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
This 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.
What 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.
As 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.
As 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.
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.
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.
As 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.
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.
If 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 blog about happenings in Lake County.