This past weekend we discovered a truly amazing place at the end of 16 miles of back country roads east of Willits, CA. Our reason for going was to attend the performances of cowboy poet Susan Parker and singer/songwriter Dave Stamey at a place called Emandal Farm. The drive was only a few hours from home so there was no question we had to go and spend the night.
What we didn't know is what we would discover once we got there. Emandal is a 1,000 acre jewel nestled in a valley alongside the Eel River. It is a diversified farm, environmental education center and a family camp that has been in operation since 1908. Over the years three families have overseen the stewardship of this remarkable place. Carrying on the tradition since the 1970's is a delightful and amazing woman by the name of Tam.
Our rustic cabin was a short hike up through the woods from the main house with comfy beds and down comforters to keep us from the chill of fall. The bathroom and shower buildings are a little further up the hill so a flashlight is a required accessory.
The food was incredible; all prepared from scratch from the bounty grown and raised on the farm. After a sumptuous dinner on the lawn we sauntered up to the barn for the concert. Preferred seating was hay bales, with blankets provided for an extra layer if it got too cold. After the performance a few of us gathered at the great room to warm up by the fire before retiring for the night. We hiked back down the hill for breakfast about 9:30, visited with other guests, and departed for home mid day. Though only gone overnight it seemed as though we had been away for days. Imagine spending a week at Emandal!
To find out more about Emandal go to http://www.emandal.com/
Susan Parker: http://www.susanparkerpoet.com/ She brings to life the struggles and triumphs of pioneer and ranch women of the old west, mixing her original writings those of the women she has studied.
Dave Stamey http://www.davestamey.com/ Dave is a cowboy, and a gifted singer/songwriter who captures the essence of the old west and takes you along for the ride.
Also check out http://www.cowboypoetry.com/ a website "dedicated to preserving and celebrating the arts and life of rural communities and the real working west"
Life is short, there are journeys to take and roads to be travelled. Make some time in your life for an adventure.