:: Ferndale/Eureka, CA - aw
Station/Boat Location~
Air Station Humboldt Bay

Date there~
July 2007-June 2011

I have found the weather harder to handle as I am a Florida girl – the constant 50 to 55 degrees year around with little sun has taken some getting used to.

Military facilities~
no medical, gym, commissary or exchange. There is a fitness center called HealthSport right up the street from housing that has a pool, weight room and a lot of classes – membership for family paid for by the CG. Really great deal!

Doctors that I would recommend are Eureka Pediatric and Eureka Family Practice. I would also recommend Dr. Stokes (OBGYN) and his wife Dr Stokes (Gastroenterologist). Medical variety is limited as this is a remote and small community, however I do feel all medical needs can be met here – just not a lot of choices.

The only military housing is in Eureka – Ferndale is closed. Almost all floors are linoleum (some houses are transitioning to wood though not many) and carpet remnants can be bought at store just up road. Some garages are finished - ours was not. Cabinets throughout the house are old but this is by far the nicest military house we have lived in (12 years of experience). Housing is divided by a very wooded ravine (foot bridge links them) with approximately 60 houses on one side and 16 houses on the other. Yards vary greatly – grass… size… etc. Some houses are attached by garage-others by center wall. The are lots of playgrounds, next to our house is a basketball court, volleyball court (currently broken) and right out back is a community barn that all gatherings and parties take place – rental is $10 to Chiefs Mess. Houses range from 2-4 bedroom, ours was a 3 bedroom/2.5 bath and averaged 1900 sq ft. I was told (though can not verify) the 4 bedroom are about the same size as the 3 bedroom – just with smaller bedrooms and larger laundry rooms. The plus to housing is the security, availability of friends for the kids, and reduced financial burden. There are rentals available but you really have to do some digging. Off base housing is VERY expensive here. BAH is for up to 60 miles radius thus is slightly off kilter to the actually cost of living here in town.

Grocery - Winco (because it is cheap- though not ideally located), Safeway (as they can have good deals if you are a card holder – but they are twice as much as Winco), Eureka Natural Foods on Broadway (the meat is organic, grass feed, local and 2.49 lb) and Costco. Gas prices are very high (currently $4.25). No commissary or exchange. The mall has Sears, Ross for Less, Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secrets, Bed Bath Beyond and Boarders but not much else. Most of the shops in the mall are struggling. There is a Target in Eureka and a descent sized Kmart in McKinleyville. There is no Wal-Mart (closest is Crescent City about 2 hours north which also has the closest Home Depot). There is a Staples, Michaels, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Ace Hardware and as far as chain restaurants you are stuck with Applebee’s and typical fast food establishments. There are a lot of local stores that sell everything and GREAT local restaurants (Rita’s).

Child Care/Schools~
I would check out for schools as there is a lot of variety. I had my kids in Freshwater, which is about 7 minutes door to door from housing – however out of district. Freshwater is an AMAZING school!! Lafayette Elementary is within walking distance of housing, but my kids never went there so I cant comment on academics. The schools in Eureka are broken down by K-6 (best are Freshwater and Washington in my opinion), 7/8 (only school not charter or parochial is Catherine Zane Middle), high school is typical 9-12 (only one in town – Eureka High). My daughter opted to go to Arcata High which is between Eureka (housing) and McKinleyville (Air Station) about 12 minutes up the road. It was smaller (800 kids as opposed to Eureka High 1200). The main downfall with Arcata High is the permissive drug use mentality. The two parochial schools that I can think about are Church of the Nazarene (small but great atmosphere) and St Bernard’s (tuition is about $6000 a year per student). There are no chain child care centers here and preschool and kindergarten are not required. It depends of the school whether Kindergarten is full or half day.

Adult Schools~
HSU is a beautiful campus though I never have attended.

Fun Activities~
We GREATLY enjoyed traveling the west coast (San Fran is a good 5 hours on a crazy road south) Oregon is about 2.5 hours north (on very winding roads) and Redding which is our closest big city is 3 hours over very winding roads. There are some great hikes in the area – too many to mention - if you get out, there is a lot to do that is truly breath taking. We have skied Shasta (4 hours away), Tahoe (8 hours away), Bachelor (7 hours) and Ashland (4 hours). We have traveled all over Oregon (GREAT camping and very military friendly oh and no state tax) and have enjoyed going to Portland (8 hours) San Francisco (5 hours) and LA (12 hours) for city trips.

Additional Info~
Humboldt County has an EXTREMELY permissive attitude towards recreational drugs. Marijuana is allowed if you have a 215 card, which seems to be very easy to obtain. Any 215 card holders can have up to 19 plants. Meth is a large problem. There are a LOT of homeless that you will notice when traveling around town. We have only been approached a few times and they NEVER venture close to housing. The homeless here seem to understand the parameters that they are to navigate.

Kids sports – my kids were very active in sports – Eureka Breakers (travel and recreation soccer) and Arcata Mad River (travel and recreational soccer), FC Samos soccer clinics and Futsol at the Samoa Gym. My son just recently picked up AAU basketball out of Arcata – known as Humboldt Wild AAU. All schools have many sports and the rivalries are fun.

All in all this has been a fun four years and we have greatly enjoyed the numerous outdoor activities the northwest coast has to offer.

Homeport CA

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