"In 1908, Em and Al Byrnes opened up their home to friends who wished to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. All the fruits and vegetables served were grown on the farm, as were the meat and eggs. Em baked all the bread. Since 1946, the Adams family has continued the tradition of country vacations with farm grown and home cooked meals."
I knew about this place through Sarah, who stayed on my neighbor's farm in Sugar Hollow when I was a kid. She met her husband Malanyon there, and they ended up moving to California to raise their children where he grew up. I drove down an 8 mile gravel road for an hour after driving through the town before arriving at their beautiful spot in the valley.
Sarah and Malanyon's son, Linden, came running up to me and said "Amelia! We have a bed all ready for you!" And my heart melted. After weeks of being gone it's a strange and wonderful feeling walking into a home, all the way across the country, with photos of my pasture and neighbors on the walls.
The best part of my stay was spending time with this sweet family. I swam in the river, hiked though the mountains, collected chicken eggs, and ate the best food I've ever had in my life.
Oh man, the food. Every day Tam, Malanyon's mother, starts up the kitchen at dawn and spends all day cooking and preparing meals for the campers and staff. Over 70 people, every. single. day. I'm talking about 9 grain pancakes, basil pesto, jams and jellies. pickles, milk from the cows... homemade bagels and pizzas from scratch, lemon-coconut ice cream…. I could go on. Just about everything served is grown and prepared right there on their land.
Large scale gardens have been a lesson in patience for me over the past few weeks as a WWOOfer. But Malanyon's looks like a work of art. While it may seem fun, and it is, growing and preparing this amount of food is no easy task let me tell you!
Families that visit the camp here are typically from the Bay Area and make the drive up to stay for a few days at a time. Kids of all ages were running around the farm, playing in the river and relaxing under the trees. It would be difficult not to have a good time here.
"Emandal is an attitude. Emandal goes beyond playing in the river or putting on campfire skits or triumphing in Trivial Pursuit. It’s a community… it’s sharing the load of everyday life… acknowledging the struggles and pitfalls, embracing the joys and the milestones. Generations of families and friends have been coming to Emandal each summer for over 100 years, always learning just a bit more about the other, finding out, perhaps, why we are the way we are."
If I ever get married and have my own family someday I hope it's a life something like this. Saying goodbye was tough, but I'm already planning a visit for a month or so next summer. I can't wait to see everyone again!