Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort

2870 Lakeshore Blvd. Po Box 4016, Nice, California 95464
  • Welcome to Featherbed Railroad Bed &; Breakfast Resort

    Welcome to Featherbed Railroad Bed &; Breakfast Resort

  • A huge natural lake & rural surroundings

    A huge natural lake & rural surroundings

  • Orient Express

    Orient Express

  • La Loose Caboose

    La Loose Caboose

 

Upper Lake Mercantile - artistic shopping fun 18 Jan 2015, 8:00 am

Having lived in Lake County now for six years we are beginning to see a renaissance of activity coming to the area with new businesses opening. One of those is the Upper Lake Mercantile, a unique store that celebrates local style in the quaint town of Upper Lake, just a few minutes from the Featherbed Railroad. 

Upper Lake Mercantile offers a variety of items that focus on locally-sourced and locally-made items and showcases the talents of some of our incredible local artists. By their own description Upper Lake Mercantile offers an ever-changing variety of interesting and useful things and, when I stopped by, this was absolutely the case. There was everything from jewelry to jams and things for home or person and even locally-made musical instruments! Pretty nifty for browsing and shopping, actually.

Upper Lake Mercantile proprietress Susan Saunders stands by some incredible locally-made instruments.
The proprietress is Susan Saunders who had a store across from where the Upper Lake Mercantile is now. As she was looking to expand she crossed paths with Lynne and Bernie Butcher who already own two signature businesses in Upper Lake and a team was formed to create something new. 

Taking over the old bank building, the nice size of this space allowed Susan to offer more of what she and her customers loved. Susan is a talented artist in her own right and her association with others of her ilk leads to some really cool stuff in the store. 

For example, I noticed the locally-made guitars which were really incredible and had a really unique style to them. They sounded great, too, and are made right on Cobb mountain, a local artists community. 

There was also quite a selection of jams which were very tempting but the locally-sourced honey was what ended up finding its way home with me. I’ve read that a sure way to eliminate allergies to is eat a teaspoon of locally-sourced honey every day. Whether this is true or not, I get to eat a teaspoon of honey a day and there is no bad in that. Now I’ve got a good, reliable source. 

The artsy items in the store really reflect Susan’s talent at both her own craft and that of the people she associates with. We are truly fortunate in Lake County that the life here is affordable enough that we have some people who can focus on their incredible talent rather than having to worry about making payments on a million dollar telephone booth-sized house. 

Upper Lake Mercantile is the latest store in this quaint town that harkens back to the wild west days when Western settlers found their way into Lake County. With quaint covered sidewalks and beautiful vintage-style street lamps this is definitely a place to stop on your next vacation here. 

Upper Lake certainly has its share of closed storefronts but the ones that are open are a wonderful celebration of local style. There are other shops along the streets including antique stores, a gift items store and more. Of course there is also Lake County Wine Studio where boutique wineries have their hey day and no trip to Upper Lake would be complete without a visit to the Blue Wing Saloon, a terrific eatery in a beautiful setting in the shadow of the immaculate and historic Tallman Hotel. 

Upper Lake History

Upper Lake started, as many western towns did, out of necessity. When mineral springs were discovered in the area above Upper Lake and the word got out, people flocked to the rejuvenative waters that were even prescribed by doctors in the 1800s. A trip to Bartlett Springs from San Francisco took several days by stage coach and your final stop, before reaching the resorts with the mineral springs, was Upper Lake. 
Your night in the town would likely be spent at the Tallman hotel with a meal at the Blue Wing Saloon. The first business in town was a blacksmith in the 1850s but it didn’t take long for other services to pop up. 

The bank building the Mercantile is located in was built in 1921 and served a prosperous farming community. Walnuts and pears were extensively grown in the area as they are today (we get our red walnuts from Upper Lake). The bank was instrumental in helping to finance the town after much of it burned down in 1924. The Bank of Upper Lake was also the first in California to have a female president when J.A. Youngreen’s daughter, Marion Bucknell, took over her family business in 1942. 


Today Upper Lake is coming back as are many towns after adjusting to newer ways of doing business and different sorts of shops that can stay afloat in this era of shopping for necessities on line. Upper Lake Mercantile is just the kind of place that celebrates local art, culture and style and its location in a historic bank building with covered sidewalks out front and a friendly shopkeeper inside make it one of the many reasons you should plan a getaway to Lake County soon. 

A vintage wedding like no other... 10 Jan 2015, 8:00 am

Recently the County challenged a number of Lake County wedding professionals to come up with a unique vision for a wedding. Our challenge was to come up with some ideas for a vintage wedding - and boy did we do so. So, if you would follow us back in time, we'd love to take you on a journey through a very special wedding day that will happen in the past - during the time of Prohibition...
Nestled in a meadow under the shadow of old-growth oak and redwood trees is a secret speakeasy comprised of retired railroad cabooses that only a few special people know about. It is the destination for people who want to enjoy some incredible hooch, but has also been known for some unique entertainment and is a great place for weddings, if you know the right people. 

Word is there's going to be a wedding at the Speakeasy today and some of the most important people have arrived by the latest in horseless carriages with the latest 1928 models in a parade of beautiful paint. 

As people grab seats facing out at Clear Lake, a beautiful Chris Craft appears on the horizon speeding toward the shore. Sure enough, there are a bride and groom aboard the fast-moving wooden boat and it pulls right up to the pier at the Featherbed Railroad and the couple bounds out and toward the waiting guests. There will be a wedding today for sure!

After a beautiful ceremony music fills the air from some Thomas Edison's great Victrolas and there are a number of them around the property. It's almost as if there is magic in the air as they're all playing the same songs which are the latest from the hit parade. 

Suddenly it becomes apparent that a number of food purveyors have descended with a variety of treats that represent milestones in the wedding couple's lives - treats from their trip to the south, crepes from Paris, sausages from Germany and more. Everywhere you turn there is something different to enjoy and having food all over the property encourages exploring and mingling. What an adventure!

Word is that there is also some alcohol to be had and the secret knock on the door of the "hidden caboose" in the back grants you entrance to the speakeasy! They're serving some secret wines grown right near by as well as underground beers and even absinth. With drink in hand it's time to return to the festivities. 

Back outside you notice that chandeliers have been suspended from the trees and are beginning to cast their glow on the grounds. Several magicians have been retained and are performing feats of magic right in front of everybody, mesmerizing 2-20 people at a time. As night time descends people begin chatting about seeing a moving picture right here at the Speakeasy!

Sure enough, a giant screen is stretched across the front of the house and flickers to life. How did the Speakeasy get a copy of a movie that's still in theater houses - Buster Keaton's The General sure is appropriate in a place surrounded by cabooses and there's word it may win an award by a new organization, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

With your most favorite people in attendance and so many wonderful activities throughout the afternoon and evening, a glorious variety of food that represent's the bride and groom's travels and some incredible wine secretly grown right near by this was a treasured day of amazing and mesmerizing happenings. And truly an unforgettable experience.

This kind of magic is certainly possible - your Featherbed Railroad team would be happy to help you turn your vision of a very unique destination celebration into a reality to impress and amaze your friends and family. Contact us today and share your vision with us. 

The dangerous Danish dessert...aebelskiver 3 Jan 2015, 8:00 am

There are some things we make that we just can't get enough of and Aebelskiver are one of those things. These Danish treats are, basically, fried dough balls and you can make them either sweet or savory and even fill them with jelly, Nutella, or just about anything you want. They also can be just eaten plain or with powdered sugar on top.
One of our wonderful guests shared this recipe with us and we're happy to pass it along as well. We've also heard of them being made with simple pancake batter as well, but those may not be as light and fluffy. 

The only specialty item that you'll need is an Aebelskiver pan which has the little wells in it to make these. We also deviate from the original recipe by substituting salted butter but not adding salt to the recipe. Personally, we really like the salty exterior. 

We've also figured out how to video our stove or kitchen from above so we're sure you're going to see many more cooking videos in the future. Enjoy!

Aebelskiver Recipe

1 Cup - Buttermilk (We like Bob's Red Mill buttermilk powder). 
2 Eggs - Separated. Pampered Chef has the most terrific egg separator. 
1 Cup - Flour
1 tsp - Sugar
1 tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
The original recipe calls for 1/3 tsp - salt. 
  • Separate eggs and beat the yolks
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolks
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they're "peaky" 
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the mixture - refrigerate for an hour
  • When you're about ready to start heat your Aebelskiver pan until it's good and hot. Once it is put a small bit of butter in each well. 
  • We use the Pampered Chef scoop, which holds about 2Tbsp, to put the batter into the pan. 
  • Use the Pampered Chef poker to flip the Aebelskiver about 1/2 way. Continue flipping them until they're done on the outside and in. 

Places to celebrate the new year's eve in Lake County 28 Dec 2014, 7:21 am

So, it’s the celebration of the new year and you wanna go out and do something fun here in Lake County? Fortunately there are a lot of different choices of activities available and even different times that you can celebrate the coming of the new year. Whether you’re looking for a nice lavish dinner, a blow-out party, help solve a murder, or just something for the kids to enjoy the venues in Lake County have you covered. 

This blog post is current as of its initial posting but I will update it should I get more information. In the DJ business we referred to new year’s eve as the amateur drinker’s night so please be careful out there. We have several taxi services including Riley Cab and Maria’s Midnight Rides. Make sure to keep those numbers handy! As usual I've linked the businesses to their Yelp pages where possible. 
Blue Wing
9520 Main St., Upper Lake, CA
The Blue Wing is one of the nicer places in Lake County and has gone back to being a choice that I know will make people happy. The Blue Wing is offering a fixed New Year’s Eve menu with some really intriguing choices. For entertainment the very fun Paul Kemp will be on hand along with George Husaruk and Machiko Shimada. The package includes following New York’s timeline for new year’s eve which means you can already have a great time before being able to head out to a great time. 

Boathouse Bar & Barbecue
2685 Lakeshore Blvd., Nice
DJ Ken Steeley is going to be spinning the tunes while your hunger for food will be quenched by a variety of plated dinner specials. Music starts at 6pm and goes until 1am. 

Konocti Vista Casino
2755 Mission Rancheria Road, Lakeport. 262-1900.
A Black and White New Year’s Eve gala will be on tap at Konocti Vista with a special package of a room at the hotel, the evening dance and breakfast for $199 per couple. Playing at Konocti Vista are the Fargo Brothers who play a combination of their own songs plus classic rock covers. You can also buy just two tickets to the ball for $119 or just a single ticket for $79. Doors open at 7pm. 

Lakeside Family Fun Center
872 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport. 263-4828
While most of these listings are really appropriate for adults, the word is that there will be kids in 2015 as well so it’s good that Lakeside Family Fun Center has a way that they can ring in the new year. From 9pm-2am there will be a family package special that will include a mini pizza, soda, $5 in game tokens and unlimited bowling, laser tag and bounce town fun. Lakeside Family Fun Center is a clean, modern and good environment so this is a terrific option. Of course there’s Charley’s Clubhouse as well which has a good selection of beers and spirits for the adults. 

Mafia Murders Mystery Dinner
3245 Bowers Ave, Clearlake
Put on by the Lake County Theater Company, this night of intrigue promises to be a fun time. Doors open at 6pm with a no-host bar with dinner served at 7pm. The moment you walk through the door you will become immersed in the experience as you become one of the characters in the mystery and you never know who will die that night - it could be you! The whole event is a 1920s theme so you are encouraged to wear attire fitting them them. The Theater Company always does a good job. The event concludes at 10 leaving you time to go to another celebration if you choose to. 
Tickets: 994-5437 or clearlakeyouthcenter@gmail.com

Old World Tavern
175 N Main St., Lakeport  
Guitar player Howard Dockens will be the featured performer in Old World Tavern’s New Year’s Eve celebration. A $10 admission includes one drink (beer, wine or mixed drink) or you can reserve a table for four for $150 which includes a full bottle of Grey Goose vodka, ice and a bucket of mixers. 

O’Meara Brothers Brewing Company
901 Bevins Street, Lakeport • 262-1234
Open from 5-1am. With beers brewed right on the premises this has become a big hot spot in Lake County. Brewing up classic rock and blues will be the band Severance. Appetizers and drinks. 

Robinson Rancheria
1545 E State Highway 20, Nice, CA • 262-4000
Robinson has a celebration for those who love to gamble. Essentially, they are going to announce five winners of $2015 from people in the casino who are signed-up for their player’s club. There will also be bingo and a $15 buffet. For dancing, there will be DJ Crash in the bar. 

Riviera Hills Country Club
10200 Fairway Dr., Kelseyville, CA
With a beautiful view of Clear Lake, the Riviera Country Club has a package for $65 with tax and gratuity that includes dinner and a champagne toast at midnight. The dinner is right in line with their usual exceptional fare and includes a choice of roast duck, beef wellington, salmon or rack of lamb. For dancing the band Beats Workin’ will be performing. 

Soper Reese Theater
275 S Main Street, Lakeport. 
The Soper Reese is going to feature local band the LC Diamonds, a classic rock cover band. Ticket price includes appetizers, beverages and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets range from $40-50 with plenty of room for dancing. Doors open at 8pm. 

TJ’s Downtown Grill
370 S Main St., Lakeport • 263-4368
Serving a full menu along with prime rib and a surf and turf option (lobster tail or salmon). After dinner there will be Eddie Diaz is DJing. 

Twin Pine Casino
22223 S State Highway 29, Middletown, CA • (800) 564-4872
Twin Pine has a variety of dining specials including a midnight buffet and featuring Northern Heat for dancing. There will be cash prize drawings hourly and more. 

The Village Pub
16365 Highway 175, Middletown, CA
This is the first new year’s eve for the Village Pub which has a wide variety of beers on tap as well as terrific food and a really fun, casual atmosphere. For $25 the Village Pub will feature the Graybeard Band. The price includes a midnight champagne toast, noisemakers and all. Party starts at 8pm. 

Edible Christmas Ornaments 21 Dec 2014, 8:00 am

There are so many wonderful treats that can trigger childhood holiday memories. For us things like Stollen and anise cookies come to mind as a symbol of things we enjoyed growing up at this magical time of year. But we've stumbled across a new item that absolutely represents the season and is also ridiculously delicious plus easy to make. 

Nothing says "winter" or the holidays like pine cones and these edible ones are the perfect treat for your holiday and can be made even more festive with a few pomegranate seeds that look just like the real berries. 

To start with you will need pretzel sticks, powdered sugar, butter, creamy peanut butter, and Nutella. 
To make these pine cones mix one part butter, one part Nutella, two parts creamy peanut butter, and four parts powdered sugar together.  Shape the mixture into a cone shape around the pretzel stick, then poke pieces of chocolate Chex or Fiber One cereal into the mixture.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. 

The Red Chair Travels to the Featherbed Railroad 7 Dec 2014, 7:20 am

Recently we got a very special visitor who came to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. This visitor has been to vacation spots all over the US on a  tour that started in 2011 and is presently happening through Northern California. While this celebrity is known to many, it celebrates each of its visits with grace and dignity - and offers a seat to the weary. We were part of The Red Chair Travels, a very unique cross-country journey. 

This journey started in 2011 on Cape Cod, and continues to this day as the chair moves from one inn to the next. At each stop, the Red Chair is introduced to all that is memorable and beautiful about the local area, with a B&B owner as the chair's concierge.

While the Red Chair visited us we brought it to the Thanksgiving dinner table where we celebrated with family and friends and are thankful for the best year we've enjoyed here at the Featherbed Railroad. We are definitely thankful for family, friends and new friends in the form of guests who have been part of our lives on this vacation journey with nine unique railroad cabooses.


The Red Chair got to observe Mount Konocti, an inactive but not dormant volcano that has Clear Lake in its shadow. Mount Konocti is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and is still plenty active with the largest geothermal energy plant in the US using the hot underground forces to create clean, renewable energy with water filtered from waste water. It's really, really a green energy source! 


We also spent the Thanksgiving weekend getting the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort ready for Christmas with decorations all over. In fact, Santa's caboose has been prepped and is ready for our most famous visitors and the elves are scheduled to come and make sure the room meets their strict standards for this yuletime tradition. 


It was a pleasure having the Red Chair and we will follow its journey to see what other wonderful experiences it gets to enjoy as it makes its way across this great land. 


Traveling is about getting outside of the everyday and seeing the world with fresh eyes.  Through the journey of the Red Chair, we are all travelers off the beaten track where true relaxation awaits.

Cherpumple - The Turducken of the dessert table 3 Dec 2014, 9:17 am

A slice of our Cherpumple
Both Peggy and I are big fans of Charles Phoenix, a gentleman who Peggy went to high school with who has become quite well known for celebrating Americana in so many forms. Phoenix is a character who has been on many national TV programs including ones with Martha Stewart, Conan O'Brian and others. He got his start finding some great slides at garage sales and has built a world of notoriety in celebration of Americana in many forms. 

So what does Charles Phoenix have to do with the turducken? In his going through slides, he saw a number of these fancy main courses and thought about a fitting dessert. It is that inspiration that came up with the Cherpumple. The Cherpumple is like the turducken in that it's one dessert inside another, but it's so much more than that. 

The Cherpumple is, simply, a Cherry pie baked into a white cake, a second layer with a yellow cake into which is baked a pumpkin pie and finally, a spice cake which has an apple pie baked into it. You frost this three-layer, six-dessert monster and your guests will be astonished!

This year we decided to bake a Cherpumple and serve it on Thanksgiving to guests as a late-evening dessert. However, I got a cherry pie instead of a cherry pie so we sort of made a Raspumple. The good news is, we decided to document the process in video which you can see here:
The final result was one incredible dessert and we will definitely do this again! It was both a lot of fun and, as promised, everybody was astonished. 

Charles Phoenix is putting on some of his famous slide shows celebrating Americana and you can find out how to attend those on the Charles Phoenix website. We already have our tickets for his show on the 14th of December. 

And, here is the original video of the Cherpumple for your information! 

Getting to the Bottom of the Top Toilet Paper 21 Nov 2014, 8:00 am

Want to know a lodging property insider’s secret? Most owners of lodging properties wouldn’t use the toilet paper they put in their rooms. Seriously. Isn’t that crappy? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. 

The reason I’m writing an entire blog about toilet paper is that this is a surprisingly important issue in the lodging business. But let’s talk about how toilet paper gets here first, okay? 

In the lodging business we go through a lot of toilet paper. Heck, you could actually be wiped out if you don’t choose carefully. But, seriously, most lodging properties buy toilet paper in really big quantities from suppliers. No matter how much investigation you do, you’re still stuck with several hundred rolls of whatever you’ve decided on. Unlike Costco there are no samples. 

Oh, sure, these suppliers promise that their TP is A+ and that it’s soft and strong and on and on. In some places we’ve been to it feels more like the cardboard box the paper came in would be a better choice than what’s actually in the box. And the lodging manager likely bought it based on the recommendation of someone at the supplier and now they’re stuck with their decision. 

One of the reasons we’ve stuck with this type of arrangement for all this time is that the toilet paper rolls that come from these hotel suppliers is wrapped individually. Opening a box of toilet paper is sort of like a really, really odd FedEx delivery with hundreds of individually wrapped Christmas presents. From someone terribly twisted. But Peggy found little plastic containers that happily perch on the back of the tank and hold a nice, fresh roll of TP. 

This means we’re free to conduct an exhaustive test to see what’s the best product on the market and aren’t limited to having to buy from hotel suppliers. So, like all exhaustive tests, we started at the world wide web. 

It turns out there are a number of organizations that worked to get to the, uh, bottom of this and have done their own research. And the results are fairly unanimous. 

The folks at Consumer’s Reports were the ones who put the test together and created a points system with the best possible score being 100. None of the tested products received this score so we wonder if it was impossibly high or involved the use of a butler, perhaps. Ugh, who would want that job?

Anyhow, there were three winners in this race. 

Starting from the third-place winner was Quilted Northern Ultra Plus with a score of 70 points. 

From a product standpoint it’s not a bad position to be in second place and that title goes to Charmin Ultra Strong which got a score of 71 points. That’s only one point different than the third-place winner so you would likely not notice a substantial difference between the two. 

So who’s at the top? You’d think that it would be some high-priced brand from a premium retailer. Maybe a private-label product from someone whose brand is associated with a long-standing tradition of quality. Or, perhaps, a very premium product available only in select places. But this is not the case. 

The number one most highly rated brand of toilet paper is a private-label brand but it is from America’s largest retailer - a company known for being a discount-focused retailer. The toilet paper that the team at Consumer’s Reports thought was the top of the top with a score of 88 points out of 100 is WalMart’s own White Cloud brand. 

Surprised? So were we. Frankly, our take on a private-label brand from a company who has worked hard to be focused on price first would seem to be something pretty lousy, but that’s not the case at all. 

With great trepidation we went and bought a package of WalMart’s White Cloud toilet paper to give it a chance. We have listened to Consumer Reports magazine in the past with mixed results, so this was a trial that we weren’t sure about. However, at least we’d only be stuck with a few rolls of lousy toilet paper in the event that the magazine was in error. 

But they aren’t. Frankly, this is the best toilet paper we’ve ever come across. As promised by the rating, it’s both exceptionally strong and also very soft. This is a really, really good product. 

Comparing in price to the bulk toilet paper that we normally buy, as do most lodging properties, buying at retail means we’re spending about twice as much as we had in the past. However, considering the quality increase that we perceive this is something that we feel is well worth it. 

Because you don’t want to stay somewhere and have one little thing just rub you the wrong way. So we felt it was our job to get to the bottom of this issue. 

Thanksgiving Dining Guide for Lake County 13 Nov 2014, 8:00 am

Tony Barthel is this post's author and is a consultant on social media to a variety of companies as well as the "fireman" at the Featherbed Railroad.
In the interest of giving thanks, I have created this list of who’s open on Thanksgiving. Turns out there are some pretty good choices all over the price spectrum. Now I’ve only put the places I’ve either heard about or have enjoyed myself. At the bottom of the list are the ones I called that plan to be closed. 

Sadly, some of the places I called didn’t answer their phones, have websites or any presence on the Internet or any way of knowing what’s going on. Those aren’t on the list at all. I also tried to think about more “general” dining places such as those that would offer something traditional rather than specialty places, so I didn’t really call the Mexican, Chinese or pizza restaurants. I also included no fast food nor chain places. Sorry, I’m just biased that way and it’s my list, after all. 

For any of these choices I would strongly recommend that you call and save yourself a seat, especially if you have a larger party. 

No matter what you do in this day of giving thanks we hope you have a great celebration with your favorite people and the least amount of political and religious discussions possible. But if you’re trying to ease the tension between the convertible and hard top members of the family, good luck. 

Unless otherwise noted, all phone number are area code (707). Links provided are almost always to the venue's Yelp listing. 

Blue Wing
9520 Main St., Upper Lake, CA • 275-2233 • Blue Wing Saloon

The Blue Wing is one of the nicer places in Lake County and has gone back to being a choice that I know will make people happy. The Blue Wing is offering a full, fixed Thanksgiving menu with seatings available at 1, 3, 5 and 7pm. Choices include turkey dinner, prime rib, cioppino or mushroom risotto with prices ranging from $33-45 per person. 

You can actually download the menu from their website for more information. 

Chic Le Chef
18983 Hartman Rd, Hidden Valley Lake, CA • 987-9664 • Chic Le Chef

Chic Le Chef isn’t a restaurant, but is a catering company that offers both full event catering as well as individual take-out style meals. For those who are short on time but have good taste buds, Chic Le Chef does a first-rate job of creating meals you can take with you and enjoy at home or somewhere wonderful. On Thanksgiving Julie will offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal and can prepare one or enough for the whole family. Orders will have to be placed in advance but at least this leaves you time to spend with family or enjoy a Thanksgiving meal on a hilltop overlooking the beauty of Lake County or just in front of the TV, frankly. No cooking is a good option too!

Green view Restaurant
19210 Hartmann Rd., Hidden Valley Lake, CA • 987-3146 • Greenview Restaurant

Greenview Restaurant is located inside the beautiful Hidden Valley Lake golf course. Greenview will feature a Thanksgiving buffet with turkey, ham, pear sage stuffing and much more. The price is just $19.95 for adults, children (10 and under) are just $9.95. Reservations are required.  

Konocti Vista Casino
27755 Mission Rancheria Rd. Lakeport • 262 1900 • Konocti Vista Casino

Konocti Vista Casino has been a big supporter of many fishing tournaments on the Lake and probably has the nicest boat marina open to the public. The casino's restaurant will be open from 9am-9pm with a special Thanksgiving menu as well as some regular items available as well. There will also be a special kids' menu. 

Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill
4220 Main St., Kelseyville, CA  • 279-0123 • Lyndall's Sports Stop

As the name may imply, Lyndall’s is a casual spot but has a surprisingly varied menu including items that vegans and vegetarians would appreciate along with more everyday food choices. While some details were being finalized when I wrote this, the staff indicated that there will be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 2pm-10pm. Regular menu will also be available. 

Howard’s Grotto
14732 Lakeshore Dr., Clearlake • 994-0441 • Howard's Grotto

Howard’s is another place that just has been a consistent home run. While they won’t have it on Thanksgiving, you might consider going back for their fried chicken on another day. On Thanksgiving they’re going to have turkey, ham, roast pork, chicken parmesan and prime rib specials. Noon-7pm. 

Marina Grill
3707 E Highway 20, Nice, CA 95464 • Marina Grill

From 11am-2pm the Marina Grill will have a full Thanksgiving Dinner including ham and turkey with all the goodies. As of this writing the price will be under $14. The Marina Grill is a local cafe with fair pricing and good food and just a comfortable vibe. 

Robinson Rancheria
1545 E State Highway 20, Nice, CA • 262-4000 • Robinson Rancheria

There will be a Thanksgiving buffet at their restaurant from 2-9pm for just $13.95. Robinson Rancheria is the closest casino to the Featherbed Railroad. Please note: all the local casinos do allow smoking indoors. 

Riviera Hills Country Club
10200 Fairway Dr., Kelseyville, CA • Riviera Hills

With incredible views, the Riviera Hills Country Club is another nice place to eat in Lake County. The “Riv’” will feature a buffet from Noon-5 - $24 for adults, children 12-under $12. 

TJ’s Downtown Grill
370 S Main St., Lakeport • 263-4368 • TJ's Downtown Grill

TJ's is going to feature their full menu as well as a Thanksgiving buffet with turkey and ham carving stations plus a dessert table and salads for $19.95. Open 11am-10pm. 

Twin Pine Casino
22223 S State Highway 29, Middletown, CA • (800) 564-4872 • Twin Pine

In calling around these were the most incredibly pleasant people I spoke to. The enthusiastic individual on the phone made me want to change my Thanksgiving plans and head to Twin Pine.

Twin Pine’s restaurant will feature a buffet for $26.95 ($5 discount with player club card) from 2-8pm. Thursday is also senior day so everybody over 50 they get $5 in free play. There is also a free senior slot tournament that day - sign-ups start at 10, game at 11. There will also be a poker tournament that night which starts at 7pm. 

Wildfire Restaurant
835 E Highway 20, Upper Lake • 262-5500 • Wildfire Restaurant

While nobody there had any information, being a casino it’s inevitable that they’ll be open as well. 

Here are the places that responded who will not be open on Thanksgiving. 

  • Blue Moon Cafe, Kelseyville; 
  • Happy Garden, Clearlake Oaks; 
  • Jimmy’s Deli, Lakeport
  • Main Street Bar & Grill, Clearlake; 
  • Park Place, Lakeport; 
  • Mount St Helena Brewery, Middletown; 
  • Old World Tavern, Lakeport; 
  • The Spot, Clearlake; 
  • Saw Shop Gallery Bistro, Kelseyville;
  • Woody’s Cafe, Kelseyville

Family's coming for the holidays - are you ready? 7 Nov 2014, 8:00 am

This is the time of year that so many people look forward to as the string of holidays ensues - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year’s eve. What makes this time of year so special is that it represents milestones in the calendar that often mean that friends and family are due for a visit. 

As the holiday season approaches the bleakness of winter is punctured by the warm glow of your favorite (we hope) people springing from Facebook and actually giving you status updates in person. It’s truly magical. And you don’t have to worry about the batteries on that darned not-so-smart phone just because you want to find out about Aunt Millie. 

But, for some people, Halloween isn't the scariest occasion on the calendar - guests in the house can sometimes make it feel almost like it was haunted. 

There is that old joke that house guests and fish stink after three days. This can’t just be our thinking - there are actually articles about being a great house guest. And cartoons. 
Dim And Dash's being a houseguest cartoon
Oh, I didn't tell you I got a new pet?
There was a good episode on Duck Dynasty where brother Jase stays at Willie’s house while his kitchen is being remodeled. Jase, the earliest riser, wakes up his brother by cooking steak for breakfast at 4 in the morning. Oh yeah, differing sleep schedules are another fun thing about house guests.

Even Martha Stewart is getting in on the preparations for having company stay.

Wait, you have to disrupt your house so that people can come stay? There has to be a better solution. Of course you know we are always trying to be helpful so here's a great idea: have your family members stay at the Featherbed Railroad. 

Oh, if you are the one traveling, don't worry about telling your family that you're staying with us - there’s even an article for that

While that certain uncle might seem annoying to you even after the first day, his jokes and stories are new to us. And by family and friends staying with us that means it’s just one fewer meal you have to have with them. Sure, you can't wait to see your favorite aunt but how did she end-up marrying him

Now don’t get us wrong, we know you love having family stay. Heck, being in the lodging business we, too, get family who come and stay and we always look forward to catching up on things that weren’t posted on Facebook. Selfies are so much better when they’re in person. 

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without those political discussions and “those jokes” that always earn a groan.

But if it is appropriate to have Uncle Marv stay somewhere besides near an open flame, we’re offering a very special rate for stays during the holidays. Your guests can get 25% off their stay when they use the coupon code “Anniversary”. This is part of our celebration of 25 years in business. 

Here’s another idea - you could also let your friends or family stay at your house and you could get away for a few days yourself. You can get the same discount and still enjoy a relaxing soak in a spa tub for two, or watch one of the hundreds of movies we’ve recently added to our video library. Oh, and don't forget breakfast that you don't have to make yourself. Score. 

And when you stay with us and they stay at your house, think of the look of horror on your insurance agent’s face when you show them that. No, we can’t figure out how something like that would happen either. 

Of course, if you’re looking for that perfect gift for the holidays or even for no reason, we also offer gift certificates that are valid here and at over 4,000 resorts across these United States. You can get a gift certificate in any amount whatsoever and one size definitely does fit all. 

Whether your family comes and stays with you or with us, we hope these holidays are joyous and wonderful reminders of how special these people are. So here’s to you, to family and to keeping up on Facebook. Because you can’t smell that from your side of the computer.