Looking for a little magical scenery? Wanting to pretend for a spell that you can handle not checking your email every hour? Hear the words organic vegetables and think of Whole Foods and their misty sprays? You need to get out of the city for a while.
Emandal Farm is a gem for those who live in the Bay Area. It's convenient for overnighting (about three and a half hours, it's located up by Willits) and lets you forget briefly that we live in DigiCentral where having a beeper, a modem, a fax machine, and a cell phone doesn't mean you're a player but does mean you probably shop at Fry's.
Since 1908 there have been guests going up to Emandal Farm. The farm is now run by Tam and Clive Adams and their four children. Throughout the spring towards the end of autumn, Tam and Clive invite guests up to the farm to stay in one of the nineteen cabins to soak in the rays, relax by the Eel River, read on the porch, poke around the gardens to pick up some tips from the on-site experts, and, generally escape from one's normal day-to-day crazy schedule. During much of July and August, the escapes are for week long periods. During the fall, they offer weekend retreats. We're talking civilized camping here; there's no need to bring a sleeping bag nor to worry about food. Each of the cabins is outfitted with cosy down comforters (though you will have to paddle out of bed to one of the bathrooms in the camp area in the middle of the night). And right next to your cabin is a hammock under the redwoods where you can just while away the time reading, or snoring. There are no planned activities in case you don't feel like being sociable. That said, there is definitely a sense of friendly community; you're bound to meet some interesting folks during your stay.
Emandal is right on the banks of the Eel River. Sitting on the porch off the main dining room, you can look up to Sanhedrin Mountain which is probably about eight miles away. By mid June the hills turn a shiny gold colour (be careful wearing Tevas! You'll cut your feet.) and as summer progresses, a fiercely dry wind sweeps through the valley. So while it's often hot-HOT in August there isn't an ounce of humidty. For those who come from the East Coast, this is a welcome break! Your swimsuit will be dry in two minutes. Most memorable, Emandal smells good. The whiff of redwood trees is heavy in the air; the sort of whiff that if you push your tongue up onto the roof of your mouth, you can almost taste it.
Getting to Emandal is an easy drive from San Francisco up 101North. But do be warned that the last half hour or so it up a quasi-dirt road from Willits though recently they've paved long stretches of it. (There are numerous motels in both Willits and Ukiah to the south). Emandal is also about an hour and a half east of Mendocino.
For those of you who have kiddies, during much of June and July, the Adams family hosts a kids camp where young folks get to hang out with their own age groups in a wholesome environment. Girls aren't allowed to wear makeup, cliques are strongly discouraged, creativity is keen; Tam and Clive really strive to strip down all the excesses.
Family Camp this summer runs from July 29-September 6
Then there are numerous weekends throughout the fall that are open for booking a cabin.
Take a look at their website located at http://www.emandal.com for further information.
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