If there’s a dream job for an old house lover, it’s got to be running a bed-and-breakfast like the Gingerbread Mansion, a famously ornate Victorian home in Ferndale, Calif.
As it turns out, the position might be available. We noticed the inn was closed during our annual visit, and locals confirmed that the mansion is now bank-owned – and could soon be up for sale (for around 900K, we were told).
Personally I don’t know that I’d make a good inn owner since I’m not the best at making small talk with strangers. But it might be worth a shot to live in a place like this.
The Victorian Inn down the street - our usual lodging – isn’t too shabby, either.
Of course, even the Gingerbread’s gingerbread looks like store-bought cookies compared to the ornamentation on another local stunner, the Carson Mansion.
Possibly the most outrageous Victorian building in California – well, except for the storied Winchester Mystery House – lumber baron William Carson’s green-shingled castle is a NorCal coast landmark.
Just across the street, Carson had a humble little abode built for his son as a wedding gift. Today it’s known as the Pink Lady.
Ferndale (pictured below) has been called the best preserved Victorian village in California by the Los Angeles Times, and This Old House voted Eureka one of the Best Places to Buy a Queen Anne in the U.S.
I’m not sure why Humboldt County has done such an unusually amazing job preserving its historic architecture. Maybe they didn’t have the economic means to bulldoze and rebuild with the rest of the state, considering Eureka’s median income is roughly half the California average. Maybe the arts and culture-focused residents saw the unique beauty in their whimsical old buildings when everyone else valued sleek, modern and new. Maybe there’s just something magical about the fog-shrouded communities bordering redwood forests, Humboldt Bay and the mysterious Lost Coast, an area of the Golden State that is – remarkably– still untouched.
Whatever the reason, the result is a trip back in time.