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Seven Sycamores Ranch offers farm stay

Seven Sycamores Ranch offers farm stay

The drive up and down California’s San Joaquin Valley can be tedious, but consider a stop along the way in Visalia. Seven Sycamores Ranch is offering a kind of bed-and-breakfast experience on a real farm.

Agri-tourism is what they call it – the blending of tourism with California’s vast farmlands and orchards to offer city folk an up-close view of how an orange, for example, gets from the tree to your dining room table. With its location just outside of Visalia, Seven Sycamores is in a good location to break up that long drive between the cities of Northern and Southern California.

Bob McKellar is the host of Seven Sycamores and something of a visionary in the realm of agri-tourism. A few years back when he was just 75 years old, McKellar decided it was time to find ways to market some of his orange crop outside the usual packing shed channels that tend to eat up a grower’s profits. He joined a national organization and found that, in some places, farmers had started “CSA’s” – community supported agriculture programs – that cut out some middlemen and brought fruit straight to the consumer. Today, McKellar sells a sizable portion of his crop by packaging hundreds of fruit baskets delivered regularly to local customers.

Then McKellar got to thinking about the growers in other parts of the country who were hosting weddings on their property and, in his first year, booked 30 weddings on his picturesque grounds.

The piece de resistance is that McKellar now offers visitors overnight stays in an authentic farmhouse – a kind of bed and breakfast experience except that McKellar lives down the road and not in the house, and the breakfast comes in the form of fresh groceries that guests cook up themselves. If the three-bedroom farmhouse is too big, guests can opt for an economy-sized bunkhouse nearby. Both come complete with hens and baby chicks wandering the grounds, as well as roosters who offer guests wake-up calls for no extra charge.

McKellar’s mother lived in the house for many decades until 2002 when she passed away. There are family photos still in the house, which makes it feel like a home, not a vacation rental. One guest used the guestbook to complain about all the family photos, but McKellar has no intention of taking the photos down. We thought they simply added to the charm of our stay.

The accommodations are comfortable, even for a large family. A big living room and old-fashioned porch area provide comfortable spots to unwind, while the kitchen has everything you need to cook up your own farm-style meals. As part of your stay, the Seven Sycamores will ask you what you like for breakfast and then have your refrigerator stocked upon your arrival.

McKellar family history is everywhere you look on the grounds. One example would be the observation tower – a replica of the real thing that was used to watch for Japanese bombers if they attempted to …

Avila Offers Quiet Ca Beach Escape

Avila Offers Quiet Ca Beach Escape

If you’re looking or that quiet getaway on the Central California coast, consider Avila Beach, an idyllic little stretch of sand with comfortable accommodations nearby. Not that children would be unwelcome – Avila is a playground for all ages. But the new Avila Village Inn has now brought this destination up a notch or two for those seeking a special romantic beach getaway. The inn has pulled out all the stops to attract couples who want to pamper themselves as much as enjoy the natural beauties of the Central California coastline. About seven miles north of Pismo Beach the sign directs Highway 101 travelers to Avila Beach by way of a winding road that follows San Luis Creek down into a wooded ravine. About a mile before you get to the beach is Avila Village, a new development with condos, a few shops and, adjacent to the creek, the Avila Village Inn. While not actually on the beach, the inn’s wooded setting gives the property a quiet, reclusive feel. The developers of the hotel use the word “refined” to describe the many details and amenities that have been built into the 30 guest rooms. And our impression was that, indeed, this is one of those inns where you enjoy tasting the luxurious accommodations as much as experiencing the beach and other natural surroundings. This property has incorporated many of the design features now seen in newer upscale homes. Wet bars, granite countertops and fireplaces are in each room, while marble is used extensively throughout the shower and bathroom area. The pillow-top king beds both look and feel comfortable with down pillows, blankets and duvets. We especially enjoyed the 103-degree private spa waiting for us on our creekside balcony. If you’re so inclined, each room or suite has its own DVD player and guests are encouraged to check out free DVDs from the front desk. Those who are a little more active will welcome the fitness center that is just across the parking lot from the inn – perfect for working off those snacks, pastries and treats that are provided guests in both a welcoming basket and a breakfast basket the next day. Other details like tasteful art, mission-style furniture and a grand, sweeping staircase in the lobby area all add up to a sense of privilege – which, of course, is what it’s all about when you spend significant money to enjoy quality time with your loved one. A couple of minutes down the road from the inn is Avila Beach, a half-mile long beach area that is growing in popularity because of its more exclusive, almost Mediterranean feel. A few older hotels are situated near the beach, adjacent to some shops that are sprinkled throughout the tiny “downtown” area. There is evidence of new construction that we hear was made necessary from some oil leaks in the area; but the beach itself and the businesses along the beach seem unaffected. Avila Beach has three piers, including two that are …

Vacations For Single Person – Great Offers Interesting Deals

Vacations For Single Person – Great Offers Interesting Deals

As many of us are aware, man is a social being. He cannot exist in a social vacuum and by his very nature has to interact with others to make his existence worthwhile. This is the reason why we have family, friends, and acquaintances. And this is the reason for the increasing popularity of various social networking sites. However, not all of us are blessed with a close-knit family or very true friends. Quite a few amongst us could be starting out in life, and would be on the lookout for new friends with interesting personalities. In such a scenario, going on vacations is turning out to be the single most interesting activity through which single people are getting to know others from diverse parts of the world. Single people are becoming more adventurous and consequently, vacations for single person is turning out to be quite the in thing as of now.

Apart from making friends, there are certain other activities they such travellers can indulge in. They could, for instance, make the most of beauty treatments such as facials, manicures, and pedicures, and discover new facets of their hitherto unknown personalities. They could become smarter and better looking for instance. They can visit the on-location spas and rejuvenate themselves through the massages and other treatments. They also have the option of engaging in social activities such as drinking and getting to know other like-minded people. Single people thus have quite a few options before them while they are on a solo vacation.

However, making the most of all these activities is one thing and the practical considerations of costs of travel is quite another. The vacations for single person need to be formulated keeping this factor in mind. In this context, it can be said that a lot of very interesting packages are currently available on-line. An interested person can browse through these deals and select one that caters to his specific needs and requirements. Hotel reservations and the costs of air travel are taken care of as part of some very economical packages and interesting offers. Other packages could include reservations at well-known hotels, wherein people can make the most of free breakfast and also some forms of entertainment.

And the best part is that single people can now make the most of some very interesting deals and offers and plan their sabbatical accordingly. On their solo travel, they could now visit romantic destinations such as Jamaica, for instance, and get to undertake a lot of activities that they had not hitherto tried their hands on before. They could engage in adventurous activities such as windsurfing, water skiing, snorkeling, or scuba diving. With great offers, interesting deals, and fun-filled activities, vacations for single person are getting better with each passing day.…