Our Heritage House

The Lily is an example of architectural style at the turn of the last century. It has elements of the older Victorian era and the just developing Craftsman style. This historic home still has original old growth redwood trim and doors, stained glass windows, high ceilings, bay windows, and a Victorian era wraparound covered porch. Joyce Plath bought the home upon her return to Arcata after completing her Masters in Architecture at UC Berkeley. For over thirty years she ran a design business from various rooms in the house, reared two sons, and hosted community gatherings for numerous causes. Now she is sharing her home and connections to the community with visitors to the North Coast. We think you will feel the rich, layered quality of the spaces here; they are uniquely developed with a very original eye.

Supporting Our Community

We share our profit with the Humboldt Bay Center for Sustainable Living - a local nonprofit dedicated to creating a more sustainable world through providing organic farm tours, instructional videos on appropriate technology, and workshops that provide hands on experience with sustainable living techniques.

As an Eco-hostel we work hard to provide a top quality experience for our guests without sacrificing our commitment to our community. From the soap in the shower to the fruit on the breakfast table, we purchase products and services as locally as we can. In doing so, we try to connect our guests to this area in a way that is mutually beneficial.

Our Founder: Joyce Plath

I first went to India as a student on a Carnegie Foundation Grant in the early 1960's. After returning and earning an MFA in painting I went to Asia to teach in universities in The Philippines and Thailand for another three years. I was lucky to be in this part of the world before the Lonely Planet guidebooks existed. During that time, travelers came overland from Europe or Australia and most were on the road for a minimum of a year. I encountered people with amazing stories from Bali to the beaches of Goa.

In the seventies I taught art and women's studies at Humboldt State University here in Arcata and built my first small house. The process inspired me to study architecture. On the day I was notified that I had been accepted at Berkeley I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. My partner, George, laughed and suggested that he would support me while I did both. Evan was born in the middle of my first year of graduate school. He began sleeping on a drafting table in the studio thirteen days after his birth.


We returned to Arcata in 1979. I began my design practice, taught architectural design part time at College of the Redwoods, and in 1982 had a second child; Tim. All this slowed down my never-ending passion for travel though twenty years later, in 1992 I did take my sons to India and Nepal for five months. Tim, at nine, might well be one of the youngest western kids to trek the Annapurna circuit with a pass at almost 18,000 feet. Traveling with my kids helped connect the traveler I had been in my twenties with the person I had become as a parent. Evan said, "Ah. Now I understand the Tibetian Thangka that has been hanging in our house all of my life."

More recently I spent a couple of years in the late 2000s teaching architecture in Jaipur. Here at the Lily I can share a photo shoot from that time that I did with Janette Heartwood and two professors at Aayojan College of Architecture as we traveled to rural Rajasthan along the Pakistan border to document traditional desert buildings.

In 2013 I spent six months exploring Southern Africa. During that time I did some volunteer site planning and building design for the Savory Foundation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

I am a traveler and The Lily is an experiment in bringing travelers to me. It is such fun to share a glass of wine and stories of adventure, culture, and hope.

Welcome.