The areas off Rte 40 and Rte 3 are rich in hidden treasures. Among the highlights of this car trip in Israel are  Almaz Ethiopian Craft Center, the town of  Ramle to row a boat in an ancient cistern,  Hulda Forest and  Beit Herzl Museum,  Barkan Winery, a  Philistine village, and a  Roman glass jewelry outlet, as well as a  buffalo cheese farm, a  watch factory outlet, and an  olive oil press.
Remember to bring your mobile phone – comes in very handy when the gate is locked – just call the number posted – and in you go!
Tour starts at the town of Lod
From Tel Aviv or Jerusalem:
Directions: Exit the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem highway (Rte 1) at the Lod Interchange. Turn left at Rte 40 and continue to the entrance to Lod (Center – Merkaz).
Note: There are 3 entrances into Lod – these directions are from Lod (Center). Turn right at first traffic light. Continue straight and look for a schoolyard on the right and the Almaz sign. Pull into the schoolyard to park. Almaz is in the single story building in front of you.
Almaz Ethiopian Crafts
Miki Shapiro conceived of a women's sewing center to employ Ethiopian women in 1993. Since then, the project has received governmental and Jewish Agency supoort by way of custom sewing orders. In addition, the women create table linens, accessories, Judaica, and even clothing incorporating unique Ethiopian embroidery. Embroidery specialists are often Ethiopian men who supply squares of colorful embroidery that are then appliqued onto fabrics.
Coordinate your visit in advance to get a tour and explanation of the project. Stop Shop Alert: Unique embroidered items for sale, as well as Ethiopian ceramic items.
- Open daily from 8:00 – 15:00
- Where: Haim Moshe Shapiro St., Lod
- T: 08.921.0194
Underground Rowing in Ramle
The town of Ramle , south of Lod, on Rte 40, was founded by Arab Muslims in the year 716 CE. Located on main trade routes, the city attracted Jews, Muslims, and Samaritans during the Middle Ages. Remnants of this prosperous period remain, including old city walls, towers and a most unusual underground water system are still visible. Explore the cisterns by rowboat.
Underground rowboating is recommended during the hot days of August.
Opening hours: Sun- Thurs: 8:00-14:00
Until 12 noon on Fridays and holiday eves
Until 15:30 on Saturday and holidays
Herzl House in Hulda Forest
Although never inhabited by Theodor Herzl, (he never set foot in Palestine), this charming stone house from the 1920s is located in the forest next to Kibbutz Hulda.
A video presentation explaining the development of the area in the face of Arab rioting and plundering in the 1930s. Farming in the area was difficult as water resources were scarce. Besides the video, an outdoor museum, replete with lifesize figures tells the story of Kibbutz Hulda, Arab riots and murders, the hardships endured by the farmers, and how the water supply problem was solved.
The outdoor museum never closes. Follow the numbered signs along the path and among the lifesize figures populating the forested area.
Sunday — Thurs: 9:00 – 16:30, with the last entry at !5:30.
Video languages: English, German, Hebrew.
Next door to the museum, dine at Beit Herzl Restaurant, a kosher French restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating. Meat and fish menu.
Beit Herzl Restaurant
Open for dinner only, Sunday thru Thursday at 18:00 until 22:00.
Call for reservations.
Buffalo Cheese Farm
Visit the Italian buffalo herd of Haim Triester on Moshav Bitzaron, near Gan Yavne. Visitors are welcome to watch the buffalo being milked at 17:00 (or at 6 AM…). The buffalo are huge and your pint size travelers will be impressed with their size, strong smell, and muddy stalls. Buy delicious (kosher) buffalo cheese at the farm shop. Picnic tables available.
Buffalo milk cheese is high in Vitamin A.
Shop Stop Alert: Adi Watches on Kibbutz Yavne
Kibbutz Yavne, founded by German Jews in the 1930s, has more than one industry to keep its 3rd and 4th generation members productively occupied. Besides olive and pickle canning, the kibbutz developed a watch design and production industry that has achieved global recognition. Exported to major cities in Europe and North America, Adi Watches compete internationally. This is your chance to pick up an Adi watch at factory outlet prices.
Kibbutz Yavne on Rte 42.
- Open daily except Saturday.
Bnei Darom Olive Oil Center
Bnei Darom is a national religious moshav shitufi located down the road from Kibbutz Yavne. One of their main industries is olive oil production. The educational center shows how olives are turned into gold liquid, and in season, from October to December, a hands-on workshop is given. A film explains the process and a tour of the processing center is given.
- Open daily except Saturday, but reservations are advised.
Kibbutz Revadim on the site of Ancient Ekron
Archeological excavations at Kibbutz Revadim proved that this was the site of the ancient Philistine town of Ekron. The museum chronicles the dig, displaying the impressive finds. Walk down a reconstructed Philistine street and find shards of ancient Roman glass (maybe). Kibbutz members have found many such shards, and cleverly turned them into jewelry.
Stop Shop Alert: Roman Glass Jewelry Factory Outlet
Roman Glass Jewelry of Kibbutz Revadim is sold in better stores around the world. Stop in here for your pick of exquisite designer jewelry which incorporates genuine Roman glass. Meet the in-house designers, and perhaps commission a piece.
- Open daily
Overnight accommodations are available at Kibbutz Revadim.