Drakesbad: Old-Fashioned Ranch Charm

Step into a stay that's sans electricity, at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

JUST ABOUT EVERY ARTICLE... detailing the pleasures of summer takes a sepia-toned nostalgic view of the past. Well, maybe not "sepia-toned" as much as "Polaroid-like," for the recent past of the '60s, '70s, and '80s is the past that many of today's adults pine for, with feeling. They recall looking for bugs into the twilight, and eating sticky ice cream treats next to a stream, and, most of all, not being so easily summoned via email or other messaging (save the timeless messaging of a parent standing on the porch and calling them inside at sundown). Where does one find such Polaroid-like larks nowadays, if we don't work to create them ourselves? Making for a vacation spot that is mostly without electricity has a way of doing the trick. There aren't many places that forgo power in their guest rooms, but Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Lassen Volcanic National Park is one. And it is open, for visitors...

THROUGH OCT. 10, 2016: "All accommodations are rustic and quaint, most without electricity," says the historic lodging, which has roots in the beginning of the last century. So how does a family fill the hours not spent with the usual at-home pastimes, several that likely involve being plugged in? Horseback riding, swimming, sing-alongs, the making of campfire s'mores, and all of this into-the-woods doings that we remember, or wish we did, reign at the national park spot. Oh yes, and then there's the fact that a leisurely drive will take you by mudpots and steam features and the other wonders of Lassen. It's almost as if you've jetted back to 1974, and you've got your knee socks on, and denim shorts, and you're planning a day exploring nature and perhaps putting on a skit after dinner. Feeling the nostalgia? It's a real thing at Drakesbad, a California classic with one hiking boot in the past.

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