Have you ever wondered what ever happened to the great railroads that connected United States at the height of the Industrial Revolution? Well over the last weekend, I found a cool little spot about an hour north of Napa where there were 9 original cabooses/train cars that have been reconverted to modern day lodging. This super cool hidden gem was in Nice, CA, a few miles from Upper Lake, CA on Clearlake.
We booked our stay for the Orient Express.All of the trains and cabooses on this property are original and were once used to transport people and/or goods across this great United States.
I originally found this place looking for a unique bed and breakfast in or near Napa, CA because I wanted to check out the legendary wine train. Unfortunately, I did not get to ride the infamous wine train this time, but I will be back. Instead we chose to stay a couple of nights inside of an actual train. The Featherbed Railroad was very unique with 9 themed rooms including; Casablanca, Easy Rider (Harley Davidson), La Loose Caboose (New Orleans Mardi Gras)- also haunted, Wild Wild West, Wine Country, and several other themed room. We stayed inside of the Orient Express (based on the movie) which had an upstairs sitting area called a cupola and a hot tub located in the middle of the caboose. (http://www.featherbedrailroad.com/)
The Orient Express comes with a hot tub located in the center of the room. It was so relaxing to go for a nice soak after a long day of hiking.
We met the owners of the property who were super nice and friendly as well as their dog Jake, who hangs out around the dining area. During the weekend we went (Veterans Day Weekends) there was a big group staying there so it was extra festive for us to have a full house. They were a big group of motorcycle riders (hope that is not an offensive description) based out of northern California and are owners,writers, editors of Thunder Roads Norcal Magazine- definitely a fun crowd.
The Featherbed Inn made us feel right at home. We were located directly across the street from Clearlake and woke up to beautiful lake views everyday and woke up to a delicious homemade meal often accompanied by the cutest boxer, Jake!
There isn’t too much to do in “Lake County” except live the “Lake Life”, which is too cold to do in November. Instead we chose to check out Mt. Konocti and go for a scenic hike to Wright’s Peak. The total hike was 6 miles roundtrip and a total of about 1,600 ft. elevation gain. Even though it is only 3 miles it definitely is not a flat 3 miles, there is a good portion of it that is pretty steep as it ascends.
Most of the trail is on the Cal Fire access road so it is pretty wide yet shaded. There are two viewpoints at the top- Wright’s Peak and Buckingham Peak. Wright’s Peak is a little higher up but part of the view that overlooks Clearlake is partially obstructed by Buckingham Peak. So if you want a good view of Clearlake, then you should check out Buckingham Peak instead. Explore NorCal offered great directions and descriptions → (http://www.exploringnorcal.com/2013/03/mt-konocti-lake-county-park_7.html)
View from the top of Mt. Konocti. You can see Clearlake and the surrounding area.
The trail is very well marked, and offer several cool stops along the way including an old cabin that was constructed in 1903 as well as airplane debris from a 1970 crash.
This cabin was constructed in 1903 for Mary Downen. She lived here alone because she loved the scenic views and mountain living.
As you ascend towards Wright’s Peak you will come upon a tragic 1970 airplane crash.
Things To Do
Hiking at Mt. Konocti/ Natural Hot Springs
This entire area is surrounded by volcanic mountains and natural hot springs so if you are looking for outdoor activities there is an abundance of it.
Another great activity that you can enjoy if you make your way out to Lake County is a variety of train tours nearby. Napa Valley Wine Train offers beautiful views of Napa Valley as you dine on fine wine and a delicious meal (http://winetrain.com/). There is also the Skunk Train which departs out of Fort Bragg and provides a more historical tour of the northern California area (https://www.skunktrain.com/)
Not too much unique food items to be found here. Many restaurants offer typical American cuisines as well as BBQ-type items. We went to a local brewery since it seemed like a decent sized restaurant and might have some cool knick-knacks. They had their own microbrewery so you were able to purchase up to a gallon of beer. The best find (and only reason I’m even mentioning it) is their signature dessert- FRIED PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY. They turned an American lunchtime classic and made it even more delicious! So if you are in Lake County and are into fried desserts, check out O’Meara Bros. Brewing Company (http://www.omearabros.com/)
Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly- no further description required…