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USATourist News Magazine

July 2007

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Welcome to the July to 2007 issue of USATourist News Magazine. This month we are traveling to a magical area situated on the northern coast of California, a place that entrances its visitors and impresses even the tallest of men. It's often referred to as the Redwood Forest.

Redwood Forest

While today the Redwood National and State Parks ( area is highly treasured and protected, in 1850 the trees were looked at as a good source of lumber, especially with the growing population of gold-miners. Over 160 years ago the redwood forest covered two million acres. Today, less than 4 percent is left.

Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

The average redwood's age is 500 to 700 years old and height is 200-250 feet (61-76 meters), but the old-growth coast redwoods can live to be more than 2000 years old and reach a height of over 300 feet (91 meters). Since the year 2000, the Stratosphere Giant, located in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, held the "tallest tree" title. That was, until 2006 when the redwood tree, named Hyperion, was confirmed to be the world's tallest living tree. Hyperion is located on a hillside in Northern California and has a height of 379.1 feet (115.55 meters). Hyperion's location is one of California's best kept secrets for the sake of respecting the tree's surrounding ecosystem. Two other trees, Helios and Icarus, were also found to be taller than the Stratosphere Giant.

There are plenty of places to see the enormous trees. The Avenue of the Giants is a beautiful 31-mile stretch on old Highway 101 (parallel to Freeway 101). Some of the more famous tree attractions are the three man-made drive-thru trees. The three trees are located outside the Redwood National and State Parks on Highway-101on private land. A fee is charged for each drive-thru adventure.

The Shrine Drive-thru Tree is located at Myers Flat. There is also a "Drive-Over Tree" (a fallen redwood log) and a two-story tree house that is great fun for the children. The Chandelier Tree is in Leggett, South of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The Klamath Tour Thru Tree is located north of Trinidad, CA. At one time there was a fourth drive-thru tree located in Yosemite National Park, but back in 1969 the famous Giant Sequoia "Tunnel Tree" fell. Man-made tunnels are no long longer being made out of respect for the parks' natural environment.

Local Architecture

Trees are not the only attraction in the redwood area. If you love the architecture of the Victorian Era the city of Eureka offers many beautiful structures. The William Carson Mansion is one of the most famous. This Queen Anne Victorian was designed by architects Samuel and Joseph Newsome and built between 1884 and 1885. Today the mansion is known as the Ingomar Club.

The Eureka Heritage Society formed in 1973 with the plan to preserve the beautifully designed buildings. A twelve year long project analyzed the 10,000 Eureka structures of which 1,600 were then chosen to be crucially examined. The final outcome was the book Eureka: An Architectural View, also known as "The Green Book," a collection of details on the historic homes.

Carson Mansion

Carson Mansion
Photo by Don Forthuber
Courtesy Humboldt County CVB,

The Blue Ox Millworks will give you a glimpse of the 1800's Victorian craftsmanship techniques that they still use today. A variety of tours are available from a self-guide tour to a full-day activity package. The full-day package requires reservations and a minimum of 10 people and is a fun way to spend the day. It includes a guided tour, a narrated tour of local Victorians, a blacksmith and ceramics workshop, lunch in the cook shack and personal appearance by Babe & Blue the Oxen. Prices and hours can be found on the Tour Rates page of their main Web site.

Be sure to check out the Blue Ox's Gallery of Humboldt Victorians:

Speaking of logging, the Samoa Cookhouse is one of the local restaurants every visitor must stop by during their trip. After all, it's the last of its kind. What so special about this place? The restaurant is reminiscent of the lumberjack days. The food is served "lumber camp style" in large serving bowls, passed around the table and seconds are always offered. After eating visit the attached museum that holds memorabilia from the lumbering days.

Fun Facts

Several movie scenes were filmed amongst the redwoods such as parts of the Star Wars movie "Return of the Jedi" which were shot in the Tall Trees Redwood Grove. A few scenes of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" were filmed in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The 1995 movie Outbreak was filmed at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and at Patrick's Point State Park.

One of the most popular media covered events was the two years environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill spent camped out in the tree, Luna. She lived in a 6-by-8-foot tree house that sat 180 feet up in protest of the Pacific Lumber Company cutting it down. Luna and all trees within three-acres ended up being saved due to her quest.

The best way to get there

The redwood area is about 5 hours north of San Francisco. The Arcata/Eureka Airport (ACV) is Humboldt County's regional airport. Horizon Air and United Airlines currently serve the airport through connection flights. You can easily rent a car from one of the several car agencies that serve the airport.
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Toppled Tree Roots

Toppled Tree Roots

Where to stay

There are plenty of bed and breakfasts and hotels in the area. One of the charming B&B's is located 20 miles from the Redwood Forest is the Shaw House Inn Bed and Breakfast in the historic Main Street district of Ferndale, California.

If you would rather stay in the city of Eureka, the Ship's Inn Bed & Breakfast, a Victorian home built in 1882, is located within one-half mile of historic Old Town Eureka, Humboldt Bay boardwalk and less than a mile from the Carson Mansion. In Old Town you will find wonderful shopping and great restaurants.
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Special Tour

From San Francisco, enjoy the view while traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge into the wilderness of Muir Woods. This mesmerizing 8-hour tour includes a guided tour of the Giant Redwoods and a visit to the quaint coastal town of Sausalito and the Winchester Mystery House. Click here for more information and Booking Details.

Thank you for reading this issue of USATourist News Magazine. Next month we are headed to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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