First stop was the Bat Yar Ranch in the heart of the Biriya Forest in the mountains above Galilee. Driving up mountain roads through the pine forest, we felt a little like we were back in the Pacific Northwest. Advertising paintball, horse riding, ropes course and "forest bowling," the place looked great on the web.
What the website didn't mention is this important fact. All of the above: closed during the winter. Undeterred, we explored the grounds to see what we were missing. Perhaps a summer visit would be a little more fun, but given the thick layer of disuse covering just about everything at the place, we had our doubts.
So - we settled for lunch in the very tasty restaurant (you can choose to eat inside or in a covered wagon) and a spent couple moments whispering to the horses before continuing our journey.
Our home in the North was the Kibbutz Inbar - a family friendly inn with basic accommodations, a hearty vegetarian breakfast each morning, and (most importantly), friendly tree-climbing dogs to play with.
Dogs in trees!
Inbar is within convenient spitting distance of the Sea of Galilee and the northern Mediterranean coast, so we "spat" a lot - with day trips to Akko (Acre), Tiberius and spots in between.
One of our favorites was the Crusader Port city of Akko, where we explored a tunnel built by the Templar Knights, an ancient Citadel, a fascinating marketplace and cannons to climb on!
The ancient harbor where crusader knights disembarked in the Holy Land
We finished up the day in Akko with a fabulous feast of a dinner with friends at a restaurant overlooking the ocean as the sun went down.
The girls explore the tide pools
Lots more photos of a fabulous day in Akko here.
After Akko, the next day's visit to the town of Tiberius on the shore of the Galilee was a disappointment. It had the feeling of a "tourist town" which had seen much better days.
A great intro to the "North" - I can't wait to go back!