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Old-fashioned ways to get around Eureka.

Since the mid-1970s, Eureka's Old Town district has been staging a slow but steady comeback. Renovation of its Victorian commercial structures-many now occupied by attractive restaurants, art galleries, and shops has returned an air of prosperity to the harborside area. Painstaking renovation and imaginative recreation have also revived three old-fashioned modes of transportation by which visitors can now take leisurely tours of the historic streets and harbor of this fine old North Coast town.

Promenade by horse and buggy

After a six-year stint as drivers in New York City's Central Park, Michele and Marty L'Herault brought an elegant burgundy carriage west to Eureka last year, A reproduction of a turn-of-thecntury vis-a-vis, it now carries visitors slowly and comfortably on informative tours through Old Town, pulled by one of the L'Heraults' massive Percheron horses. A top folds up to cover riders in inclement weather.

Look for the carriage between 11 and 7 daily (until 10 Fridays and Saturdays) at the gazebo at Second and F streets. A 20-minute tour around the center of Old Town costs $16 for up to four adults and two children; a 45-minute tour that takes in the Carson Mansion (a monument to Victorian extravagance and lumber money) is $34. For more details, call Old Town Carriage Co. at (707) 442-7264.

Board a wireless trolley

For the first time in 50 years, trolley service returns to Old Town this summer. However, the new car rolls on tires and doesn't get its power from overhead electrical wires. Using a bus chassis as foundation, Eric Hollenbeck built the car's frame out of Douglas fir and finished it in polished mahogany, redwood, and oak at Blue Ox Millworks, his custom mill in Eureka. He's been commissioned to create two more trolleys by the Eureka Business Improvement District Association.

At our press time, the trolley was expected to begin free service in June (11:30 to 5:30 Thursdays through Sundays) on a route running east and west through Old Town and as far south as the Eureka Inn. For details, call 442-9054.

Ply the bay on a restored ferry

Built in 1910 to ferry millworkers across Humboldt Bay and used after 1971 for harbor cruises, the Madaket is the oldest passenger vessel on the West Coast still in use. It has just been extensively restored and returned to its original appearance. Narrated cruises sail from the dock at the foot of C Street at 1, 2:30, 4, and 7 daily. The 75-minute trip ($8.50 adults, $7.50 ages 12 through 17, $5.50 ages 6 through 11 ) passes an egret rookery, oyster beds, cargo ships, and fish-processing plants. En route, you'll learn about the discovery of Humboldt Bay and the subsequent growth of Eureka and its industries.
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Title Annotation:California
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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