Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Janis and Ernie's aniversary, Or Ferndale travelogue.



My wife and I were out celebrating our anniversary. We were married on New-Years eve. We thought at the time that it was a great time to get married. We thought that New-Years Eve would be great, because there would always be a party to go to. We were right about that, but in our youth we didn’t think about the quality of the parties that we would be going to. After a while, when I wanted to take her out to someplace special, it became apparent that New-Years-Eve was the theme, not Janis and Ernie. It became more and more difficult to dump the crowds and just have a nice evening. The food is usually a reduced menu, and the patrons of most of the Restaurants are there to celebrate the New-Year. Their plan seems to be, to get drunk and scream at the tops of their voices. And, where-the-hell did the women of today learn that loud-as-hell “wwwoooooo” that they do.

Some of our anniversaries we would grab a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine and go to my mother’s vacant house in Laytonville. We would built a big fire in the glass front stove and eat steaks, salad, and French bread, and drink a bottle of wine. But, that comes with doing the cooking yourself, plus cleaning up the mess. That went by the wayside the last few years because of the weather and the Confusion Hill Slide.

So this year I planned ahead and called for reservations at the Ginger Bread Mansion in Ferndale. My new friend Bob answered the phone and told us to go to their web site and choose a room, and that they were all available, when I made the reservation, with the exception of one. After a long lecture about the fact that they don’t allow smoking, candles, or incense I told him; we don’t smoke, so that suited us fine. I don’t like candles anyway, they stink. And, I explained that we could forgo the incense until at least Chinese New-Year. Then he told me; “Oh, by the way, there are NO cancellations”. So, I put everything on my card so we could have the room. I chose the Rose-Room because it looked warm and it was right in front, with a good view. The room with the tile floor was definitely out of the question. I could imagine my feet freezing to the floor on the way to the bathroom. I told him that I wanted a king-sized bed, because that was what we were used to. He said that the room has a king sized bed, but the top of the bed was about four feet off of the floor, and he gave me some Victorian reason why that it had to be that tall back then. I told him that the pedestal bed would be fine, even though I had no intention of sacrificing any virgins, that the bed would be fine, and that my wife and I were quite agile, and we could deal with it... "Alright", I thought, "So it sounds like my wife and I have a date."

The next morning she has the dreaded “Humboldt Crud”, and I had an anxiety attack over the fact that I had a high dollar, non-refundable room in Ferndale. But, not to worry, she got well in plenty of time for our “Date”. I think she does that for the attention.

My wife somehow got wind of an “Afternoon Tea” that happened in the afternoon. So we had to leave early, because she either has never been to a “Tea” before, or she just knew it was “not-to-miss”. Whatever… We had to be there early! When we got there, it wasn’t time to open yet and we had to wait until four. I think Bob said something about that, but I wasn’t in the least worried about the “tea” at that time, so I instantly disregarded it. My bad… As it turned out there was no “Tea” on that day, so this is my fault too, I freely admit it, and I remind myself that I have “manners”, and after all this is our anniversary. So, I smile and act like I feel terrible that we missed “Tea”. Bob met us warmly at the door and introduced us to his wife and business partner Julie. We filled out all the paper work and had a nice conversation about life in general.


We had dinner at The Ivanhoe, Bob had made reservations for us at seven-fifteen, we arrived right on time, were seated immediately, we had menus and water on the table before we were completely seated, the servers were fast and efficient. I had Mahi Mahi, Italian style with a fresh basil sauce over the top, perfectly steamed vegetables with a delicious sauce over them, and the pasta with a great tomato based sauce. My wife had a perfect Fillet Mignon with a baked potato and the same veggies.

Being a people watcher, I noticed quite a few Dairymen and their wives there, all talking loudly, and talking with their hands. The men were talking about their farms and what all the other farmers were doing, and the women were discussing the happenings of the day. There were a few young ranchers and their wives, and there were a few of what can only be described as newcomer, outsider, confused tourist types, with “Whaaaat the hell?”… looks on their faces. It was a fun place to be, and I didn’t hear any screaming, or wwwwoooo’s.

We had a great meal and we were out of there by eight. We went back to our room and sat in front of the real looking, but nice and warm fireplace and chatted about our long happy marriage, and how proud we are that we have been able to avoid a murder/suicide so far. We went to bed early. We found the stairway to get into the bed, I dubbed them “the stairway to heaven”…. Because the bed was so high. What were YOU thinking? I slept like a baby ’til eleven-thirty where there was a premature fireworks volley, then it all calmed down until midnight when there was another volley of fireworks.

Shortly after midnight the town sirens started sounding. Being a fireman myself, my feet just automatically hit the floor when I hear a siren. I congratulated myself that I remembered that I was four feet off of the ground and made my way off the end of the bed. I ripped the curtains open and watched the trucks leaving. The fire station is just across the street from the Mansion. I remembered my fire radio and turned it on to find what the call was. It turned out that someone had dislocated their hip on Mainstreet. So I reassured my wife that the firefighters were probably locating the hip by then, and all was well with us, and we went back to sleep.


We went down for breakfast at nine, we had granola, fresh orange juice, a raspberry muffin, and something made with ham and bread and onions and egg, then all mixed together and baked, with a great cheese topping. It was delicious, so it wasn’t quiche! Because real men don’t eat quiche.

We went for a drive to the beach, Janis took many photo’s, some of which you may see someday, but at any rate I can assure you it won’t be currently or timely.


We had a great morning at the beach. We came back and had lunch at Curley’s. Again, we had great service, we were served readily and we both had Tomato-Basil soup with a Spinach Salad, with fresh sourdough bread with garlic stuffed in the top, with a bowl of garlic dipping oil. Yum!

We came home early this afternoon. We had a great time and we would highly recommend the Gingerbread Mansion, The Ivanhoe, or Curley's to anyone, based on our experience today. My wife had so much fun that she’ll probably go back by herself next year.

Actually, with all kidding aside, we had a wonderful and romantic time, but she probably wouldn't want me telling you about that. So this is what you get!

7 comments:

Eric V. Kirk said...

Curly's is one of my favorite restaurants. There's also a breakfast place down the street where old timers play poker, complete with lamp visors.

I miss the book store, which had an honor system for their $1.00 books which were outside after closing hours.

Eric V. Kirk said...

Oh, and my wife and I once stayed at the Gingerbread mansion. Great place, and we met some interesting people at breakfast.

And Ivanhoe's may have the best raviolis in the county.

Ernie Branscomb said...

See Eric, We do agree on some things. It's hard not to like good food.

Carol said...

"Barnone!", roars Joe at the Ivanhoe.

What a grand description of the Ivanhoe, Ernie. Happy Anniversary to you and Janis!

Greg and I have stayed in the Rose Room once, and on our honeymoon we stayed in the Empire Suite. I love the garden at the Gingerbread Mansion.

barb michelen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kym said...

Warning, don't follow the last link if you are in the little blogger box.

I had to reenter.


Anyway, I loved your review of staying in Ferndale. I think we'll go there for our next date night!

Greg said...

The Ferndale Pizza Co. makes great, cheesy pizzas and very good Italian food, lasagna, raviolis, etc. Ferndale is still a classic experience.