Pin It

Best Town Greater Than 10,000 

click to enlarge Historic Postcard of the Arcata Plaza
  • Historic Postcard of the Arcata Plaza


 It is, actually, all about the plaza. The addictive goodness -- and weirdness -- of our winning best big town, Arcata, starts there and radiates out. Begins like a big throbbing heart fed by hot dogs, tofu, noodles and beer, then massaged back to life by the hands of rope-haired travelers, their guardian cops, proud merchants and the metallic grip of Mr. Statue (McKinley). Beats wildly to the endless parade of festivals and markets, intoxicated by the shifting miasma of oysters, hoops, boobs, banjos, steel drums, fresh produce, chalk dust, whirling kids and grownups. Settles into a soothed thumping when the lawnmower comes, as the flowers in the planters stretch and bloom.

 This central life force pumps into the little glam shops now embracing it, and beyond into the ballfield where the Humboldt Crabs have played for 67 years; to the far-from-doddering 98-year-old Humboldt State University. It goes into the Co-op and Safeway and Wildberries and tasty little shops, the Finnish hot-tubs and Arcata Marsh -- a fancy sewer, dontcha know -- and the community forest, and community pool (imagine that, a community pool) and homes humble and grand. We can’t list everything, but everything is included. Once in Arcata, you really can’t escape Arcata. It’s a state of mind that invades the flesh. And if you don’t like it -- well, go to Eureka. Half as popular as Arcata and, to our readers, second-best -- but, you know, perhaps its wonders are just a little less flamboyant. More real, in fact, some might say. But who’s comparing (ahem)?

 Third best: Fortuna

 Fourth best: McKinleyville

 -- Heidi Walters

The Breakdown: Arcata 52.5%, Eureka 24.4%, Fortuna 5.0%, McKinleyville 4.3%, Voter Turnout: 12th.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

more from the author

Latest in News

  • Service Call

    Eureka's 'effervescent' new councilmember and her Bible-smuggling past
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Profits over People?

    Officials scurry to stop skilled nursing closures
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Prove Them Wrong

    Betty Chinn just keeps moving, carrying an entire community along with her
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Pit Boys

    The story of a cowboy barbecue
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Safe Harbor

    The Harbor District has entered new waters in recent years, but some say it's drifted off course
    • Oct 1, 2015

© 2016 The North Coast Journal Weekly

Website powered by Foundation

humboldt