Ian).
We enjoyed exploring Arcata on this beautiful December morning (highly unusual, we’re told). And we also spent some time addressing Christmas cards at one of their coffee shops.
Then on the way back to Arcata, we stopped at Clam Beach as well.
That night, there was a Christmas Festival taking place on the Plaza in Arcata, which included a snow-making machine and a visit from Santa Claus. We had dinner at Tomo Japanese Restaurant, where we had our fill of fresh sushi. Then we spent some time discovering Arcata at night, before returning to our B&B.
Saturday, December 9th
Saturday morning, we started the day with breakfast at Cafe Brio, and then we toured Arcata’s weekly year-round Farmer’s Market.
Later, we walked to a craft show at the Community Center just across the highway.
Saturday afternoon, we drove into Eureka to do a little Christmas shopping. Then we drove out to Samoa Dunes Recreation Area, on Samoa Peninsula at the channel entrance to Humboldt Bay, just to see what was there. Later Saturday afternoon, we picked up Ian and had lunch at Arcata Pizza & Deli, and afterwards we drove to Moonstone Beach to see the sunset.
Later, we had dinner with Ian and a bunch of his friends at Humboldt Brews. Tyler, Mandy, and Shea were a blast. It was great to see how this group of young people are always there for each other. It’s like he has a West Coast family.
Sunday, December 10th
Sunday morning, we had breakfast at The Alibi with Ian, his manager Zach, and his manager’s girlfriend Molly. It was a great visit, and once again, it was clear that Ian has great friends that really care about him, and they were all excited to get to know Patty and myself as well.
I had to fly home on Sunday, but Patty stayed on in Arcata until Tuesday, giving her a chance to spend more time with Ian and his friends. We had a great time, Ian. We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon.