11.12.2014 | by: Meghan
Foodtripper

Inspiration: Outdoor Ovens

 

I recently got my hands on the renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s new cookbook, Mallmann on Fire, which is all about… cooking over fire. Wherever you happen to be in the world, with whatever materials you might have handy. This guy’s open-flame chops, while a bit daunting, will make you feel like you can make anything anywhere. Who needs a fancy grill when there are dirt, rocks, branches nearby? In one particularly brazen-looking method, he hangs a half dozen legs of lamb by butcher’s twine from a high-hanging branch of a big tree. Mallmann offers simple-enough recipes for every type of landscape you can think of, from a balcony in Brooklyn to the remote Patagonia mountains. His cooking-by-fire bible would certainly have come in handy when we stayed at Villa Pizzorusso — a masseria in Puglia with a 500-year-old stone oven. We spent five hours getting the temperature just right, only to discover at 10pm that we didn’t have flour and every last local market was long-closed. The whole affair– involving an embarrassing last-ditch attempt with packaged muffin mix — ended very badly.

We’re already planning our outdoor cooking oven at the farmhouse. In the meantime, a few other places to put Mallmann’s techniques to good use:

 

>>I’ve stayed here a handful of times and can attest: the outdoor oven works as good as it looks. // Casa Ninamu (above)

>>At this sweet country b&b in British Columbia, the handmade outdoor oven is inspiration for the one going in at the farmhouse.

>>Love the fire pit next to the outdoor dining table at this farmhouse, but there’s also a fantastic outdoor kitchen with a grill closer to the house.

>>And if you’re not ready to experiment, you can feast on Mallmann’s specialities at the source, where meat and vegetables are cooked according to an old Andean technique called infiernillo, which translates to little hell.

10.16.2014 | by: Meghan

Honor & Folly // Leelanau Peninsula

Bringing Honor & Folly to Northern Michigan — a place that has become a hugely important, soul-enriching part of our lives since moving to Detroit (see here, here, and here) — has been a torturously long and drawn-out process spanning several years and involving an unhealthy relationship with Realtor.com. We were entangled with an old farmhouse near Lake Michigan for more than a year, but in the end, it didn’t work out for various reasons, none of which I still fully understand (people are crazy when it comes to real estate). A few weeks ago I drove by, and the massive stone barn, where I envisioned a roster of dyeing, weaving, knitting and cooking workshops, is starting to fall down. We’ve walked through countless botched rehabs, re-imagined crumbling old Victorians with no wiring and moldy walls, and found disappointment in airless, overpriced lakeside cottages that smell like cat pee. On more than several occasions we didn’t even get out of the car after pulling up to a house (overlooking a subdivision/situated next to a junkyard/fill in the blank) that looked positively charming on the internet.

But — cliche alert — it was worth the wait to get it just right. Honor & Folly’s new Leelanau Peninsula outpost is a 1900s farmhouse situated on 20 acres with two barns and a trim little guest house, clad in metal and lined with cedar. I am still bowled over by how lucky we are. I drove 10 hours in one day last summer — there and back with the baby in the backseat — the day after it came on the market, and as soon as I pulled up the long driveway, flanked by a cherry orchard, my heart was beating out of my chest. Aside from one cycle of short-term renters, the farmhouse hasn’t been lived in for 20 years, which means: No tacky 90s rehab! It still needs quite a bit of work, but the bones are rock solid and the important details are refreshingly simple and Shaker-like. And you already know how I feel about the Shakers.

Outside, there are apple and cherry trees, wild carrots and asparagus, and a tangle of untamed landscaping that’s been shaped by two decades of natural elements. Inside, any progress so far, including pulling up carpeting to reveal painted wooden floorboards, feels like an unnoticeable swell in a vast ocean of to-do list line items. I’ll dedicate the fall and winter to getting the place ready for reservations for the spring and summer. In the meantime, I promise to keep you updated on all the workshops we’re dreaming up, artist/handicraft residency programs in the making, collaboration opportunities and general farmhouse progress. Currently accepting all ideas. 

09.05.2014 | by: Meghan
Homes to Stay

Stay: Shack Tamarack

Glen Arbor, Michigan

Last summer, we stayed in this modernist number by the renowned late Chicago architect Harry Weese. This summer, we moved next door to the more rustic log cabin, Shack Tamarack, that Weese designed for his family when he was 18 years old. Yes, 18 years old. It’s a beautiful example of vernacular Michigan lakefront architecture, and you can make out the formative signature details — master of space, cleverly situated bedrooms, modular hidden doors and compartments — tucked inside a traditional log cabin wrapper, made with cedar timbers from a nearby bog. Every detail is purposeful.

Some places were built for making memories, and when it comes to the quintessential family cabin, Harry Weese pretty much nailed it. Weese’s family still owns the house and has filled it regularly with friends and family for the past 82 years. Harry’s sister lives in the third house all summer long, and I love hearing stories that have played across generations of guests.

Here’s the thing: Yes, I am a sucker for smart, storied, well-designed spaces, and yes, I can be expected to properly rhapsodize about Shack Tamarack’s beautiful handmade textiles hanging from walls and slung over benches, antique rocking chairs, old wooden shelves lined with even older stoneware, and the giant stone fireplace built by hand. But I also understand what makes a place special, and it has more to do with how it makes you feel — relaxed and inspired, humbled even — than what it looks like. It’s about how spaces that truly capture a sense of place can transport you.

You know how you can read 100 picture books out loud to your kids on the same tufted L-shaped living room sofa, and they all sort of run together, like one big memory unit, each story folding into the next? Yet reading One Morning in Maine while actually in Maine, piling five deep in a queen bed looking out a giant picture window at the evergreen tree-lined coast — the same pointed evergreen trees and craggy coast in the book’s pages — is something you’ll never forget? Like you can still taste the salt in the air when you think about it? Or how you can grill fish 100 times in your own backyard, but somehow that freshly caught whitefish covered in herbs you picked from the garden next to the farmhouse you were staying in Northern Michigan will remain forever epic in deliciousness and culinary bravado. Therein lies the power of pulling yourself out of your everyday life and allowing even the littlest experiences — like, at Shack Tamarack, reading Mathilda by Roald Dahl on the porch swing and laughing until your side hurts, watching a wicked storm roll in from the pier, and cannonball contests off the dock — to live large in your memory as some of the most seminal of the trip.

I know I won’t remember all the details of how everything looked at Harry Weese’s family cabin (well, maybe the set of deer hooves that cradle a couple fishing rods over the dining room table), but I will never forget what we did there and who we were at that moment in time. Rent it at vrbo.com.

 

08.14.2014 | by: Meghan

Stay: On a Farm

This month in Food & Wine, I contributed to a feature about new American farms. Apricot Lane Farm in Moorpark, California (photos above), owned by Molly and John Chester, is new biodynamic farm that is developing something of a cult following among LA foodies (including a wait list for their eggs at Farmshop). After they get their product line off the ground (which will be a giant success if their cinnamon-peach butter and roasted garlic hot sauce are any indication), they plan to open a farm inn, which they refer to as a “luxury farm stay” — the kind of place where you get your hands dirty by day and sleep on high-thread count sheets by night. Guests will be able to take in the bucolic farm setting, while pitching in to feed the animals and harvesting fruit from the 80 varieties of fruit trees — walnuts, macadamia nuts, avocados, grapefruits, lemons, mulberry, persimmon, plums and pluots, pomegranates, cherries, figs. Molly, who also just released a cookbook, Back to Butter (with an intro by former client Beck), is chatty in all the best ways — interesting and generous with details — so I have no doubt she’ll make an amazing host.

In the meantime, here are a few other farms on my radar lately (in addition to these from the archives):

>>LIBERTY VIEW FARM. Who doesn’t want to stay in an adorable, tricked-out yurt in the middle of an apple orchard in upstate New York?

>>CHEF’S GARDEN. This Ohio farm is the place for beautiful, uncommon vegetables– more than 600 varieties of heirloom, herb, microgreens and edible flowers. It’s also where stressed-out chefs from around the country have been known to come to relax and regroup.

>>WORLDS END FARM (all photos below). The flower farm where the owners of Brooklyn’s Saipua have planted roots.This one is for the wish list category. Not a lodging option for everyone, unfortunately, but they do operate apprenticeships and opportunities to participate in work days.

07.17.2014 | by: Meghan
Homes to Stay

Stay: The Salt Box

Harbour Island, The Bahamas

I’m always excited to learn about vacation rentals owned by designers (this Travel + Leisure piece I wrote about designer’s own homes you can rent could use an update). Last week, during Remodelista’s dedicated coverage to the summer vacation rental, this list of their 33 favorite spots included a handful of places that have been featured on designtripper, as well as this breezy high-low beaut I’ve never seen before. Awash in the kind of lived-in, always-been-there details only a seasoned designer can pull off so effortlessly, the Salt Box is an old Bahamian cottage that interior designer Tom Sheerer brought back from the brink.

With reverence to the loyalist architecture and original materials — that weather-beaten, whitewashed-looking coral limestone and local Albaco pine — Scheerer’s renovation is an unaffected ode to the rustic charm of this 200-year-old cottage. There’s an old stone hearth in the kitchen and paint peeling from the clapboard shutters. Thonet bentwood chairs, a clawfoot tub and iron canopied bed command a simple elegance, and the rest is in the prime location: the middle of the historic Dunmore Town and a short walk to Pink Sands Beach. Book it at vrbo.com (sleeps six, $3,000 a week); I plan to.

[Photos via Remodelista]
07.02.2014 | by: Meghan
Homes to Stay

Stay: Mazzini 31

Monteleone, Umbria, Italy

Patrizio Fradiani has done it again. If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time, you’re probably already familiar with his genius (Podere Palazzo, Domus Civita, and Casa dos Chicos). Just finished, this three-bedroom, 17th-century noble apartment in the small Umbrian town Monteleone d’Orvieto is as much as a personal journey through his ancestral past as it is a painstaking historic renovation of faded frescos, tiled floors and crumbling old stone walls.

Patrizio bought the apartment a year ago, when he visited the town to reconnect with his great-great-grandfather’s legacy as a poet; there’s a plaque in the town square to honor him. After a massive, beyond-expectation undertaking– including restoring the original tarazzo floors and ornate frescoes painted in the 1800s of flowers, landscapes, angels and mythological creatures–Patrizio, who’s as romantic as his poet great-great-grandfather, is ready to share the story of his lineage in the language he knows best: architecture and design. My favorite discovery are the sketches he found under layers of wall coverings that some of the long-ago builders left behind, knowing they’d eventually be covered with fancy wallpaper or frescos — everything from schematic, layout details of to-be-constructed columns to a funny little sketch of the owner in a helmet riding an ostrich. He decided to leave them exposed in the living room so the history could be appreciated, the hand of those who came before him. “That’s what happens with these projects. It starts as something selfish — I fall in love with a building. Then I become part of the community and it becomes more about that —  a sense of belonging to a place that stands still in time. Everyone here is so excited about this renovation. It’s almost like I’ve helped restore the glory of Monteleone, or at least remind them of the potential. There are so many people in this little town who have been here for generations, and this project is about them now.”

Monteleone is surrounded by magical, lush Umbrian country landscapes, and Patrizio envisions Mazinni 31 as a retreat. Slow in pace and sublimely quiet. Suspended over the side of the cliff, the balcony unfolds across a gigantic valley into miles and miles of dramatic landscape, “almost all the way to Pienza… like sitting in the clouds and watching the atmospheric conditions play across the sky.” Yet in quintessential Patrizio style, the touches are modern and quirky. Every Patrizio project has handmade details, artwork he has created himself, and a pool as wow-factor. Set inside the former stables, this one does not disappoint. Not surprisingly, most of his vacation homes book quickly, but Mazzini 31 is brand-new, so there’s still availability this summer.

[All photos by Bob Coscarelli]

06.13.2014 | by: Meghan

From the Archive: Favorite Summer Spots

Lazy hammocks, oversized porches with worn wicker armchairs, poolside citrus groves, outdoor ovens. Here, a collection of places, that for a host of individual reasons, live in my memory as the epitome of summer vacation. The perfect trifecta of summertime haunts: Michigan, Maine and Italy. There’s no place I’d rather be.

Villa Pizzarusso, Puglia, Italy

Harry Weese Cabin, Glen Arbor, Michigan

Morse Mountain, Phippsburg, Maine

Podere Palazzo, Tuscany, Italy

Farmhouse, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

 

06.05.2014 | by: Meghan
Kidtripper

Check In: Serenbe

Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia

For spring break, we took a road trip south with stops in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Our end destination was a farmhouse inn in the Chattahoochee Hills called Serenbe, which I found the week before our trip and booked based on a slim handful of pretty photos online. And while it was every bit as pretty in person, it’s also the kind of place I’d only recommend to families of young-ish kids. If I was traveling without kids, I’d be grumbling about guest services, attention to detail, our botched reservation. But for little ones, who are blissfully unaware of such petty grievances, this place is magic. Let’s start with the pool: surrounded by flowers and trees, no other swimmers, and next to a covered porch with wicker furniture and a giant cushioned porch swing, where we read books and played cards for hours. A mini basketball court is tucked behind two wooden swings that dangle from an arbor covered in wisteria. A treehouse. A rock labyrinth. Goats, horses, pigs and bunnies. Trails, trampoline, a croquet lawn! My boys met the farmer every morning for a tractor ride to feed the farm animals. As parents, the best part was how much freedom they had to wander the grounds, exploring and getting lost in the kind of creative play that only comes from long, unplanned days and wide-open spaces. My oldest son made pals with the gardener, who was so sweet and let him help her in the garden, picking radishes for the restaurant, planting new seeds, watering — and explaining everything in the just-right way for a seven-year-old to understand and get excited about. He loves to draw, so she even dug out her original garden sketches to show him how she designed the beautiful circular beds and arbors.

For more persnickety adults, know that the sprawling farm is part of a newer residential and commercial development they call “the community” (to preserve my fantasy, I tried not to leave the farm, and sent my husband into “town” to pick up provisions. When the suburban sprawl came crawling, the owners decided to take matters into their own hands. The result has a Pleasantville vibe, but again, the kids didn’t seem to notice. They were too busy having fun.

05.15.2014 | by: Meghan
Inns & Hotels

Check In: The Pelican Inn

Muir Beach, California

My secret for test-driving a hotel or inn without committing to an overnight stay: Brunch. And The Pelican Inn didn’t disappoint. Outside: clinging, trailing wisteria. Inside: dark, moody and welcoming; windsor chairs; a fire in the hearth; and  all the broodiness of a proper British tavern. I’m sure this seven-guestroom Tudor, with every bit of dark wood and heavy drapery channeling the romantic spirit of a 16th-century coaching inn in the English countryside, is a lovely place to stay. So lovely, in fact, that it’s thronged on weekends with outdoor weddings and dinner guests toiling away on the grassy lawn waiting for a table. Get there when it opens on a Sunday, and you’ll be rewarded with a quiet, dim corner in front of the fireplace and a beautiful spread of English country fare — bangers, corned beef and hash, scones and jam, the works. Beyond-full and sublimely satisfied, my husband still wanted to stick around for the Ploughman’s lunch and a stout in the pub. Maybe we should have stayed the night after all.

05.08.2014 | by: Meghan
Homes to Stay

Go: Leiper’s Fork

Tennessee

Our spring break mission: Drive until it feels like summer. We wound up in Georgia (more on that later), and on our way back through Tennessee, we spent a few days exploring the country, stopping at battlefields, eating fried chicken at roadside diners and driving part of the Natchez Trace — a 444-mile stretch of historic road that winds through three states without a single billboard. By the luck of the road, we stumbled upon Leiper’s Fork. Blink and you’ll miss it. A small, unincorporated rural village south of Nashville, Leiper’s Fork is a small spit of country restaurants, antique shops and an arts collective or two, with enough honky-tonk charm and mountain motorcycle mojo to make it feel like the real deal. Aside from relishing in the beautiful, crumbling old crib barns in wide-open farmland — the bright green of a deep southern spring — walking into Puckett’s Grocery is perhaps the defining moment of this village. A no-frills old-school country grocery, its main draw is the stage — right inside the grocery store — surrounded by a clutch of mismatched tables and wooden chairs filled with folks tapping their toes and shoveling in the cherry smoke hot wings and fried green beans from the restaurant under the same roof. There are more tables out front, alongside a giant BBQ and a row of motorcycles, and it’s so wildly busy on Saturday nights, you have to make a reservation. Country Boy restaurant — every bit as country — is across the street, and you can hear the music from almost anywhere on the street. My boys met a charismatic, southern lady selling jam out front (or rather, she met us — “Bring that baby over here right now, you hear, she is just delicious!”) and they spent almost an hour soaking up her sweet southern charm and helping sell her colorful mason jars of jams, pickled hot peppers, peppery jellies and honey from the back of her truck. This is Leiper’s Fork.

The most fortuitous discovery of the pitstop: Shelter + Roost. We wanted to stay the night in Leiper’s Fork, but it was day-of and offerings are limited even well in advance. No big chains, thank heavens, or even daggy side-of-the-road motels. We sent an inquiry to Sarah McConnell, who owns a darling collection of country houses, with little to no hopes that we’d snag a reservation. Yup, everything was booked, but wait! The guests staying at Brigadoon are leaving a day early! She hustled in the cleaning crew and had it ready for us by mid-afternoon. So not only do we have a place to stay, but this post-Civil War cottage,  just a few steps from town on the main drag, is like a quirky British-by-way-of-Tennessee version of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. Old wooden floors, cushy furnishings and almost every square inch of wall covered with art, textiles and ephemera. We sat on the back porch under twinkling lights, and our boys played badminton in the backyard until the sun went down.

 

04.11.2014 | by: Meghan
Inns & Hotels

Check In: Manka’s Inverness Lodge

Inverness, California

I’ve been slow, reluctant even, to write about our stay at Manka’s — a beloved hunting lodge turned retreat in Inverness — perhaps because I want to draw out the experience of being there, or prevent it from being discovered — already a hopelessly lost cause. It’s no secret, this spot. Far from it, in fact, considering every magazine you know by name has piled heaps of praise at its rustic wooden stilts. And yet, tucked into the evergreens on along a beautiful slice of Tomales Bay, it still manages to feel secretive, humble and immensely special.

This is a testament to owner Margaret Grade, who bought the property (a hunting lodge and a handful of cabins, including the boathouse where we stayed). It was called Manka’s then, too — a nickname for the previous owner’s wife (it means Little Rascal in Polish). Margaret spruced up the interiors. And by spruced up, I mean totally revamped with just-right amenities like soaking tub, outdoor shower and the comfiest twin leather armchairs in front of the hearth made of salvaged wood. The decor is an homage to the structure’s original function: vintage fishing nets, worn wooden oars, and a collection of black-and-white photos that link the place to its past.

Even though the legendary, locally sourced restaurant, which made the place a cult destination among the highest order of West Coast foodies, burned to the ground eight years ago, the in-room dining experience still feels rooted in the surrounding land and everything that it provides. Every morning, a slender wooden box is filled to brim with delectable local morning treats, blanketed with The New York Times, and delivered to the doorstep. Homemade yogurt and granola, sticky buns and hand-pressed apple cider one morning, and eggs with bacon and goat cheese another. Each bundle comes with a simple slip of paper — little fortune scrolls to detail the ingredients: what beekeeper made the honey and from what dairy farm came the cheese (in most cases, a neighbor or friend just down the road). Everything feels intentional, but the great efforts are rarely seen. Invisible gestures are manifest in the form of handwritten welcome notes, a beautifully photographed coffee table book as guide left on the window seat, food cooked with all the care. Our second night there, a fireside dinner was delivered by a local character who wears a cowboy hat and has lived in the area for decades. He regaled us with stories about how so much has changed (the Silicon Valley execs), and so much that hasn’t (the land is preserved, so it’s every bit as jaw-dropping and mystical as its always been. You’ve been warned: a foggy morning drive through the rolling knolls and ranch land, punctuated by ocean views, bluffs, wildflowers and redwoods may induce a desire to get out of the car and burst into song, Julie Andrews the-hills-are-alive-style). The whole thing is a splurge, but if you have a special occasion to plan a getaway around, it’s definitely splurge-worthy. We were celebrating our 10-year anniversary, and our cowboy friend insisted we eat at the table overlooking the bay even though it was pitch-black outside. He was right. A sense of calm and hopefulness comes from knowing what vast beauty glimmers just beyond the window. Kind of like the next ten years of marriage.

 

03.27.2014 | by: Meghan

Scenes from Point Reyes

We just got back from Northern California, and I can still feel the vibrant spring in my bones. Point Reyes is a nationally protected, majestic, dream-like cape teeming with wildlife, meadows full of flowers, and foggy shoreline vistas that will make your heart stand still. During weekends, the outdoor enthusiasts (and their backpacks, kayaks, bicycles) arrive by the throngs, but we were there mid-week, and it could not have been more peaceful. Long, quiet hikes paid off with up-close sightings of tule elk, deer, bobcats, snakes, groundhogs, harbor seals and far-off glimpses of elephant seals and whales. We hiked every single day, nearly all day, and ate oysters for every meal. Next week, a post about the old storied boathouse where we soothed sore legs in front of the oversized hearth or beside the window watching the birds swoop and gather on Tomales Bay.


 

 

03.05.2014 | by: Meghan
Inns & Hotels

Check In: Trasierra

Cazalla de la Sierra, Andalusia, Spain

This month, I wrote a story about a new brand of innkeeper for the re-imagined and redesigned Conde Nast Traveler, which is stunning thanks to Pilar Guzman and Yolanda Edwards and their powerhouse team. The personality-driven inn means that the owner is not only a pivotal part of the experience, they are the experience. Their good, quirky and eccentric tastes and big personality informs every last detail — from cooking and serving meals to outfitting the space with hand-picked furniture, art and books from their personal collections. These are people who invite guests into their homes — their worlds — and the connection they make with guests becomes the very thing worth traveling for.

One of the three places featured, Trasierra is a former olive mill turned country house that owner Charlotte Scott brought back from dilapidation 20-plus years ago. When she moved in, they lived there for a few years without electricity. It’s been her life’s work, and and now, her signature can be found in every corner — handmade pillows, fabric draped over tables, wicker baskets and straw hats hanging on walls, herbs drying from arches and doorways, cut wildflowers displayed in pitchers — and even outside, where she designed hikes through the 350-acre property based on where flowers look prettiest during certain times of day. All four of her children are involved (and always have been, even when they were little). One of her daughters cooks, another teaches yoga. One of her sons helps organize excursions to wineries and gaming estates, and the other is a musician who visits regularly and still helps out. When I talked to Charlotte about her innkeeping ethos, I was inspired by her refreshingly laid-back approach to making Trasierra “a place that nourishes.” Below, a few insightful tidbits from her no-flash take on hospitality.

On “no flash”: There’s no flash here. No obvious displays of wealth or luxury. It’s more relaxing when you don’t feel intimidated. It’s not untidy, but it’s not perfect either. There’s no place to go to show off. It’s an equalizer and that’s very important. You see so much nature, it shows you where your place is.

On creating comfort: This is where I would love to be a guest. It’s a natural spa without any of the fuss. No body feels in awe of anything. All the rooms are different, because I’ve had to do them at different times as I had money. They all have charms, which makes it feel like a home, not a hotel.

On privacy: I’ve mastered becoming an unseen presence. If I’m asked, I’ll join a guest for a drink or dinner, but otherwise, it’s the guest’s house. I’m not hovering. If they want to move a chair or a cushion, I don’t want them to feel like someone is breathing down their neck.

On the importance of disconnecting: We arrange everything for guests, so you don’t have to panic about whether there’s wifi in every room. It teaches people how to relax. You don’t have to have an office in your room. Otherwise, you’re bringing your distractions with you on your holiday. Too many people travel with their computers, and they never really get to have a vacation.

02.25.2014 | by: Meghan

Check In: Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island, Newfoundland

Even though the Fogo Island Inn is a real looker–with architecture and design that’s as slick as it gets–it’s all about the intentions here, folks. Nutshell: An unlikely group of people come together to preserve a way of life in rural Newfoundland. And in a refreshing break from the sales-y marketing talk of so many socially responsible entrepreneurial efforts, the Fogo Island Inn’s mission feels straightforward and honest: enriching the lives of the locals and sustaining local craftsmanship and tradition. In the handful of months since it opened, more than 60 islanders are being trained to make quilts, rugs and textiles. On the homepage of the inn’s website, photos of locals and hotel employees outnumber photos of the knockout-beautiful hotel, showing exactly what they value: the artists, carpenters, boatbuilders, fisherman and foragers who make up the community. The inn is run as a charity (there are no investors who need to be paid), and the primary mission is to reinvest in the community. And since we’re being honest, the simply and thoughtfully decorated rooms with wood-burning stoves, rocking chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows with staggeringly beautiful views of the rugged, wild coast don’t hurt either.