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The Pink Lady 

click to enlarge img_6281_cmyk.jpg

Perched daintily on the corner across from the Carson Mansion is the Pink Lady, a classic Queen Anne Victorian built as a wedding gift from William Carson to his eldest son Milton. (202 M St, Eureka) The Lady feels like the dark green, iron-gated mansion's flirtatious kid sister, surrounded by a white wooden fence with an appealing covered gate with decorative circles and sun ray motifs also used on the house. Both buildings are architectural must-sees in Humboldt County, and now you can stay in the Pink Lady.

In recent years, the Pink Lady has been used as office space, but the current owner has turned it into a vacation rental with full baths, claw-foot tubs and a new kitchen. The Pink Lady is ready, once again, to receive guests.

The ornamental and structural elements lure passersby for photo ops. The white trim boasts spindles, knobs, braces and artistic flourishes. Wooden shingles cover the walls in a mosaic of scallops, hexagons, diamonds and rectangles. Rosy light streams through stained glass windows at the base of the turret, drawing you to the front porch.

Inside, the Lady's spacious entryway welcomes with gleaming hardwood trim and carvings that have survived the ravages of time and a chandelier and sculpted banister along the stairs to the second floor. On the left, doors lead to the parlor. Past the parlor is a separate dining room. The owners have installed a small, modern kitchen, but the original pass-through from the kitchen to the hall has been retained — a remnant from a time when the area was the domain of servants. A voice tube, the pre-electricity version of the intercom, connects upstairs and downstairs. Beyond the kitchen, a door on the right opens to a back stairway providing direct access to the second floor. This little stairway glows in the light of a stained glass window, and feels like a magical portal.

Milton Carson, his wife Mary Bell and their daughter lived in the Pink Lady from 1889 to 1912, when they moved into the Carson Mansion. The Pink Lady stayed in the family until 1920, after which it saw a succession of owners. Intriguing among these were two sisters in Germany who operated it as rooming house, and from whom it was seized in 1942 as Nazi property.

There are just four bedrooms upstairs, but it's easy to picture boarders sharing a room. The master bedroom, which includes the tower facing the bay and the Carson Mansion, holds a king size bed, yet still feels open. The other three bedrooms are on the other side of the house, and the one at the far end has an attached sunroom overlooking the yard, the Carter House, and the county jail. A curious element is the presence of doors between the three bedrooms, one of them hidden inside two closets. But a lady is entitled to her secrets.

If curbside photos aren't enough to satisfy your architectural curiosity, you can book a reservation through Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals (834-6555, www.redwoodcoastvacationrentals.com), and a stay includes the chance to dine at the Carson Mansion, an opportunity normally restricted to Ingomar Club members.

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Susan Penn

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