Striking Gold at Carter House Inns, Eureka

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Dinner & a carriage ride through historic Old Town Eureka. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Located in the historic district of Old Town Eureka, Carter House Inns is a wonderful collection of Victorian buildings in Eureka, California. With luxurious accommodations and a fabulous restaurant, I discovered a gold nugget in Humboldt County.

This was my first time traveling to Eureka with the specific goal of touring the downtown area and Humboldt County’s surrounding beaches. My husband and I were driving up from the San Francisco Bay Area with our dog for a multi-day road trip. We have stayed at several Unique Inns previously, as they have properties liberally sprinkled throughout British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho, in addition to a bed & breakfast in Hilo, Hawaii. We had stayed in Mendocino the previous night at the Eco Lodge Stanford Inn by the Sea, another unique property that is incredibly pet-friendly. By the way, these properties are an easy four hour drive from one another and offer beautiful, scenic highway access.

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Reception & bar at Carter House Inns. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

You’ll step back in time when you step into the lobby of Carter House Inns, the 23 room hotel that serves as the anchor to several Carter House properties, including the famed Restaurant 301. We stayed in the main building on the second floor, but you’ll want to visit the 5 bedroom Carter House across the street. The lovely Victorian was built by Co-owner and Innkeeper Mark Carter and modeled after the Murphy House, a San Francisco Victorian that was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. Additionally, there are the Carter & Bell Cottages, as well as Anne’s House for rent. While I have not yet stayed at any of these cottages or Anne’s House, it sounds like Carter Cottage or Anne’s House are ideal for a romantic getaway, while Bell Cottage might work for families. Bell Cottage is an 1890’s cottage that was restored in 1992 and offers 2 queen bedrooms with in-room fireplaces and one double bedroom. Finally, Anne’s House, a one bedroom bungalow looks ideal for a summer vacation as it features a private deck and barbecue grill. I’d be curious to know if any of the cottages are pet-friendly as it is not noted on the website.

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Original Carter House Victorian built by Mark Carter. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

We had originally planned to stay in the Carter House Deluxe Queen; pet-friendly with a fireplace. Instead, we opted to extend our stay an additional night – too much history to see in one day – and moved to a very nice queen bedroom on the second floor. Rooms include complimentary wi-fi, Keurig coffee and tea maker, soft robes, flatscreen tv, hair dryer and honor basket with snacks. The ice machine was located on the third floor.

A limited number of pet-friendly rooms are available with an additional $50 charge. The pet fee includes a pet bowl, bottled water – although the tap water was perfectly fine – and a Carter House pet towel; all for you to keep. There’s a nice patch of grass adjacent to the hotel near the Chevron Station. While dogs are not allowed in the restaurant, you are able to have your meal in the lobby.

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Pet-friendly queen room. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Restaurant 301

Foodies will love Restaurant 301 with its fresh-from-the-garden produce – garden tours are available upon request. This destination restaurant features a prix fixe, five-course tasting menu, paired with wine, or guests may order a la carte. After dining vegan the night before at another location we opted for venison wrapped in prosciutto and baked in a pastry shell and my personal favorite, the Field & Fowl. The marinated grilled lamb chop was cooked perfectly, but it was the duck thigh stuffed with dried cherries, walnuts & shallots, resting on a bed of winter red wheat berries, that stole the show. A pine nut cherve and sun dried tomato tart was served along side with a savory orange sauce artistically arranged on the plate. Save room for the flourless dark chocolate torte with milk chocolate ganache, topped with a cocoa noir glacage, accompanied by a vanilla bean anglaise and blackberry coulis.

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Field & fowl at 301 Restaurant photo © Nancy D. Brown

Need to know:

Winter rates start at $169.00 to $425.00 per night, plus tax. The hotel offers stairs or an elevator and is within easy walking distance of Carson Mansion and historic downtown Eureka. There is private off street parking available and an electric car charging station out back. Complimentary two-course breakfast is included in the room rate and is served from 7:30-9:30 a.m. weekdays, until 10:00 a.m. weekends. Complimentary afternoon hors d’ oeuvres and a glass of beer or wine are served daily at 4:00 p.m. in the lobby by the fireplace. Homemade cookies and a large selection of Republic of Tea offerings are set out at 8:00 p.m.

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Check in: 3:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Check out: 11:00 a.m.

Carter House Inns are members of Select Registry and Unique Inns.

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Breakfast is served Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Insider tip:

From a Humboldt Bay harbor cruise to dinner and a horse-drawn carriage ride, romance is easy to find here. Try the “Wine Lover’s Package” (Restaurant 301 has over 3,400 selections on their award-winning wine list – ideal for the oenophile.) I was pleased to learn of Mark Carter’s Napa Valley wine connection. Mark and his wife Sherri operate Envy Wines in Calistoga with Nils Venge. The wines are well received.

If you love a good happy hour (and who doesn’t?) the Kentucky Owl Bourbon Bar opens at 4:00 p.m. with a martini or Manhattan priced at $3.50 until 6 p.m. Guests also receive a glass of wine or beer upon check-in. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and Carter House Inns on Instagram.

If You Go:

Carter House Inns (707) 444-8062

301 L Street

Eureka, California 95501

Carter House Inns bed and breakfast review and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Carter House Inns for first-hand review purposes, however all opinions are my own.