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History of The Front Porch Inn

When a country boy from the sticks of South Dakota travels west to the Redwood coast and meets a California girl from the the tidy suburbs of Novato, comedy is sure to ensue. How the two of us came to cross paths and despite all reasonable odds found ourselves behind the Redwood Curtain raising cattle, farming organic fruits and vegetables and running a super hip boutique Inn is way beyond me. The Front Porch Inn is in and of its self an anomaly and can only truly be explained in a greater context of a Humboldt adventure.

The feeling of a place comes from its origins and there is something authentic that grabs you when you first come through the gate and behold the humble yet beautiful oasis that is The Front Porch. There is energy in the materials and a sense of wonder from the people who put them together. Each and every stone, piece of old reclaimed redwood and sweet vintage find has a story behind it.

For us it really started when we decided to plant over a hundred varieties of fruit trees, of the best old school heirlooms and modern wonders alike on our farm 8 miles east of town. By doing so we committed ourselves to a long term vision on the land. However, fruit trees take years to bare fruit and decade or more before hitting peak production. After planting our orchard we needed something to pay the bills. So with the farm mostly planted we found a fixer upper in town, picked up our tools and went to work.

A Historic Inn from the 1920s The Front Porch had fallen into extreme disrepair and when we found it in December of 2011 was slated to be tore down to make way for new development. Despite the outwardly challenged state of the buildings and numerous obvious problems with the place, we were quite taken with its rough and tumble history and were determined not to let it just be tore down. We dreamed of restoring and renovating the Inn and creating a comfortably authentic experience for people to come stay in this awesome community we love to call home. And so began a many years long adventure filled with hard work, great people and more than our fair share of happy accidents. For the renovations we gathered as much of the material from our environment as possible. We hand selected local river stone from six rivers, repurposed old growth redwood boards from nearby barns dating to the 1800s and reclaimed old timbers left behind in the forest from first logging exploits over one hundred years ago. This carful use of local material has contributed to a look that several of our guests have fondly referred to as a “rustic chic”. Inside, our rooms are home to many sweet vintage finds; something made possible by the rich history and culture in the Humboldt Bay Area with many cool old Victorians and humble farmhouses a like.

Our Hidden Baths and Ceder sauna are something our guests quite enjoy but having never seen anything quite like it, many ask, “where on earth did they come from?!!” The answer is simple: Inspiration came from nature. The overwhelming natural beauty one can experience nearby in any one of Humboldt’s many Redwood Forests, coastal mountainsides, and wild scenic rivers is something we wanted to recreate back home at the porch. So we designed a bath house with a system of living earthen walls covered in ferns, moss and other native plants to create a one of a kind experience where guests can enjoy soaking in perfectly hot water surrounded by live plants, fresh air and open sky in total privacy. The private outdoor tub rooms are first come first serve and with number of options ranging from Japanese Ofuro style Hand Hammered Copper deep soaking tubs to extra long antique side by side claw foot tubs, you are sure to find something absolutely delightful. In addition our large earth and Ceder sauna combines natural river stone and living walls/roof on the outside with beautiful custom cedar and redwood on the inside for a luxurious handcrafted dry and steam sauna experience that is completely unparalleled.

A few more flavors; Wanting people to be able to enjoy the eat in home connivence of a typical bnb but with much more flexibility and independence, we made sure each room has its very own fully stocked kitchen and kitchenette with all the essentials like pots and pans, olive oil, vinegar and basic spices for cooking a great meal to be enjoyed in the comforts of your own space.

For breakfast we stock each room with steal cut oats and coffee/French press as well as providing farm fresh local eggs and organic kale and greens from one of our very own living walls for guests to prepare at their leisure.

When the caffeine has had time to matriculate and the relaxation of the Hidden baths done its magic we like to invite our friendly patrons to explore town in style with wheels from our very own vintage community bicycle library; rolling on adventures to great microbreweries, excellent restaurants, botique shops and a historic downtown with one of the best Farmers Markets in the country. This is just another way we are working to create a special experience for people who want to explore all Arcata, Humboldt and the Redwoods have to offer.

They say, “it takes a village” and none of this would have been possible with out the abundantly gracious support of our friends and community. Many talented people came together make this Front Porch Dream a reality and we are immensely grateful for their generosity. Even today it takes a solid team effort with continued attention detail to create the authentic experience that only The Front Porch can deliver. That’s our story for now.

See you on The Porch