BEYOND THE BROCHURE: Travel brochures can begin to all sounds a little alike, if you lay them alongside each other and consume them all at once. Oh, not all brochures -- there are some truly clever examples out there, that make you want to be in the place they're describing immediately -- but you know the ones we speak of. And there are some cities that one feels naturally inclined to be a bit travel-brochure-y about, in tone and language, if only because you just feel happier, better, and more at ease there. That's all. Arcata is in one of our own travel-brochure-y sweet spots, but we're going to flip the language we'd normally go to here, to sum up the Humboldt County gem, and say this: It is a place that has a tendency not to bum us out upon arrival. Some places can, if your expectations and the reality are too far apart, but not with Arcata. It's the quintessential picture of the laid-back, water-close burg, a place with good food and some easy-breezy bohemian-style vibes.
EASY-BREEZY BITES, TOO: One of the city's top summer parties happens to involve the water, it won't surprise you to learn: Oyster Festival. It falls on Saturday, June 15 this year, and thousands of bivalves'll be sucked down (or up? We're never sure about that.) Oyster Festival is set to mark its quarter century in a couple of years, so consider this one of the venerable food parties on the redwoods circuit.
ARCATA SUMMERTIME: Personally, we'd probably drive up to Arcata to sit on the Plaza, finish that paperback we started forever ago, get some sun, and drive home. But there are several other summer doings in the area, and around nearby towns, too. The Kinetic Grand Championship, that whirl of mad, non-motorized street racing, zooms it up over Memorial Day Weekend.