<![CDATA[Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort - Blog]]>Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:46:03 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[Time for a little Horsing Around?]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:36:08 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/time-for-a-little-horsing-aroundPicture
The weather is starting to turn into an invitation to spend some time outdoors and we have quite a selection of things to do under the sun and the stars in Lake County. However, not many people know how many equestrian options there are here. 

While we're not ones to brag, we would like to shine the spot light on one of our neighbors, Gene Kirkendall, who recently won first place at the 6th Annual Art of the Cowboy Makers Contest in Las Vegas, a national competition for contemporary crafters of bits and spurs, boots, rope cans, chaps, hats, rope bags and saddles as reported in the Record-Bee. 

If you'd like to spend time in the saddle we're very happy to arrange day trips at several of our local equestrian neighbors. You'll probably not spend time in that fancy saddle, but the scenery will be outstanding and there are some great horse trails in Lake County. 

The Lake County Horse Council is a great place to start if you want to do some horsing around, so to speak. 
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<![CDATA[Lake County Wines: Big Wins at Chronicle Competition]]>Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:44:18 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/lake-county-wines-big-scores-as-chronicle-competitionLake County's wineries brought home 91 awards in the 2016 SF Chronicle Wine Competition. The Chronicle competition is the largest and most prestigious wine competition in North America.  This year, over 7,100 wines were entered for judging.  Lake County scored 4 Best of Class awards, 2 Double Gold, 19 Gold, 45 Silver and 21 Bronze medals.  
Looking for medal winning wines to try? Check out our Best of Class, Double Gold, and Gold medal winners and look for us at the SF Chronicle Public Tasting on February 13th at Fort Mason.  For tickets and more information, click here
Don't forget about Lake County's Wine Adventure passport event with almost 30 wineries opening their doors for a weekend of fun, great wines, music, food and more. 

Best of Class
Gregory Graham - 2014 Wedge Block Chardonnay
Hawk & Horse Vineyards - 2010 Latigo
Shooting Star  - 2013 Barbera
Smiling Dogs Ranch - 2013 Eutenir Vineyard Big Valley  Cabernet Sauvignon
Double Gold
Boatique Winery - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Guenoc  -2014 Chardonnay
Gold
Beaver Creek Vineyards - 2013 Horne Ranch Petite Sirah
Boatique Winery-
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Zinfandel
2013 Malbec
Chacewater Winery - 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Fore Family Vineyards -
2012 Pinot Noir
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Fults Family Vineyards - 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Gregory Graham - 2014 Bartolucci Vineyard Moscato
Guenoc - 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Laujor Estate Winery- 2012 Collie's Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon
Shed Horn Cellars -
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
2014 Chardonnay
2014 Zinfandel
Steele Wines - 2013 Goodchild Vineyard Chardonnay
Vigilance -
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Cimmaron
Wildhurst Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Writer's Block 2013 Zinfandel ​​
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<![CDATA[Is There Anything Left to do in Lake County after the fires?]]>Thu, 10 Dec 2015 23:22:38 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/is-there-anything-left-to-do-in-lake-county-after-the-firesFresh & Bangin's quail specialFresh & Bangin's recent quail special.
Every tourism destination craves attention in a crowded field, especially today with so many messages coming at us from all over. But the three devastating fires that we had in September weren’t exactly the national media exposure we wanted only because there are over 1300 people who would probably prefer that their homes are still intact. But a question that we get is very simple: why should I come to Lake County and spend my valuable vacation time? Isn’t most of everything burned down?

The simple answer is: no. The fact is all of the businesses and services a visitor to Lake County could be interested in are still standing. None of our wineries burned down, only a very few restaurants at the south end of the County were damaged and there are still many thousands of acres of beautiful wild lands for those seeking an incredible outdoor adventure

In fact, President Barack Obama just declared the 330,780 Berryessa Snow Mountain area the newest national monument and its size makes it arguably the largest national monument in all of California. This destination has plenty of pristine space for horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hunting. 

Come Fly with Us
If you’re really looking for an outdoor adventure, how about an air adventure? Crazy Creek Aviation offers both glider and a biplane rides where you can soar over the beauty that is Lake County. You can go for a peaceful, serene float through the cleanest air in California, or opt for something a little wilder where very qualified pilots will doc loops and other daredevil stunts. Crazy Creek’s sheds were burned by the Valley Fire, but none of their planes were damaged and their spirit was elevated, as yours will be by supporting this local business while enjoying an adventure of a lifetime. 

Wanna go for a Boat Ride?
Let’s say you want to experience Clear Lake first-hand, there are ways to do that as well. Bassin’ with Bob’s outstanding fishing guide service guarantees that you’ll catch the bass fish that Clear Lake is so well known for, even now during the winter. If you’d rather do something less interactive, Eyes of the Wild’s pontoon boat tours offer incredibly expert guide services focused on the hundreds of birds and other wildlife that inhabit this region. 

The Lap of Luxury
Of course you can enjoy all the man-made beauty of Lake County as well with two limousine services in the area as well as Frontier Wine Tours. One of the places you’ll absolutely want to stop is the brand new Boatique Winery which combines the passions of owners Madi and Robert Mount - beautiful vintage wooden boats and terrific wines. Even if you never try their wines, though they’re terrific, a visit to this winery is a feast for the eyes with an incredible collection of beautiful vintage wooden boats in a setting that overlooks acres of vineyards and natural lands. 

See an Eagle While Making a Birdie
The Moore Family are some of the incredible people of Lake County and you may recognize that name as the one that adorns the family vineyard. They have invested further in this area by opening Black Rock Golf Course which just opened their new restaurant on the property. This 18-hole gem takes golfers along a beautiful set of greens nestled among pine trees and other native species. 

The restaurant on the property has been established by Chef Matthew who has spent the last quarter century in San Francisco and Las Vegas, both great dining areas.  The reports are already in and people are raving about both the golf and the food and, yes, a few people have even spotted an eagle in the trees. 

Closer to the Featherbed Railroad is another new eatery, Fresh & Bangin’, right in nearby Lucerne. Created by head chef John Arslanian and his partner, Scott Price, the incredible food that they’ve been bringing along with a huge selection of the best beers from the North Coast have been a giant hit with our guests. 

In Summary
Many of the people who are eagerly awaiting your visit have been personally affected by the Valley Fire. Servers, winemakers and thousands of other local residents have lost their homes and are vowing to rebuild. We’re a tough lot here in Lake County and the incredible determination and positive outlook that we have has also made the news. 

One of the best ways you can help Lake County rebuild is to come and visit, see the vast majority of the area that is still beautifully intact and untouched by fire, and witness the positive spirit of the people who are focused on rebuilding their homes and communities. 

A Lake County vacation has always been a unique experience but now is something more - you get a great, relaxing and memorable vacation so you’re doing well. But you’ll also be doing good by helping a community rebuild. So, do you have your reservations yet?
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<![CDATA[The Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe]]>Thu, 03 Dec 2015 17:54:08 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/the-best-ever-buttermilk-biscuit-recipeBest buttermilk biscuit
We are really into breakfast for obvious reasons, including the fact that it's in our name.  So we're always on the lookout for the best breakfast recipes there are and we think we've found the best buttermilk biscuit recipe there is. 

The best thing about these biscuits is that they only take three ingredients - that's it. They're crazy simple to make and are incredibly flaky. 

So, here is the recipe. 
1 stick

2 1/2 Cups

​1 Cup
Unsalted butter - frozen (this is important)

Self-rising flour

Cold buttermilk. Alternatively you can use powdered buttermilk as well.
  • Grate the frozen butter with the coarse side of a box grater. 
  • Lightly toss grated butter and flour together. 
  • Put the butter and flour mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes
  • Remove the butter/flour mixture and make a well in the middle - pour in the buttermilk
  • Mix until the dough becomes a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Flatten the dough with a rolling pin - the heat of your hands will melt the butter. 
    • Flatten once, then fold in half and repeat/roll four times to create layers.
    • Ultimately, roll to about half an inch thick
  • Preheat oven to 475
  • Place on a cookie sheet on parchment paper so the biscuits are touching
  • Place in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  • Brush the tops with melted butter. 

Download the Recipe Card Here

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<![CDATA[Fall Colors Abound in Lake County]]>Sun, 25 Oct 2015 14:40:34 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/fall-colors-abound-in-lake-countyFall colors at the beautiful Brassfield Estate winery
Wine country temperatures may cool down in autumn, but the region becomes a hotspot for the myriad colors of its fall foliage. One of wine country’s premier areas for admiring the fall foliage is about 100 miles north of San Francisco on the shores of Clear Lake in the incomparably beautiful Lake County, California. It’s a mountainous region that offers a distinctive terroir for high-altitude wines. We’ve selected a few of Lake County’s best spots for scenic drives to take in the splendid colors of the changing leaves.

Lake County spends its autumn harvesting pears, walnuts and, of course, winegrapes, all against a beautiful backdrop of the color-turning leaves. A Lake County autumn drive offers several fantastic restaurants and terrific places to stay. We’ll leave those decisions to you, but we’ll also recommend some of the best places to take in the majesty of Lake County’s spectacular seasonal scenery

Clear Lake State Park
On the shores of the oldest Lake in North America, the change in seasons is so stunning that it never gets old. Unspoiled Clear Lake State Park is a haven for watersports and fishing, and in the fall becomes a panoramic display of colors from its oak trees’ changing leaves. Clear Lake State Park also offers cabins and overnight camping, and numerous hiking trails that wind through these beautiful woods.
Clearlake Oaks
On the opposite, eastern side of Clear Lake, the little community of Clearlake Oaks displays gorgeous hues of red, yellow and orange on its eponymous oak trees. You’ll also see pastures of golden wildflower fields that bloom in the autumn, offering a special distinctive touch to this beautiful landscape.
Cobb Mountain
Heading up into the high altitudes, Cobb Mountain is situated on the southern end of Lake County and bursts with maple trees and dogwoods colorfully announcing the arrival of autumn. The towns you’ll pass through on a Cobb Mountain drive have names like Whispering Pines and Pine Grove, and their evergreen pines provide a stunning contrast to the shades of burgundy and gold of the trees with changing leaves.
Kelseyville
​Known as the “Pear Capital of the World,” Kelseyville’s celebrated pear trees glow a vibrant yellow once the pears have been harvested. This turns the charming little town of Kelseyville into a beautiful autumn walking tour, as the pear-tree-lined sidewalks of Kelseyville figuratively turn to streets of gold.
The rolling hills and scenic mountains of wine country’s Lake County burst with colors like no others during the fall foliage season. Plan a trip to see the leaves change on the incomparable landscape of Lake County, where every day in autumn makes for a great Sunday drive.

This article comes to us from LakeCounty.com, the County's official visitor guide. There are more articles and much other information on that terrific site. 
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<![CDATA[First Weekend of October Lake County happenings]]>Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:06:53 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/first-weekend-of-october-lake-county-happeningsThis weekend there is another difficult decision in Lake County - what kinds of fun activities to choose to do. The difficulty in the decision doesn’t come from a lack of activities, it comes from there being so many. It seems that the weather is going to be ideal for all the events this weekend, which is another plus.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the Konocti Challenge, a bicycle race of varying lengths that incorporates incredibly fun and unusual stops plus the beautiful scenery that is Lake County. Whether one chooses to ride just a short ride or do the full 100 miles, this is a great event that was named Best Metric Century of 2014 by Cycle California! Magazine. 

Of course there is one of our own favorite events as well, Oktoberfest-Lakeport. With a dachshund derby, tons of great vendors, two bands and free admission this is a blast every year and a reason a number of people come back and stay with us. There will be all sorts of zany contests all day from stein holding to costume contests and much, much more. Oh, and since it’s an Oktoberfest there is a beer garden featuring a wide variety of local microbrews including O’Meara Brothers beer, brewed right here in Lake County. Oktoberfest is from 11am-9pm with the JimiZ band performing from 6-9pm in a street dance. 

Both Konocti Challenge and Oktoberfest-Lakeport happen on Saturday, October 3.

On Sunday, October 5 mark your calendars for the historic Ely Stage Stop’s Jammin’ Fall Marketplace which will feature music, food and local crafts including a fiddler’s jam from noon-2:30. The Ely Stage Stop is a wonderful old piece of Lake County history and their events are a lot of fun. 

As always, we have lots of events posted on our calendar of events in Lake County and there are all the great wineries, trails, breweries and eateries that are here for you to enjoy.

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<![CDATA[You can help Lake County's Valley Fire victims]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 20:18:53 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/lake-county-fire-victim-supportWhat a summer! As we’ve said we’ve been grateful to you for the best summer in our records. But we’ve also really been challenged by all the fires in Lake County and now that challenge is made worse with the Valley Fire. 

If you’re not following the news, the Valley Fire has displaced an estimated 17,000 people and has destroyed over 1300 homes in Lake County, along with a number of businesses. Everybody in Lake County knows someone who has lost their home and or business, and some people have lost both. 

Once again these fires are far from the Featherbed Railroad so we’ve been super fortunate in that sense and, in this case, we’ve been able to give accommodation to some people who might not have a place to go back to when all is said and done. We’re all crossing our fingers for positive outcome when officials let people go back to where their homes are, or were, depending on the situation. 

While June and Paul have been holding down the fort and making people feel at home and comfortable Tony and Peggy have been able to spend time volunteering around the County. 

This county has the most incredible people, as the photographs will show. The line of people donating carloads and truck loads of supplies is incredible. Whole tent cities have sprouted with a complete dining room and kitchen facilities and some of the local restaurateurs have closed their businesses to go cook in shelters. It is overwhelming. And we have a message for one and all. Many people have asked how they can help when they’re not residents of Lake County. 

Frankly, the best thing you can do is plan a getaway here once this is all over with. This is not at all meant to be selfish - there are plenty of beautiful places to stay and while we appreciate your patronage, we also want to share. 

Come eat at restaurants that employ people whose houses are gone. Come golf and taste and buy wine - some of our precious vineyards are gone, too. Shop at stores, have some fun. Bring your smiles and share them with everyone you see. 

Because while many of our friends and neighbors face an incredible uphill battle they also need your support to help them rebuild. The restaurants, shops, stores and wineries are all still here. But many of the people who work there don’t have a place to get their mail and they’re going to want to put in a lot of overtime to help fix that situation. They don’t necessarily want a handout, they want to be able to earn their way back to a normal state of affairs. 

September is a month that’s usually busy in Lake County as is October, but winter is usually really, really slow up here. If you want to help people who really need help, we would love to have you visit our beautiful, natural and slightly charred in some places tourism destination. The servers and business owners and shopkeepers and gift shop owners and winery employees and all the other people who rely on you to help put a roof over their heads now need a new roof over their heads. And the fires were bad, but most of the places you’ll want to visit are as incredible as they ever were. 

You can feel great because you’re going to get a vacation in a place that has incredible natural beauty, warm people who will give even beyond what they have themselves and taste some pretty incredible wine and beer and food. But not only will you be enjoying a close-by getaway in a very affordable destination, but you’ll be helping to buy some new clothes for the kids or a bit of drywall for that house that needs to be built or who knows what. 

In other words, everybody will win. You get something great - a relaxing vacation! - and the people whom you’ve come to see will get something great - a job and progress toward rebuilding what the fires have destroyed. 

So we hope you make some plans in the next few months to enjoy a Lake County getaway. Tell your friends they can help people and enjoy themselves as well. Share this on Facebook and with your neighbors. 

We have every intention of rebuilding what was lost up here and making it even better but we are asking you to be part of that solution. Yes, you. So, do you have your reservations yet?
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<![CDATA[Lake County is back in business - thank you CalFire!]]>Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:07:08 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/lake-county-is-back-in-business-thank-you-calfireAs many of you have heard we had two huge wildfires in Lake County this summer. Like so many other places, we’ve been hit by California’s drought in that much of the land in the area hasn’t seen a decent rain in quite a while, which means it’s perfectly conditioned for fire. Well, we got ‘em - two huge wildfires that found their way into remote, hard-to-reach sections of the county. The size and scope of these fires actually made national news with the Rocky Fire and then Jerusalem fire consuming thousands of acres. 
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When these fires first started becoming larger we got plenty of calls from people canceling their reservations. Well who could blame them? But then we got a call from CalFire asking how many rooms we could spare. 

Fortunately we had the privilege of hosting some of the people working behind the scenes on this fire and it gave us a huge appreciation for what it takes to manage something of this size. 

CalFire literally brings in a city when they have a fire of this magnitude. While we all think about and sincerely appreciate the firefighters working on the front lines of this effort, it’s incredible what kind of resources they have working behind the scenes to make this all happen as well. 

When you think that thousands of people are working for hours and hours a day on these blazes consider what those people need. Food. Shelter. Laundry. Support teams. And there are so many other things an army of this size requires. 

One of the things we found out is that CalFire has access to this semi trailer full of functioning washers and dryers. The fire team can literally drop off their clothes and have them washed for them in this truck. 

There is a kitchen truck too because, as Napoleon was credited with saying, an army travels on its stomach. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are cooked up and ready for the hungry team returning from the fire line. Oh, and Guy Fieri owns a home up here that was spared from the fires and he even stepped in to help with some of the cooking work. 

One of the guests who stayed with us had a very late night shift as he comes in after the crews work on the fire itself and captures GPS and other data and creates maps of the incident so that the crews start in the morning with all the location and other information they need. 

Because of needing maps and other printed documents CalFire literally brings in a huge office complex with computers and printers and other office-related equipment. They were so busy creating documents and information that one of the ladies whom we dealt with had to make a run to Santa Rosa for office supplies because they cleaned out Lake County and Ukiah office supply stores. 

We also have a local fuel company who was running their supply vehicles as quickly as they could to make sure all the firefighting equipment and generators were supplied with fuel. 

Notice that we said a local fuel company. CalFire is very, very good about seeking out smaller, local businesses to support however they could. Of course they spent almost three weeks here at the Featherbed Railroad but they really look to support other small businesses in the community as well. So while the ravaging effects of fire are something none of us want, at least the state does the best job it can in keeping the community afloat economically while it also prevents it from burning to the ground. 

The speed at which CalFire can build this city and respond to these fires is just incredible. The entire team we dealt with were professional, positive and just great. Of course it would have been great not having these fires here in Lake County but we feel fortunate having had these people here with us as our guests and doing one heck of a job to keep our rural paradise from becoming just a memory. 

Another aspect of this that is mind boggling is the absolute armada of aircraft that come in, including a DC-10 jet airliner. The way these planes are coordinated and the precision of this entire operation is incredible. 

The bottom line on all of this is that the things people would like to see and do while visiting Lake County are back to where they were before this all started. Restaurants, golf courses, wineries and all the other great reasons to visit Lake County are fully back in business and ready for you. And while the fire teams did all they could to support these business and did a huge job of saving all of us, there are still quite a few businesses that were severely impacted by people staying away as fire crews don’t have much use for antiques or any business that sells beer or wine. 

So we hope you share our admiration for CalFire and the many, many people who do such a great job to make it a success. But we also have clean air and open roads again in Lake County and hope you come back and visit all the mom and pop shops that are such great places to see. In other words, Lake County, and the Featherbed Railroad, are here and ready for you.

Our absolute heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful individuals who make the CalFire team an incredible and inspiring operation.

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<![CDATA[Fire Updates 4 - That was something else]]>Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:59:13 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/fire-updates-4-that-was-something-elseAs of today the Rocky fire is at 100% containment and the Jerusalem fire is at over 90% contained. These two blazes in remote parts of Lake County accounted for many, many acres of devastation and loss for many individuals. CalFire and the gigantic team of individuals who responded to these blazes really did yeoman's duty on this very remote fire in terrain that was extraordinarily difficult to get to. 

For our guests who are wondering about things around here, we are so happy to report that the outstanding job done by the firefighters means that all the things someone might want to visit are open and ready for business. The wineries, roads, boat rental, restaurants, antique shops and more are anxious to see you. This fire has been hard on many sectors of the local economy with people staying away and all the hotel rooms in the area occupied by those working on the fires. 

CalFire does an outstanding job of spreading the love to as many local businesses as possible but firefighters are focused on putting out destructive wildfires, not on shopping for antiques or renting boats or wine tasting or doing all the other things you might enjoy while you're here.  

So the roads are open, the businesses are ready and we sure hope you choose to be part of helping local businesses keep food on their family's tables by coming up and visiting. We've got some great room deals for you so we sure hope to see you soon. With all the roads open, we are ready for you. ]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Updates 3 - Things Are Looking Up]]>Sat, 08 Aug 2015 01:50:25 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/fire-updates-3-things-are-looking-up
Today things are looking even better and the word is that Highway 20 will be opened today or tomorrow for the full way through, although you should check with CalTrans or CHP if that is part of your journey. We do know that Highway 20 is open from 101 to the intersection with Highway 53 so guests have been arriving through that route. 

Yesterday a fire did flare up within walking distance of the Featherbed Railroad and the sheer armada of aircraft that showed up at almost a moment's notice was incredible and impressive to witness. Literally within about a half an hour the fire was literally squashed by these flying firefighting machines along with our wonderful local Northshore Fire Department team with help from an incredible number of others from all over California. If fire trucks excite you, there was every imaginable shape and size of these on this scene with firefighters jumping into action. Bottom line, the fire got squashed in no time. 

As of right now the air quality isn't our usual outstanding but we're hoping that it, too, clears up. CalFire is estimating that the Rocky Fire will be 100% contained by Monday at some point which is great news. Obviously this is days away and things can change, but the firefighters are making significant progress. 

Something that has really come to our attention here is the sheer volume of people it takes to pull off a fire fighting effort like this. We all recognize the courageous people on the front lines and in the air battling these blazes but we've been fortunate in that CalFire has chosen to house some of their team with us and these people provide infrastructure to the firefighters on the line. Just coordinating all the hotel rooms, food, fuel, trucks, airplanes, people and so much more is a massive task and these people swing into a new area and have all this infrastructure in place in no time flat. 

So our hat is off to CalFire, the US Forest Service and our local firefighters as well as all the people from all over who are part of this effort too in every capacity. This has been truly educational and inspirational and, while we hope we only see these people again when they're on vacation, it's incredibly comforting to know that they're there to do a superb job when it's "go" time. 
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