The Rich Life On a Budget

Ferndale and Humboldt County

Welcome to Rich Life Travel Friday!



This time, I am taking you to Ferndale in Humboldt County, just a few hours north of Sonoma Valley.

My husband and I were invited to spend the weekend in Ferndale by some friends. They live in the same small town that we do and have a vacation home in Ferndale.

Bill and I  left very early on a Saturday morning and headed north up the Highway 101. We stopped off at the Tudor-style hotel, Benbow Inn, about an hour south of Ferndale. Built in the 1920’s, this hotel has old-world charm and gorgeous grounds.


It was a bit too cold and dreary out to relax on this lovely patio.


So we ventured into the lobby where I got cozy with a giant teddy bear…wearing a vest (but no pants).


The bridge over the Eel River makes for a bucolic scene. Can you imagine yourself lounging on one of those chairs on a warm day, sipping on a Ramos Fizz after brunch?


The back patio at Benbow Inn reminds me of a European hotel. I bet this place is lively and fun during the high season.


After a lovely breakfast at Benbow, we got back on the road and headed for Ferndale. Many rustic farms dot the countryside.


Spring, being such a colorful time of year, is the ideal season to visit Humboldt County.


This area is a landscape photographer’s dream. I started clicking away as soon as we arrived in the area.


We saw several abandoned farmhouses, dating back to the mid to late 19th century. This one was particularly fascinating and eerie to me, especially with that foreboding sky as a backdrop.


Once we arrived at our friends’ home, I knew it would be a great weekend. This is their barn. Isn’t it something?


I loved the way our friends landscaped their property. What a novel way to use a wheelbarrow!


They also have this adorable cottage on their property, built in the late 1800’s.


Once we unpacked our things, we headed a short distance to downtown Ferndale.

The first thing you notice about Ferndale’s Main Street is how colorful and ornate it is. Ferndale is known for its Victorian buildings which line the thoroughfare and are found throughout the area.

The shopping in Ferndale is great. I bought several unique things – home accessories and jewelry – that I will be showing you in future posts.


The stately hotel and restaurant, The Victorian Inn, is well known in the region. We already had our accommodations but if we needed a place to stay, we would certainly consider staying in this beautiful building.


Another option is The Gingerbread Mansion Inn, just a block from Main Street. Both inns have superb reviews and I doubt one could go wrong with either.


After a day of sightseeing and shopping, we returned to our friends’ beautiful house to freshen up, then ventured back to downtown Ferndale for a lovely and tasty dinner at Hotel Ivanhoe, a local favorite that has been around since 1870.

With full bellies, we returned to our friends’ home and spent the rest of the evening chatting away until it was well past our bedtime.

The next morning, I looked out the window and quickly grabbed my camera to head outside. I had to capture this moment: a sunrise over a nearby farm.


After Bill and I spent some time photographing the local landscape, we returned for breakfast: homemade French Toast with fresh fruit and coffee.

Later that morning, we packed up and hit the road. We decided to do some Humboldt County exploring.

If you know me well, you know I love cheese. I can’t remember the last time I went a single day without eating cheese. We visited Loleta Cheese Factory and stocked up with lots of blocks of cheddar, fontina, jack and more.I think we may make it through the summer with all the cheese we brought home!


Back on the road, we decided to take the very long way home through the Lost Coast. Unfortunately it was foggy out but still scenic nonetheless.


Over winding roads – some of them gravel – we finally made it to the coast. Talk about remote! We felt like we had the ocean to ourselves. Not a soul in sight.


It began to rain, which for us Californians these days is something special! It was such a beautiful drive. I really enjoyed all the little things like passing over this lovely one-lane bridge as we headed inland.


We passed through some stunning forests as drove away from the coast.


Mossy branches on tall trees looked eerie and almost sinister.


As we neared the highway, we drove through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This was my favorite part of the drive.  I love big Redwoods and the lofty canopies they create. This is the kind of nature I enjoy most.


Our visit to Ferndale and the Humboldt County area was two weeks ago and I still think about it everyday. Visiting this area was such a great way to unplug and slow down. From abandoned farmhouses to majestic Victorians, and the rugged coastline to quiet Redwood groves, it truly is a wonderful place to get in touch with nature, history and a slower pace.

Since my visit to Ferndale, my friend Abigail Zimmerman of Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen painted this lovely piece that she says was inspired by my sunrise photo of the farm. Isn’t this wonderful? She is so very talented. Be sure to visit her blog and say hello!


A big thank you to our friends for inviting us to share the weekend with them in their beautiful home. We had a wonderful time!

Have you visited Ferndale and Humboldt County?

Make it a rich day!



P.S. Don’t forget that Monday is the last day to submit your photo for How I Wear My: Layers. Visit the How I Wear My page for details.

Halo Blow Dry Bar

Last week I visited a blow dry bar for the first time.  Halo Blow Dry Bar, with four locations around the South Bay Area, offers 45-minute shampoo, blow-out and style sessions, makeup services and brow waxing.

I met Kim of Northern California Style for an afternoon of pampering and primping. We were getting ourselves all prettied up for an event later that evening.

I arrived at this darling Halo Blow Dry Bar in the charming town of Los Altos to meet Kim.


I convinced Kim that we needed a “Before” photo but she only agreed if I promised not to crop it too tight. I had no problem saying yes to that request!


We were warmly greeted at the reception area and shown to our chairs. My hairstylist, Rebecca, was so friendly! She asked me a few questions about what I was looking for. I told her I wanted some big curls – curls that would last!


We headed off to the sink where Rebecca washed and conditioned my hair.

Next, it was time to divide and conquer. Rebecca combed through my tangled tresses, then divided my hair into sections, twisting and rolling the sections into mini-buns to add volume. She dried each section with a round brush, then left the brushes in! This was key to creating a foundation for long-lasting curls.

Someone asked me if the brushes hurt my scalp. Not at all! I didn’t feel any discomfort at any time during my blow out. It felt great to have someone else do all that work…and do it so much better than me!


After my hair was dry, Rebecca used a curling iron on each section to really set the curl. I could tell right away, these curls were staying put!


Once my hair was done, Kim and I went with our stylists to the back of the bar and got ready for makeup! Carrie, my makeup artist, got right to work, applying a foundation and filling in my brows. Halo Blow Dry Bar uses Jane Iredale products, which I appreciate for their natural and high-quality ingredients.


Brows filled, eye shadow on, lipstick applied and hair looking fabulous, we were ready for our “After” photo!


Kim and I had a great evening out together. Since Kim lives about 2 1/2 hours from me, I stayed the night at her house. She was so kind to give me the spare room in her beautiful home. I loved meeting her kids and cats and seeing her husband again. Such a sweet family!

When I woke up the next morning and my hair looked like this, I was shocked! My hair rarely looks this good right after I’ve styled it, let alone after a night of sleeping on it.


I decided to follow these steps and make my Halo Blow Dry last as long as I could.


I got out my favorite hair tools and products – including a shower cap – and prepared myself!


On Day Three, my hair still looked nice enough that I didn’t need to pin it up. I just brushed it, added a little dry shampoo at the roots and I was good to go to meet Amy of Denim and Dots for brunch.


By Day 4, I was into pony tail territory. The photo below was taken on Day 5. Can you believe I still had curl? At $40 for a shampoo, blow out and style, you really get your money’s worth!

How long do you make your shampoo and blow dry last? Use these helpful tips from Halo Blow Dry Bar to help extend the life of your hairstyle!


To read more about our Halo Blow Dry Bar experience, visit Kim’s blog.

And don’t forget that How I Wear My: Layers is happening next week. The deadline for submission is Monday, March 30th. For details, visit the How I Wear My page!

How I Wear My Badge

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: My blow dry, style and makeup application were complimentary. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.