Stay: Garden Cottage

Santa Cruz, California
04.13.2012 | by: Meghan

I’m a sucker for a good road trip, especially one that ends at a sweet little cabin as magical as this. Texas-based writer/editor Shaunna Nygren recently met some friends in San Francisco and packed up the car for a coastal road trip along Highway One and  a few days in Santa Cruz. They managed to kill an entire day at the Bookshop Santa Cruz (highly recommended), but for the better part of their visit, it was all about the big rustic farm table in the backyard with a bottle of wine. Here, a first-hand report: 

We found a minimalistic one-bedroom cabin of sorts with off-beat charms and loads of character in Santa Cruz’s Westside. Michelle, our free-spirited hostess, greeted us donning a bikini and sarong offering up a home tour with tales of past drifters and travelers. She is an artist who works with brass, leather and bone— a hauntingly beautiful display of her creations are placed throughout the home. The result is a sort of gallery-meets-bed-and-breakfast. While we stayed in the studio out back, we had full access to the kitchen and bathrooms in the main house by way of a brick pathway. In the mornings, a freshly-baked poppy seed cake awaited us on the wooden kitchen table. The cabin out back is modest and fairly rustic with an antique brass bed, a distressed-wooden dresser and an old Decca record player (we packed our favorite records). It feels like your own secret hideaway. A big tin wash basin sits just outside the door but the most alluring feature is the claw-foot tub beneath a cascading willow tree. The gardens aren’t limited to flowers. Strange installations, found objects and salvaged lawn furniture are scattered among the greenery. It was an unexpectedly lovely stay. Every morning, we walked with our coffees in hand toward West Cliff, a path along the ocean, to take in the morning surf and fog. Rent it at airbnb.com.

[Photos: All photographs by Ashley Camper]

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