A Winter's Trip to the Beit HaKerem Valley
I'm happy to share with you a recommended winter trip itinerary courtesy of the Eshkol Beit Hakerem Tourism office. The Beit Hakerem Valley, which unites 8 authorities and covers an area of 230,000 dunams, combines open spaces, hiking trails, culinary attractions and a variety of activities for travelers, couples and families.
The recommended tour starts with a short section of the beautiful Zalmon river, which is flooding these days. On Road 804 (between Rama and Araba) you can park next to the sign pointing to the stream, and after a few hundred meters walk between the ancient flour mills and the orchards observe the stream that carries its waters from the rainy Meron mountain to the Sea of Galilee.
From there you can drive a bit North to the village of Rama, which hangs on the cliff between the Upper Galilee and the Lower. You should take the opportunity to dine in the "Al Sobat" restaurant hidden among the alleys of the village. The restaurant is a kind of combination of Oriental and Italian cuisine, held together by Middle Eastern aromas and designed appropriately for the traditions of the place. The owner of the restaurant is the former owner of the old "Ahuzat Shulamit" in Rosh Pina, who recently moved it to carefully preserved 100 plus-year-old house. The restaurant has a strictly winter menu, which includes (among other things of course) chestnut soup, risotto with mushrooms and chestnuts, Musakhan style roasted chicken, excellent pastas and hot and spicy wine for the holiday.
Another option is Yael Makonen-Dego's house in Karmiel. Yael, an extraordinary woman who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia, owns the "Taste of Ethiopia" brand. She conducts Ethiopian food workshops and prepares traditional spices that will upgrade your kitchen. She also has an excellent kosher restaurant in her home.
If you're interested in shopping, the "Big" Complex in Karmiel and the new "Dabah" shopping complex at the Deir al-Assad junction (adjacent to the main road), are central complexes with a huge abundance of brand stores open seven days a week.
A short drive west will take you to the top of the Tzurit-Gilon ridge. Here, in front of the view, is the beautiful "Michal" lookout. If you wish to walk a bit, there is a beautiful circular route called the "Yehi-Shalom" Trail, meaning "Peace be upon you'; trail. The trail overlooks the city of Karmiel, Hilazon Stream and the Meged Valley, the steep slope of Tzurim and the villages located. The first primroses and daffodils have already begun to bloom, and the air is clear.
If you want a final treat home, a two minutes drive will take you to the Noked dairy in Gilon, one of the settlements of the Misgav Regional Council. Rinat, Danny and the staff of the place have just returned from the Cheese World Cup in France, decorated with 4 international medals for the wonderful produce they cook here. Local pride!
These days they have opened a winter pop-up place, where you are invited to enjoy an experience of unique and surprising flavors from the variety of cheeses that have won competitions, and everything is special, delicious and also ... kosher. You can take cheeses to the Michal lookout, to eat in front of the spectacular view or take some home.
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