My Summer Cottage *Video*

Summer CottageOne of the benefits of living as a nomad is that I get to stay in all manner of places. Usually these amazing abodes come to me word of mouth, which is how I came to live in a small cottage among the vineyards of Sonoma for the last month.

Pretty & Private

What caught my attention first were the grounds of the cottage which are stunningly beautiful. Hacienda style, the building are all painted a distinctive “adobe orange,” which has mellowed over time to a soft rose pink. Emphasizing the Spanish style are colorful tiles inset into the adobe and fanciful wrought-iron touches along the walls and gates.

The property is nearly 3 acres of wine-producing vineyards, grown from a cutting of one of the oldest vines in Sonoma (or so I’m told). It features a Bali-inspired pool, plush rose garden, and a multi-room green house for the tender care of the owner’s orchids. Colorful rope hammocks are strung just beside an ancient fig tree offering the most perfectly ripened fruit. Nirvana!

In addition to the main house where the owners live, there’s a suite of home offices, an additional rental space called the Hummingbird Suite (named after the humming birds attracted to the massive pink-blossomed mimosa tree outside), a rustic cantina for parties (complete with misters to keep you cool during Sonoma’s hot days), and my private cottage set back from the main grounds in a small grove of olive trees.

Small & Sweet

At just over 500 sq. ft., my summer cottage has just two rooms – a main living area and a bedroom. The cottage’s space expands though with a walk-in closet, fully functioning kitchen, and two private patios, front and back. There’s also a working fireplace in the bedroom and a bathroom that opens up to the back patio so I can shower al fresco!

Here’s a quick tour of this quaint space:

Can’t see the video? Click here: Erin’s Writer Retreat

My Writer’s Retreat

The cottage sits on a quiet street, walking distance to Sonoma’s famed town square. From the get-go, I knew this would be the perfect place to spend a quiet month finishing up my next writing project. I decided to make it into my very own “Writer’s Retreat.”

Sonoma valleyPart of this plan for writing solitude was self-imposed and part was due to circumstance. While the cottage has a TV, the cable wasn’t working properly and even though the owners offered to fix it, I declared a personal TV hiatus. This led to more work, listening to music, and reading every night. A fantastic combination that in turn led to more sleep, relaxation, and creativity.

 Sociable Solitude

This owners also discouraged lots of guests to help protect the privacy of the space. Luckily, these restrictions were soon relaxed and I had several friends come and spend the night and partake in the splendor of the grounds with me. We’d visit local restaurants, go to hear local bands, visit neighborhood wineries, take early morning hikes, and drink fruit smoothies by the pool. Summertime at its finest!

I also became fast friends with the owners Jon & Jackie and was often invited to their dinner parties, to dine out in Sonoma, and attend parties with their friends. Sometimes I’d just pop over for dinner and we’d stay up playing Scrabble late into the night.

Cottage Nesting

I now only have a few days left in my cottage retreat. As I sit quietly on the sun-speckled back patio I think of how I spent my time during the last month. I was able to make new friends and explore the town of Sonoma like a local. I went for long 1-2 hour walks each evening, waiting for the day to cool and the wind to pick up before I headed out to walk among the vineyards.

I also spent a lot of time doing nothing. Like visiting the baby goats as they play in a nearby field. Or watching kids play in local Little League games or the seniors compete during their weekly bocce matches. I’d take writing breaks and lie on the chaise on the patio to stare at the blue sky or follow the fat squirrels as they romped among the trees overhead.

Sonoma Serenity

My time at my Sonoma cottage was serene, offering equal measures of social and silence. It was relaxing and yet intellectually invigorating with the influx of music, interesting conversation, and literature in my life. To me, it was the perfect way to spend a summer month, basking in the sunshine, forming slow friendships, and enjoying the creative energy that abounds in small-town Sonoma’s peaceful countryside.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 18th, 2014 and is filed under Home.

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