Pulling onto the Furnas Lake Villas property, we parked our rental Peugeot next to an awesome old Land Rover Defender. Immediately, both our husbands were peering over at it, ohh-ing and ahh-ing over the cool vintage vehicle. Little did we know, days later, we’d be piling into the bed of the truck and embarking on an incredible tour of the property.
As one of the hotel experiences, owners Manuel and Helena offer a scenic ride around their jaw-dropping 230 acres property, capped off by an amazing picnic atop a mountain. You can also horse back ride or hike, but after the guys saw the truck we knew what our mode of transportation was set. So, after lunch one day, we piled in the back and began our ride passing rows gorgeous mauve hydrangeas, their organic berry garden, and then up the mountainside.
Our first stop was the bee hives, where we learned a bit about bee keeping and picked a honeycomb for later.
The dirt road was bumpy and, at times, quite steep! But the Land Rover Defender didn’t seem to struggle a bit with Manuel behind the wheel. The fresh, mountain air smelled sweet and, as the afternoon grew later, a refreshing chill surrounded us. We parked at the highest peak on property, where Manuel and Helena chatted with us about all the surrounding flora and fauna while preparing the beautiful picnic spread.
We learned about the history of the Azores, which plants were native to the islands, and which ones were brought past generations of Azoreans from places like Japan and Brazil. They have a chart with pictures and descriptions of local birds, so we tried to see which we could identify. They brought out the honeycomb we just picked up from the hives and Helena delicately sliced it into bit-sized pieces. The liquid gold dripped from the comb, as fresh as can be. It was a dessert like not other, pure and sweet.
As we chatted, Helena spread out a beautiful blanket where we sat and enjoyed wine, cheese, fresh fruit, bread and honey.
The views from the top of the mountain were simply breathtaking. You could see the lush for miles and the blue Atlantic just over the hills. Experiencing such a treat with new friends is certainly something we’ll never forget. And just as we prepared to head back to the villas for dinner, the mountains around us began to burn with one of the most amazing sunsets we’ve ever seen — the perfect end to an amazing afternoon.
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