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We were looking for a romantic getaway in the middle of nowhere with breathtaking views of nature. What we found was a rustic cottage with modern amenities.
Mitch Pilcer, a former Jerusalem Post writer, and his wife Suzy, have built an oasis of solitude, peace and tranquility in the ancient town of Tzipori, where Rabbi Judah the Prince wrote most of the Mishna and is buried. The Pilcers put American-style attention to detail into the five cabins on their estate.
From a television on wheels so you can watch videos in the Jacuzzi, to a wood-burning stove to keep you warm in the living room, to lofts for children to climb and sleep in and even shampoo and conditioner in one, the Pilcers have thought of everything.
Each room has a collection of videos, novels and magazines, plenty of blankets, a heater/air conditioner, board games and playing cards. But the best part of staying in Tzipori Village Bed and Breakfast is the breakfast.
Bright and early every morning, Mitch delivers a picnic basket full of locally grown and produced goodies and places it in the "breakfast box" outside the front door. The basket includes organic whole wheat bread, fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil from the nearby farm, fresh labane and za'atar, eggs straight from the chicken coop and a selection of cheeses and yogurts from the Tzon-El goat farm next door. The bleating of the goats is the only sound that invades the pastoral quiet.
The fridge is stocked with milk and juice, and coffee, tea and chocolate can be found in the kitchenette. If any little thing is lacking, the Pilcers are happy to provide. We made a barbecue for dinner one night, and realizing that we had forgotten to bring ketchup, buzzed the Pilcers at home. They immediately sent one of their children running to bring us a bottle from their own fridge.
Tzipori is located just north of Nazareth and Afula in the lower Galilee. Its location in the heart of the Galilee makes it a good hub for day-trips around the scenic area. We drove an hour north to go ice skating at the Canada Centre in Metulla, but other recommended places in the area include the archaeological excavations and national park in Tzipori, horseback riding and donkey rental, the rakevel and mountain slide in Menara and the scenic Swiss Forest overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
For religious guests, the kitchenettes are strictly kosher and are equipped with a hotplate for Shabbat, there is an eruv around the property and a synagogue a pleasant 25-minute walk away in the religious community of Hoshaya.
Guest houses, or so-called tzimmers (Yiddish for rooms) such as this are becoming more and more popular - with good reason. They are much more homey than a hotel, they are a better place to bring children or to spend time alone with your loved one and they are also much cheaper. The average tzimmer will run you about NIS 400 a night. The Tzipori Village guest house costs only NIS 330.
For more information, call (04) 646-2647 or visit zipori.com. Email: [email protected]