They say the best movies about American culture are made by foreigners, the logic being that it takes an outsider's eye to really see things objectively.
I'm not sure if I buy that, but I will say that this piece on Humboldt County from today's New York Times (by Canadian-born, North Carolina-raised author Wells Tower) really captures some of the distinct particulars that make this place special -- from our gorgeous landscapes and Victorian houses to the bigfoot enthusiasts, reclusive pot growers and noodle-dancing free spirits.
In my touristic career, I've grown numb to the presence of hammerhead sharks, giant tortoises, grizzly bears, blue-footed boobies and pilot whales, but in the awe department, coast redwoods seemed to have no point of diminishing returns. Each tree revealed some astounding new characteristic of girth, bark tone, branch anatomy or moss couture. The forest's crisp, misty air made breathing a thrilling novelty. It seemed to inhale itself.
On top of his writing chops, Wells is a good guy to share a couple beers with. He stopped by the Journal offices during his visit and gathered some local wisdom from former editor Hank Sims (and bar suggestions from the rest of us).
The piece is not receiving universal acclaim from locals, however. Check the post and comments over on Kym Kemp's blog.