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Monday, October 27, 2008

Apple Hill and tourism

Good article in the Sacramento Bee about Apple Hill sums up the need for tourism in El Dorado County.  Our bed and breakfast, and many others in the State, rely on agritourism to keep us going--wineries, orchards and the rivers.

Tour shows off El Dorado’s farm bounty, need for tourists
By Diana Lambert
Published: Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008 | Page 3B
El Dorado County farmers can't survive without tourist dollars.

That was the message delivered by speaker after speaker Friday to a bus carrying more than 50 government officials.

The tour of the county included a ride down tree-lined country roads, lunch served on a hill over crimson vineyards, an olive oil sampling, a visit to historic sites in downtown Placerville and a hayride and apple doughnuts at an Apple Hill ranch.

But it was serious business.

The tour was part of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments' Rural-Urban Connections Strategy.

The program's goal is finding ways to support and sustain the economy, environment and quality of life in rural areas.

"It brings us together to get a comprehensive look at the entire region," said Lincoln City Councilman Tom Cosgrove, chairman of SACOG, which provides transportation planning and funding in Sacramento region.

The rural-urban project includes tours of agricultural land and open space in the six-county region. The group toured Sutter and Yuba counties in April, Yolo County in September and plans to tour Placer and Sacramento counties.

Each county has different assets and challenges.

In El Dorado County, about "75 percent of farm products produced are sold directly to the consumer," said David Bolster, a farmer and member of the county chamber of commerce's Agriculture Council.

The county crop report showed its gross crop value to be $53.2 million in 2007. Timber brought in $18.6 million and livestock $8.7 million.

The rest comes from farms that average 27 acres.

"In order to be economically viable, we have to sell at the highest amount of dollars. … So, we press apples into cider and grapes into wine," said Valerie Zentner, executive director of the El Dorado County Farm Bureau.

High Hill Ranch in Placerville exemplifies the strategy. There are apples, apple cider, caramel apples, apple pies and other apple commodities for sale, but also stall after stall of outside vendors, hawking products from jewelry to sushi rollers.

A stop at David Girard Vineyards offered another glimpse into the county's agritourism business. David Girard said he expects to produce about 4,000 cases of wine this year but also hopes to profit from marketing the winery as a wedding site and corporate meeting venue.

"Ninety percent of our members must work full time or be retired to support the insanity that is farming," said Maryann Argyres, president of the Apple Hill Growers Association, which represents more than 50 fruit ranches.

The SACOG board members seemed to understand the message.

"They have to be able to make a profit, or otherwise you get mass housing and development," said Kevin Hanley, a SACOG member and Auburn councilman.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Hill adventures in October

 Headed to Camino (about 10 minutes from the Albert Shafsky House B&B) to go to Apple Hill with some friends today.  First stop was Rainbow Orchards for the wonderful Apple Cider Donuts....yummy...
Also went to Denver Dan's and watched the apple peal and core machine work it's magic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It is that time of year when Rita and I like to start thinking about the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns annual conference for new and experienced innkeepers.  We love going to see old friends and make new ones.  Once again I am speaking about blogs and social networks and will be encouraging others to "join the conversation".

Won't you join us for the 2009 InnSpire Conference and Trade Show in beautiful Monterey, California where the famous 17-Mile Drive meets 17 years of CABBI's dedication to educating innkeepers?

The 2009 InnSpire Conference and Trade Show will take place February 1-3, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa, located at One Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, CA 93940.

The Innkeeping As a Profession (IAP) workshop is being held January 31 and February 1, 2009, also at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Best B&B Breakfast award to us!


Placerville, CA -- The Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast of Placerville ,CA, was selected as one of the BEST BREAKFAST winers in the annual Best of Awards, 2008-2009. The Best of Awards are based upon a qualitative and quantitative review of the nearly 50,000 independent reviews submitted to, the leading online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide.

"We know how important independent reviews are. We're delighted that inngoers concurred that Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast is a favorite among those seeking the B&B experience," explained's Sandy Soule, one of the most highly recognized authors and a spokeswoman for the B&B industry. "It's clear that the Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast earned high marks from inngoers for their fine accommodations, breakfasts, amenities, and wonderful hospitality and service," commented Soule.

"We are pleased that we were chosen for a Best of Award and are proud that our guests posted reviews that resulted in this award," stated Rita Timewell. "It is gratifying that our attention to the details that make a difference to guests were recognized by inngoers who took the time to write reviews of the Albert Shafsky House B&B," commented Timewell. Here's an excerpt from one of our reviews: "Completely, totaly, singularly, fully, all encompassingly outstanding. Rooms and home were inviting in every way, Lily was the cutest, breakfast and wine were to "dine" for. Thank you so much for a stay that was better than home away from home."

About the Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast: A unique Bed & Breakfast experience awaits you at the historic "Albert Shafsky House Bed & Breakfast Inn" in the heart of California's fabled Gold Country--Placerville California. Warm hospitality, comfortable and tastefully appointed guest rooms, and a fabulous homemade breakfast you'll not soon forget will draw you back again and again. Stay at the Albert Shafsky House B&B Inn in Placerville and be treated like GOLD

The Best of Award winners are not ranked but are listed alphabetically by state or country within each category. The 2008-2009 Best of Awards went to:

Best Breakfast
Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast Inn, Placerville, CA
Judge Porter House Bed and Breakfast, Natchitoches, LA
Cocoa Cottage, Whitehall, MI
Cornerstone Victorian B&B, Warrensburg, NY
Granbury Gardens Bed and Breakfast, Granbury, TX
Amid Summer's Inn Bed & Breakfast, Cedar City, UT
Grace Manor Inn, Richmond, VA

Best Family Friendly Inn: The Hideaway Ranch and Retreat, Bluff Dale, TX
Most Romantic: The Foothill House, Calistoga, CA
Best for Special Occasions: Chestnut Hill on the Delaware. Milford, NJ
Best Beds: The Inn at Peralynna Manor, Columbia, MD
Best for Animal Lovers: Tie: Anderson Creek Lodge, Bellingham, WA & WhistleWood Horse Farm Bed & Breakfast, Rhinebeck, NY
Best Pet Friendly: Dream Horse Guest House, Kinsman, OH
Best for Dogs (and their humans too): The Homestead at Rehoboth Bed and Breakfast
Best on the Beach: Harrington House Bed & Breakfast, Holmes Beach, FL
Best Value: Jersey City B&B, Jersey City, NJ
Best for Weddings: Taylor House Inn, Banner Elk, NC
Best for Elopements: South Court Inn B&B, Luray, VA
Best Gardens/Grounds: B&B at Roseledge Herb Farm. Preston, CT
Best Organic/Chemical-free: Park Lane Guest House, Austin, TX
Best Urban B&B: The Intown Uptown Inn, Washington, DC
Best Spa: Beach Spa Bed and Breakfast, Virginia Beach, VA

For a complete list of Best of winners, and thousands of perfect choices for your next B&B getaway visit, the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide, listing nearly 7,000 B&Bs and inns. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase The Getaway Gift Card from, welcomed at nearly 4,000 B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, and read up-to-date trip reports on the blog, read and write independent reviews, and post questions on expert-hosted message boards.