<![CDATA[Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort - Blog]]>Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:34:57 -0800EditMySite<![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.
​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. 
<![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.

<![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?
<![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. 
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.

<![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. 
<![CDATA[Fire Updates 2]]>Fri, 07 Aug 2015 06:08:55 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/fire-updates-2Picture
First and foremost, we've had the most incredible outpouring of support and concern. For the Featherbed Railroad, we are pretty far from the fires and there is no discernible threat to this place or any of the neighborhood that we're in. Of course we have friends and neighbors who have been horribly affected by all of this and we are working to do what we can to help them.

For good reason, many of the people who included us in their vacation plans within the next few weeks have canceled those reservations and we can't blame them. At the same time, we've been fortunate in that CalFire has taken over almost the whole resort so we're actually pretty full and we are full of the great men and women who are working on putting out this huge blaze as well as their support team. 

At present we are planning to reopen for normal operation on Friday, August 14, although this is predicated on how things with this wildfire go, naturally. We will keep updating this blog as things progress. 

The latest news on this is that the fire teams hope to have the fire 100 under control by Monday, August 10. 

There is a local campaign where people are putting up red balloons to salute the people working on this fire and we've joined that. So let's hope the balloons come down soon, the fire team gets to go home and no more of our friends and neighbors lose the things that are precious to them. 

<![CDATA[Fire Updates]]>Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:51:31 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/fire-updatesAs you may have heard there are some significant fires in and around Lake County such that, as of this writing, Highways 20 and 16 are closed to through traffic. 

We understand that part of the appeal of a journey to see us is the cleanest air in California and also how easy it is to get to us from Sacramento, Chico and points beyond. Since both of these are not true at the moment, we are willing to allow cancellations including same-day cancellations with zero consequence. If you need to cancel we totally understand and it's no problem and we're not going to charge you. 

Unfortunately we can only do this if you made your reservations directly through us. If you used a third party like AirBnB, BedAndBreakfast.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor.com or anyone other than us we aren't able to alter the cancellation policy simply because it's outside of our control. This is just another reason that booking directly through our website or over the phone is always your best bet. 

Below is a map of the fires here in Lake County which is updated constantly.  More than anything we hope that all the first responders working this situation come home safely to their families and that our neighbors who are in the affected areas have a home to return to. We know of a few friends for whom that will not be a reality so we're crossing our fingers that there aren't any others. 

Thank you for sharing your vacation memories with us and this policy will be in effect until further notice. 
<![CDATA[Getting the answers right - Lake County Tourism Ambassadors]]>Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:36:57 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/getting-the-answers-right-lake-county-tourism-ambassadorsPicture
If you’ve ever visited a destination and asked someone a simple question about the area and gotten a blank look as your response, you have experienced a problem that many destinations have. Including Lake County. But Lake County now has a solution - the Lake County Certified Tourism Ambassador’s (CTA) Program

The CTA program is part of a national organization that offers certification as a Certified Tourism Ambassador. Having a tourism destination included in this organization is a lengthy and very, very involved process. 

Tony has been involved in the process from about its middle and was a bit of a skeptic at first, but Lake County Chamber CEO Melissa Fulton has been all-in since she learned of the program. She was right. Melissa is usually right. 

“I feel that this program can make all the difference in the world on how our residents view where they live and how they talk about it,” said Melissa. She’s been the program’s leading cheerleader/advocate since she first heard of the program some three years ago. 

This program is so significant that the County itself has funded some 200 people to go through it. We're very fortunate to have a County that really gets the "big picture." And there are other places in the US that have adopted this program as well including Anaheim, CA; Houston and San Antonion, TX and many, many others. 

Essentially the program starts with interviews of area experts on what makes the area special. Hours and hours and hours of interviews with all sorts of people in the area, from farmers to winemakers to historians to government folk and more. Essentially, the vision is to create a single document that has just about everything about the area that someone would care to know. And we have that now. 

The collection of all these points of knowledge have been distilled into one very, very thick binder that has an incredible wealth of information about Lake County from our rich Native American history to a listing of places to eat today. There are historic facts about our museum buildings and the history that they contain. 

“Visitors will have more positive experiences and they will speak with people who are more aware of all the things we have to offer,” continued Melissa Fulton. 

The cost of this program is high, but the cost of having you visit Lake County and not get your questions answered correctly is even higher. 

As with any community, there are lots of people who could be considered area experts and those who are not as well informed as they should be about the area. However, some of those folks are also spreading misinformation to visitors that is harmful, such as telling people that the Lake is dangerous (it’s not). 

The idea is that all the “front line” people you encounter eventually go through the certification process so that they can intelligently answer your question with enthusiasm and honesty. These are people like servers in restaurants, clerks at the grocery store and others whom you are likely to encounter while you’re visiting. 

This means that that many tens of thousands of dollars that Lake County is investing in these people will make your stay here better. After all, wouldn’t it be great if you asked anybody what to have for dinner or which wineries have gold-medal-winning wines or where the closest public restroom was and actually got an enthusiastic and correct answer?

After sitting in on the planning session for this Tony was in the first official training session and was able to pass the test with flying colors to become among Lake County’s first official Certified Tourism Ambassadors. 

This is actually a legal title/certification but the cool thing is the star logo pin that he can wear at any time that shows off his status as an ambassador. 

“Honestly this is my favorite part of working at the Featherbed Railroad,” he said, “I love helping guests plan their getaways to match or even exceed their expectations for a great getaway in Lake County!” 

The entire Featherbed Railroad team is going to go through the program within the next month so everybody can help you plan your getaway here.

Now, Tony is certified to answer your questions. In the past, most thought he was just certifiable. But what would you expect from a man with a front yard full of cabooses? 

So - do you have your reservations yet?

<![CDATA[Special Events are very special at the Featherbed Railroad]]>Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:42:44 GMThttp://www.featherbedrailroad.com/blog/special-events-are-very-special-at-the-featherbed-railroadIf you enjoy studying trends and habits of people then you’ll know that brides, in particular, are choosing remote locations for destination elopements. While destination honeymoons have long been popular, destination weddings with a few close friends are now equally in vogue. For those looking for a very special place for their very special events, the Featherbed Railroad may be just the ticket. 

One a very busy weekend recently we had three very special and different celebrations that demonstrate just how different this incredible place can be, depending on the type of event that you’re looking to host. 

A Beautiful Wedding Celebration

For 2015 we changed our wedding packages so that we could offer Tony’s decades of experience from start to finish for a wedding celebration. Our new packages offer either a ceremony only, or a complete wedding and reception experience. 

In this case Justine and Nick met Tony at a bridal show and were the first to take advantage of these new packages, choosing to have both ceremony and reception at the Featherbed Railroad. In the months before the very special day Tony and Justine collaborated on all sorts of things, from table linen colors to specific songs for specific parts of the celebration. 
“You’re my wedding fairy!” said Justine. 
“Can I be a wedding magician instead?,” responded Tony. 
Well, this was a Disney-themed wedding and all the staff had on Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears. But we can’t imagine a fairy the size of Tony flittering around, except in some horrible nightmare. 

Among the things the that were provided at Justine and Nick’s celebration was the bartender, tables, linens, DJ (SoundsLikeFUNDJ), day-of coordination and more. Our caterer was a favorite of ours, Lindy’s Quality Catering. Photo and video were provided for by Justine & Nick and she chose well. 

For a wedding, we’re very happy to be here for you and also point you in the direction of some of the best wedding professionals we’ve had the privilege of working with. There are some great professionals in the special event business in Lake County with a variety of pricing and service delivery to match almost any taste and budget.

County Visitors

Locally-grown foods prepared by high school studentsCounty visitors get treated to locally-grown foods prepared by local high school students
Two days before Nick & Justine got married here, the County of Lake brought some 60 Administrative Assistants to the Featherbed Railroad for a picnic lunch. These were people from all over California’s counties and were visiting Northern California for a few days of business meetings to compare notes. One of those days they got to have lunch with us in our picnic area. 

Our picnic grounds could easily accommodate the 60 administrative professionals. There is even power so that Scott DeLeon could deliver a presentation about Clear Lake. 

Catering was handled by the local high school which is teaching a group of students to take advantage of the incredible agricultural resources that we have in Lake County to prepare fresh, locally-sourced meals for the students and, on occasion, for catering customers. 

It so happened that they were so busy on this day that they had to rush from one job to the next, but the students left an incredible selection of choices that were in farmer’s fields just a day or two before. Heck, if this food were any fresher our guests would be out in the fields picking it themselves. 

Our picnic grounds are a great place for bike and car club gatherings, small company events and, of course, family reunions. 

A grand finalé

You would think that a weekend that already had two big events would be capped off by some hammock time, but not this weekend. Our Sunday was graced by Strong Financial’s annual celebration where some 250 customers of Jennifer Strong’s great financial advice gathered to celebrate another successful year. 

Jennifer and her team do a great job of managing a lot of people’s hard-earned money. They’re also terrific members of the community and so this is a gigantic fan fest but one that the team makes sure is an absolute blast. 
This event, managed by Lake Event Design, was absolutely beautifully run from start to finish. There were tables for about 250 guests on the lawn, a shooting gallery by TropiCaboose, a casino in the shadows of the Main Station along with the Lake County Diamonds playing their covers of great songs from the front porch. 
The team at Strong Financial created a very special sarsaparilla drink that guests really enjoyed and there was some incredible barbecue prepared by Lake Event Design as well. 

Whether you’re hoping for a simple celebration of your love together, a big outdoor blast to celebrate a great year or a small meeting or corporate event our experience in the special events business means we’re a thrilled and willing partner for you. We hope, the next time you plan a very special celebration, you think of us.