A fun day out in the Western Galilee

Autumn is a delightful time for a trip, even if your idea of a perfect outing does not include going on long treks upon verdant forest trails.

HANITA FOREST (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When most people think about northern Israel, they picture climbing down into the grottoes at Rosh Hanikra or walking on the warm sand of Nahariya’s beach. Yet there are so many more wonderful places to visit in the North, if you have the time and inclination.
Autumn is a delightful time for a trip, even if your idea of a perfect outing does not include going on long treks upon verdant forest trails. Temperatures are getting cooler but on most days, the sun keeps us nice and warm, providing the perfect opportunity to seek out new adventures just waiting to be experienced.
Luckily, plenty of cafés and pâtisseries have opened up in northern Israel, and Tosha Bakery in Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra is one of them. Many people don’t know much about the kibbutz located right next to the popular tourist attraction bearing the same name.
Tosha Bakery opened its doors three years ago. It was founded by two young entrepreneurs in their 30s, Tomer and Shahaf, in an effort to offer something off the beaten path to local residents and tourists alike. To that end, they decided that they would not offer a fixed menu, but instead have people pick out items sitting right in front of them inside the bright glass cabinets. Each morning, they prepare a wide variety of burekas, sandwiches, gourmet quiches and sweet and savory pastries made with homemade tahini. All of these items can be enjoyed while sitting on their comfortable balcony and basking in the gentle morning sun.
Details on workshop participation:
Alternatively, you could take the breakfast items you’ve purchased in a bag and eat them at the lookout point in Hanita Forest at the foot of the Galilee’s mountains, spreading out over 600 acres from Hanita all the way to Shlomi. Nearby, you can also view a renovated Tower and Stockade model, which is a popular tourist attraction and picnic spot. There are a number of well-marked trails in the forest if you feel like taking a short walk.
Directions: From Shlomi Intersection, drive east on Route 899. Turn onto a paved road when you reach the sign for Hanita Forest.
If you’re looking for a great hike, I recommend Ein Kovshim, or Nahal Be’er. Ein Kovshim is located just 200 m. from the “Tower and Stockade” model – just follow the green trail markers. Soon, you will reach the Julie Harel Garden, which is surrounded by carob trees and boasts a number of comfortable picnic tables. The garden was created in memory of Julie Harel, the widow of Yossi Harel, who was the commander of the famous immigrant ship Exodus. Yossi had been among the Haganah fighters who blazed the trail up to Lower Hanita as part of the Tower and Stockade settlement enterprise. From the garden, there is a short path that leads to a spring and pool at Ein Kovshim.
If you’re looking for a super fun and unique experience, then you should definitely go to Kibbutz Regba, where you’ll find Odette chocolate workshops for children and adults. The owner – Shlomit, a pastry chef with a background in materials engineering, who named her business after her mother – decided to try something new after surviving a bout with cancer. She opened the chocolate business as a side project to keep her brother, who suffers from schizophrenia, busy. Almost overnight, apparently, Shlomit’s new venture took off, due to the excellent quality of the chocolate she uses and her natural creativity. She also markets a line of dairy and vegan chocolates with 30 different flavors.
Price: Children NIS 100; Adults NIS 150 (minimum 5 people per group).
Details: 052-889-0381; Not open on Shabbat. For children over 3.
ART 192
If you’re into art, then I highly recommend making the time to visit Art 192, a gallery located in an old Ottoman structure in Acre’s Old City. The gallery was founded by 10 women artists from the Galilee, many of whom turned to art as a second career. They picked Acre as the location for their gallery since there was something about the unique and ancient surroundings that attracted them. Most of the women who show their artwork here sculpt with clay, whereas others create art out of glass, paper and recycled materials. There’s always at least one of the artists on site at all times, so visitors can learn about and view their artwork, as well as creations by other guest artists.
Location: Acre’s Old City.
Details: (04) 828-3955.
Another fantastic exhibition in Acre’s Old City that you should not miss is being held at the KKL-JNF and Western Galilee Now information center, located near the Turkish Bazaar. In addition to receiving the regular tourist information there, guests can also take advantage of the current Savta’s Wall exhibition, which focuses on weaving, embroidery and sewing. A number of local artists have contributed works to this exhibition, showing talents and skills that are not being passed on to the next generation at the same rate they used to be.
To end the day, you can relax at El Marsa, a lovely fish restaurant located in Acre’s Old City in the ancient Ottoman Customs building. El Marsa is not your typical traditional Middle Eastern restaurant, but a modern day establishment offering great seafood. Chef Alaa Musa began his culinary career when he was just 15, worked in a five-star hotel in Eilat and even in a gourmet restaurant in Stockholm. Upon his return home to Israel, Musa decided to open up his own place.
Location: Fishing Port, Acre.
Details: (04) 901-9281.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.