Ferndale, California was settled in the mid 19th century and started out as an agricultural town. By the 1890s, the town’s focus had switched to dairies, and the area’s success was reflected in the architecture. The beautiful Victorian mansions built from dairy profits became known as “Butterfat Palaces”. 100 years later, Ferndale is still a small town surrounded by dairy and cattle ranches, and many of the “Butterfat Palaces” are still here. The quality of the Victorian architecture in and around Ferndale is one of the main draws of the town. If you love Victorian houses and other turn-of-the-century architecture, you’ll plan your vacation to Ferndale allowing for an extra day just to drive around the countryside and admire the historic homes.
Many visitors come to Ferndale for the day, end up falling in love with the town, and wishing they had more time in this quiet little paradise. So they extend their stay or quickly plan a return visit. Some (like our webmaster) even end up moving here. Some visitors love Ferndale because there is so much to do around here while others love it for the fact that it’s a beautiful place to do absolutely nothing. When most other towns around the country are starting to look the same because of urban sprawl and chain stores, it is truly refreshing to visit a town surrounded by open space in every direction and the only chain store sign you’ll see on Main Street says Rexall.
Due to its scenic location, Main Street in Ferndale has been the location for several movies, the latest being “The Majestic”, starring Jim Carrey, filmed in the spring of 2001. The Ivanhoe was right in the center of the action for much of the filming of “The Majestic” and the hotel can also be seen in “Outbreak”.