Our trip to Lake County and Mendocino National forest was truly a perfect, remote experience in the woods in a charming forest chalet. Amazing views, pristine forest, complete silence, no electricity, cooking on fire and rustic atmosphere - all this made our 3 days stay into a dreamy, relaxed and beautiful time.
All this experience wouldn't be possible without our wonderful accommodation - Precious Forest chalet on airbnb.com. It's a beautiful property in the mountains with multiple accommodation options - log chalet, smaller cabin, A-frame cabin, tents. The prices are more than affordable for the value you're getting - our 2 floor log chalet with fully equipped kitchen, smoke stove & firepit, amazing bedroom and bathtub cost us $50/night!
The chalet itself is really beautiful, all built by the owner and his friends from the local wood. The interior is full of vintage, rustic details such as lanterns, furniture, chandeliers, cookware and the main highlight - beautiful vintage stove! Anything you cook on this stove and in the smoke stove outside tastes simply incomparable to a modern gas oven.
We made omelette, smoked/slow cooked pork loin, smoked asparagus, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, beets, and homemade pizzas for Oleg's birthday.
Waking up in a bedroom with 3 walls being windows and with views over the forest and Clear Lake was something unbelievable, and bedroom terrace is just to die for.
The house is actually very advanced - there is a fireplace for keeping you warm at night, good sewage system, hot water system, spring water coming in, satellite for internet, power generator for the night, even though we didnt use it trying to keep the surroundings very quiet - and honestly, you dont really need it - candles, fireplace, fire stove - its enough for your light at night. So if you want to have a house in the wild - these guys can teach you a lot. Also, if you want to have a house where there is enough sunlight - on the way to Clear Lake near Ukiah town there is a village Hopland where they have a really cool center for green living where you can buy and get educated about solar power, waste management, water management, etc.
Our host Ken was very friendly, but not controlling at all - he just welcomed us, explained us how everything works and left us for 2 days with his friend Dan, really nice guy with a lot of stories, who stayed down the forest road and his dog, Dipee DooDoo - a really cool woods dog who guarded us at night against bears.
What else Clear Lake and the forests offer: in summer - swimming & water activities in many of the larger and smaller lakes around (that's why it's Lake County), anytime - climbing numerous mountain peaks around the lake, hiking, visiting many highland wineries & wine tasting, taking scenic drives through the mountains and going to hot springs. We went to Pinnacle Rock peak, took an amazingly scenic remote drive from Clear Lake Oaks to Bartlett springs road via High Valley road, and stopped by Brassfield winery to taste some volcanic soil wines.
Clear Lake from the mountain
Clear Lake is also where you can get to experience a very particular American culture - maintained by hillbillies, rednecks and hicks with their funny ways and language. We actually thought that people here are really nice even if they are so different from what we're used to in San Francisco and Bay Area - most of them simple, helpful, sincere.
We absolutely loved this experience and the beauty of the nature here. If you need a nice affordable retreat in a rustic vintage atmosphere, brains switch off, experiencing nature in its very pristine way - this place is highly recommended! All you need is willing to get in touch with the nature & willingness to give up some civilization benefits in order to experience this forest living, grillable & cooked over fire food, ice chest and some good wine to enjoy at the sunset and by the fire.