Local and International Guests keeping us full up

I love it when I get reviews like this:

Altamente recomendable, una maravilla en mitad del campo y muy cerca de Yosemite.

(Translation: Highly recommended, a wonder in the middle of the countryside and very close to Yosemite.)

And that was from a US based family who had an extra kid tag along at the last minute making for a very tight fit!

My German guests are now family friends. They did not want to leave until the last minute. My Spanish students, via San Diego thought they had died and gone to heaven – it really is a different experience for city people, especially poor students who have not lead the high or exotic life. My French visitors left me a fine bottle of French wine.  My Chinese visitors that barely spoke a word left a big comment in my guest book all in Chinese! Oh how I love you all.

FoxInHoleApart from the usual deer and wild turkey sightings, my guests report skunk (luckily he kept going) and bobcat too while my son and I have seen two different foxes in the  street side late at night. The one I saw looked like this guy which I had earlier photographed at my old house up the street.

Waterfall in Yosemite

The heat wave continues so hiking Vernal Mist trail in Yosemite is popular as you get the cool misty breeze on yourself at all times – if you make it high enough. But all the falls are still running despite no rain all summer. And now the river has become safe to play in and many guests are using that option to cool off in the park before returning to the cabin.

Posted in Cottage Items, Garden trails, Yosemite National Park

All Safe – All Clear – Lights are on

As friends, family and guests from across the country and around the world contact me to see if I am safe during the big Detwiler fire in the region, please be assured I am fine and was monitoring it continuously.  In fact, electricity is back on so great to have a real shower again, even as we continue to monitor situation.

My first concern is always my guests. This time I could not send them on their way immediately as two of their party were climbing Half Dome, and then had some bus issues as roads got rerouted. But we worked together and they only had a short night by flashlights and water containers.

While you are all watching national news and hysterical reporters, we were in touch locally. The fire never made it into town per se, though town was evacuated to make way for firefighters and tanker bombers (a lot of it is reddish now from the retardant).  But we are 10+ miles up the hill away from closest point.  Also, a community like this has many local ways of communicating, including CalFire and Sheriff etc that the world never knows about. Like traffic marshals who close off roads tell you a whole story. My cottage housekeeper is used to buzzing all round town so she spreads the word and of course we are all checking with each other.

member of Yosemite Gateway PartnersPlus I am a member of Yosemite Gateway Partners and Mariposa Chamber of Commerce and all these sources are giving us updated info, as does the national park service and many locals on their Facebook posts (often the quickest spot for news). I was even checking on my old house as the new tenant is a Park Ranger and she was busy being a ranger on overtime. My former landlord and I stay in touch… especially when he can see the fire from Merced, but all I saw was smoke across the valley.

Now you know why my new garden hasn’t been planted. I have been too busy cutting grass and clearing downed trees. In fact, first 6 weeks I was here last year I had the lumberjack bring down all big dead trees resulting from the drought and beetle bark infestation.

Many years ago I lived on a small farm in South Africa. I fondly remember doing my homework by candelight or hurricane lantern when the electricity was out. (I still made it to Silicon Valley as a techy). And no water. Who cares until you get thirsty.  We often used to fill the bathtubs at the first sign of a big storm.  So this past week I was happy to finally test live my backup 300gal water tank. Takes some manual switching of a valve to reverse water flow, but then works great to drive a small trickle to house but plenty into hosepipes to fill up buckets and containers – for me and some neighbors! And since I have my own big propane tanks, all I had to do was find a match to do some cooking.

Well looks like I now get a short break with no guests. But next week I am encouraging them all to return. I have personally been in contact with all those expected within two weeks, mostly to do with road issues getting here. But we are open and Yosemite is fully open.

PS Thanks to Airbnb for preserving my status despite the forced cancellations.

Posted in Cottage Items, Yosemite National Park

Yeah.. we made SuperHost status

SuperHost on AirbnbJust heard from Airbnb that I have received SuperHost status, exactly 90 days after hosting my first traveling party. Now we will show up in SuperHost searches and also get priority support. Plus we have something to live up to.

I always expected to be asked what to see in Yosemite, which trails to hike, etc. Little did I know that I would have to become a parking expert! Yes, I learn from my guests and all the local media and the National Park media. But on days like yesterday when the gates were closed after the whole place ran out of parking (on a Tues no less), there is not much I can do. Luckily my current guests listened to me even though they said they areChapel at Buttefly Creek Winery aka YosemiteWinery.com not morning people. They made the effort to clear the main gate before 10am and it seems to have paid off.

Separately, on one of my reviews a guest wrote: “And you really should visit the adjacent winery. The wine is excellent and Bob is a national treasure!” If you want a small romantic wedding, do check out their little 16 person chapel in the vineyard.

Posted in Cottage Items

Sold Out with great reviews

Today I discovered Home Away from Home featuring our very own cottage in some of their Facebook ads.  No wonder we are sold out through August. And yes, we did find a number of minor things when our first few guests came by. However, we have great reviews on Airbnb, HomeAway and our own guest book, so my goal and dream is being realized.

Route 120 into Yosemite via Tioga PassIt is so lovely to host guests from around the country and around the world. I love to see how they plan and explore the trails of Yosemite, despite the summer crowds, a brief landslide, a nearby fire and lots of parking problems if you get up late. But it is a big and wonderful park with still plenty of snow at the higher altitudes feeding the waterfalls in a spectacular fashion.

Even Tioga Pass Rd across the top to Nevada is now open, despite what Google says. Can you imagine how much snow was at the top (4 stories high) that it took till mid June to dig the road out for the season.

Posted in Cottage Items

And the Falls kept flooding down

Yosemite double falls home stayWell despite the heat, the waterfalls in Yosemite continue to pound down because there is still plenty of snow up on top that has to melt yet. Can you believe Tioga Pass (over top into Nevada) is still not open to traffic?  And Glacier Point has only been open about ten days for vehicles, with strict warnings for hikers that if they get off the trails up there they should expect winter-like conditions. And the river in the valley is running so high and strong that it is not open for recreation.

But this is the majesty of Yosemite National Park and why visitors from all around the world visit. And a few stay in my little cottage at Frontier Hill where the big trees and location cut off most of the heat. I am really encouraging guests to take some meals out on the deck so they can enjoy the fresh air and view. If you plan ahead it is really easy to cook on the barbecue. I suggest something simple the first night, like hotdogs or hamburgers (including garden burgers and salmon burgers). Maybe shish kabobs the second night. These are very little fuss if you prepare them in advance.  Then something like chicken breasts and thighs the third night.

The barbeque is ready for you with starter block and matches and briquettes when you check in, plus plenty more in the storage room. You can even move to the card table and camping chairs and sit elsewhere in the garden for a change of view – or maybe a picnic closer to the river (now only a trickle). There are even candles and spray to keep the bugs away at sunset.

Do also try taking breakfast outdoors. You probably don’t get that option much in the city. At least your tea or coffee while you fill your lungs with fresh mountain air.

When we tried to add a water filter to the kitchen faucet we found the whole unit was showing signs of decay inside, even though it still looked shiny and bright.  Anyway, with some help I replaced it all, so there are now brand new pipes all way back to the wall, apart from the new faucet with its cute little filter for really pure drinking water. Bottled water is still provided for those who prefer that neutral taste.

Finally a new DVD player has been hooked up, though most guests seem to be warn out from the hike of their lives to bother staying up. Sorry I only have a very small selection of titles so do bring your own, especially if they are needed to entertain little kids and the offerings on DISH TV are not sufficient.

PS Highway 140 is open again directly to the valley floor.  Thanks to our location, guests who had to take the longer route around  for a few days still got to spend full days hiking and visiting.

Hint:  If you only have 2 nights to visit here, why not do a half day in the park on arrival day? You can always check-in a little later if need be. Then you get that extra time plus the whole next day at the park to explore your favorite trails. Maybe even get some sunset shots to add to what is always a great photographic experience.

Posted in Cottage Items, Yosemite National Park

We are ready to TOT

County Tourist tax certificate

Well now you see it folks. Not only have we passed all County inspections, we have a certificate to prove it. And from now on out Mariposa County will be looking for us to pay 11% of all occupancy fees to them each month. Yes, Transient Occupancy Tax is the main source of income for this county, especially when you think of 11% of all those super expensive rooms in Yosemite Park itself. Of course, they don’t quote that percentage in their rates. Just a nice surprise at checkout.

But we have to tell you all about it on HomeAway or this our own site or build it into the Airbnb rates – how can they not allow for a tax line item, especially with all the business they do in Europe?

Posted in County Regs

Found our river ford

I have now lived here over 6 months, and I finally found the river ford, thanks to help from a gardener. I never went the right way around the big fallen Oak tree before. In fact, I consider crawling across the tree to get to the other side of the river, but I am not as nimble and young as I used to be.

Hiking on Yosemite VacationAnyway, here is the ford. All dry for first time in months as we haven’t had rain for about 10 days, but notice in left of picture how water is still gushing out pipe under the ford. Like many other things on this property, looks like original owner threw concrete over some local rocks to make this.

It leads to an old spring and cistern, now still with water but dirty and overgrown. Unfortunately the trail from there goes up steeply and is heavily wooded. I will have to return with some shears to make a trail out of there one day so we can explore the brush side of the river in detail.

Posted in Garden trails

Opening in May

Watch for all the action in May

Posted in Uncategorized

Almost ready to go…

Rain, rain and more rain. But at least we have the beauty of the pond and the river and the waterfall. It is so unusual to go outside and actually hear the water gushing. Usually it is so quiet here. We don’t hear the road, except our side lane if someone visits the winery. Just the birds.

Vacation rental cottage in the trees

A big grey egret has adopted our pond, which you can see overfull in the picture below. Hope he isn’t too sad to find no fish (the pond leaks badly and dries up in summer). But there are plenty of juicy frogs. Maybe he can even catch a small gopher.

PondReflectCabin

My son and I spent a few hours in Yosemite on Xmas Eve. Spectacular scenery of course. Where else in world can you walk to such high falls framed by the trees? My little photo does not do it justice. Sunshine but none of the snow had even started to melt yet. Yosemite Vacation Rental Cabin

Meanwhile back at our cabin we only see snow behind us on the mountain tops. None down at our 2,800ft (900m) elevation yet.Here is a sneak peek at the decor scheme evolving in the cabin. All brand new furniture, crockery, cutlery, pots & pans, mattresses and allergy resistant bedding.

Main Bedroom in home away from home Yosemite Mariposa

Inquiries:  Owner and onsite manager Martin Foden:

See Contacts

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello Yosemite Visitors

There is a reason Yosemite National Park is the most photographed natural attraction in the USA – its magnificence.  A park in California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains. A park of four distinct seasons. A park of fantastic natural beauty preserved forever as a gift to outdoor lovers everywhere.

My small vacation home details will be posted here shortly so that you and your family can have your own affordable pleasant stay close to the park.

HalfDomeSmall

With room for the kids to run and jump, as well as some of the pets. With your own fresh herbs. A place to cool off, or warm up, after a long day in the park. A quiet relaxation away from the grind of motels and restaurant row.

A very peaceful stay up in the hills of Mariposa close to Yosemite’s main all year round low West Gate entrance.

 

Safari Jewelry from California elephant hair knot braceletsAnd for a change of pace, wander over to my studio near the cabin. If I Wildlife jewelryam working there do stop in and see how we make the safari and wildlife jewelry for Safari Gold. See www.safarigold.com.

Posted in Uncategorized