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Arcata California

 

In 1850, Union Town (now Arcata) was founded on the north shore of Humboldt Bay to service the lumber industry, in addition to the gold miners and prospectors heading for the Trinity Alps gold fields.

The downtown plaza features historic buildings facing a statue of President McKinley. The most notable is the old Jacoby's Storehouse, built of stone and brick with decorative ironwork and shutters, lovingly restored and decorated by several local artists and crafts people. There are several worthwhile natural attractions in the area.

Arcata is home to Humboldt State University, which has a fine campus in a forest. An interesting artifact of the journeys to the moon in the 1970s is a grove of sequoia trees. Hundreds of seeds that resulted in these tall trees were carried on the command module of Apollo 14, the first space flight that landed on the Moon. The seeds were planted in several places across the nation, including the Arcata campus.

What to See & Do

Redwood Park and the Arcata Community Forest provide a living museum of some 600 acres of second-growth redwood including ten miles of walking trails. The historic logging trail takes visitors on a walk from the west side of the parking lot. Mad River Beach offers sunning and gazing at the crashing surf. The Lamphere-Christensen Dune Preserve contains some of the most impressive dune plant life on the California coast. Tours are available from the Friends of the Dunes Society.

Another fine place to view wildlife is the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary at the south end of I Street. This is a sewage treatment plant which shows how a municipality can take care of its waste -- and birds as well -- through marsh restoration. It's an important stopping place for egrets, loons, great blue herons and marsh wrens. Woodchip trails lead to several blinds. Humboldt State University, has a historical museum full of natural history displays, at 13th and G streets.

Inns

The North Coast Inn is a full-service hotel at 4975 Valley West Blvd. (707-822-4861) with all the amenities.

The Plough and the Stars (707-822-8236), a bed and breakfast inn, has 5 rooms (3 with shared baths). This is an 1852 farmhouse with gardens, antique furnishings and fireplaces. It's closed from late Decembeand until the end of January.

The Lady Anne (707-822-2797) is another bed and breakfast home, in a turreted 1888 building at 902-14th Street.

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