Before it's too crowded and commercialized as the actual Napa
The state that invented Airbnb is moving on to bud and breakfast. Riverbar Pharms, a two-story gingerbread farmhouse on 20 acres of rolling farmland, is Humboldt County’s first bed and breakfast to encourage responsible cannabis consumption. Spotted cows and apple trees line the farm’s nature trails, allowing guests to zone out with nature. They also provide well-stocked snack baskets to help satisfy late-night munchies. Chef Desiree Robinson, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, is also on hand, offering up savory galettes, plus afternoon tangelo and thyme mocktails for the assembled foodies. Tour the B&B owner’s 30,000 square feet of bliss in nearby Eureka with her husband, cannabis cultivator Bryan Robinson, and then head back home to indulge in a 60-minute luxurious CBD facial, followed by a 60-minute CBD massage. EcoCann Dispensary makes daily deliveries from its Eureka storefront to the farmhouse. You can order the New Frontier, a non-alcoholic, THC-infused beer, for a smooth nightcap. Way better than a stale chocolate on your pillow. Starts at $149/night.
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Paddle with Sea Lions
Humboldt Bay is home to a noisy colony of California sea lions and lithe river otters. Rent kayaks or stand-up paddle boards from Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center ($26) or hop on the Madaket Ferry ($22) for an 8.5-mile cruise with narrative about the rise-and-fall on the local timber industry. You’ll pass by Indian Island, the ancestral home of the Wiyot people and northwestern California’s largest multi-species heron rookery. Not into history? Hop on the cocktail cruise instead. For less trafficked waters, head to Humboldt Lagoon State Park, home to four landlocked lagoons and 6 miles of pristine beach.
Foodies saddle up to the reclaimed redwood bar at Eureka’s Humboldt Bay Provisions restaurant to gorge on tangy Humboldt Fog goat cheese, sip rich California red wines, and slurp Humboldt Bay’s famed bay-to-table oysters. Past diners have penned odes to Kumanoto oysters’ nutty, buttery flavor and Bucksport oysters’ briny, melony finish. Captain Sebastian Elrite of Aqua Rodeo Farms (aqua-rodeofarms.com) harvests the bivalves, which are served raw or broiled, and dressed in garlic and peach-habanero sauces. You can even crew for the captain himself and harvest your own mollusk lunch. Eat raw or take them back to Humboldt Bay Provisions to be shelled and gulped.
Humboldt Regeneration Brewery & Farm takes local beer to a whole new level—they were the first California brewery since Prohibition to brew a 100 percent house-grown and malted beer. Master brewer Jacob Pressey not only brews the beer, he also plants, harvests, and processes its main ingredients—barley, wheat, and hops—a mile from downtown MckInleyville’s taproom. They offer 20-some beers on tap, a pooch-friendly atmosphere, and growler fills to go.
Hike Among the Giants
Escape civilization to one of northern California’s most far-flung gems: The Lost Coast. Take the 25-mile-long Lost Coast Trail to a wild coastline where sea lions snooze on boulder-strewn beaches. The views of the King Range and towering redwoods make every step worth it. Peak season is late May, during the (mostly) dry weather. Make sure to carry tide maps, as sections of the trail are impassable at high water. Or, keep it simple and walk the Humboldt Redwood State Park’s River Trail for your nature fix. Visitcalifornia.com
Tour the High Points
You’ll see the legendary cannabis farms, inhale the terpenes, and learn about the growing process with a seven-hour-long tour led by Humboldt Cannabis Tours. Enjoy lunch in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, where guests chow on organic (natch) sandwiches, California strawberries, and local chocolate from North Coast Co-Op. Tour-operator Matt Kurth often introduces guests to his favorite spot, Williams Grove Group Camp, where picnic tables sit in old-growth redwoods and the Eel River burbles among the trees. The tour culminates at Plant Humboldt nursery. “They have thousands and thousands of plants there. It’s a sea of cannabis,” he says. “It’s low-tech, back-to-the-land people growing weed there.” $169/person.
Humboldt Seed Company is among the valley’s most respected breeders. They grow high-quality medicinal cannabis seeds for sale to farms and individual growers seeking help for their ailments.
Pre-rolls. Edibles. Topicals. For the last 20 years, locals have descended on Humboldt Patient Resource Center for medicinal cannabis products to treat all sorts of maladies. Joint pain, insomnia, or stress? Budtenders can fix that. Despite an influx of dispensaries, locals still call this one their favorite because of the staff’s encyclopedic knowledge. We favor Manzanita Madrone’s KwikZZZs Medicated Drink Shot, $15, for insomnia-kicking slumber. The 2-ounce bottle packs a punch with lavender, chamomile, and 100mg of THC. Start with just a sip: 10mg is enough knock out most beginners, and more might induce ten hours of marijuana misery. hprchumboldt.com
Local-ish? Pick up your own sun-grown, garden-ready plants at Plant Humboldt to start your own stash. (Don’t try to cross state lines with them, however; these plants are still illegal across the border.) Plants come in three sizes: clones in 4” pots, seed-grown plants from feminized seeds in 6” pots, and guaranteed-female seed-grown plants in 2-gallon pots. They’ll even hold your plants while you explore the coastline. We favor Humboldt Seed Company’s Vanilla Frosting, a 25%+ THC product with a sweet vanilla nose and a fuel finish for a strong high, and Willy G’s Lebanese, a CBD-dominant strain with a piney aroma and a grape finish for soothing pain relief. Prices vary by strain. planthumboldt.com