Seasonally available for swimming and floating, the pond is bordered with live oak, black oak, native California blackberry, and a large Weeping Willow. Floating water lilies flower during warm months. One of the oaks by the pond supports large clumps of mistletoe, an important winter food source and shelter for the Western Bluebirds that flash about in iridescent plumage. Duck families often vacation while floating on the water. Black Phoebes dart out from the Weeping Willow to snatch insects from the air, while a Green Heron fishes along the shore. The pond is also a favorite haunt of river otters that hump their way up from the creek looking something to eat, and then entertain us with their undulations. Dragonflies patrol the pond borders all day in brilliants reds and blues, and frogs sing to us at night while we soak in the nearby hot tub.
Water cascades over rocks forming a small waterfall into a clear, sandy-bottom pool that is home to water striders, fish, frogs, and salamanders. Every spring, burnt-orange newts entwine in sensual mating rituals in the creek. Foxes, raccoons, and deer steal down to drink, and Yellow Warblers sing in the trees – alders, willows, bays, buckeyes, redwoods, and live oaks – that border the creek.
The landscaped and manicured areas with sculptures, bird feeders, and benches, instill feelings of peace and harmony. Here guests can relax with a book while butterflies and hummingbirds visit the flowers in the garden. Our ceremony site, set high above the lodge, has panoramic forests views on all sides, and sweeping vistas looking out over the valley. The lawn, the bench, and the hammock are available for our guests to enjoy.
Bathed in light and covered with wildflowers in spring, with views of distant hills and wide open sky. Red-tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles drift in wide circles overhead while White-tailed Kites hover and stoop for rodents. Lesser Goldfinches cling to grass stalks while they nibble on seeds, while Swallow-tail Butterflies flutter by searching for nectar. Fawns cavort in the grass as their mothers watchfully graze, and Wild Turkey families amble along the edges foraging for food. Douglas Iris, Blue-eyed Grass, Suncups, and are but a few of the wildflowers that decorate our meadows in spring. Young deer have been seen running and froliking on the meadows and domestic animals such as sheep, yaks or horses have grazed.
Sensuous, smooth-red-skinned Pacific Madrone trees provide berries in winter for Band-tailed Pigeons and American Robins, while California Bay-laurel leaves and nuts provide food for black-tailed deer, dusky-footed wood rats, and California gray squirrels. Tan Oaks, a favorite acorn tree for the native Pomo Indians, are frequented by Stellar’s Jays, Scrub Jays, and the occasional Acorn Woodpecker – all looking for acorns to store away for the winter.