About This Listing
Writers, artists, musicians, naturalists, social and environmental activists, families, students, travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and people needing a respite from the buzz of life will enjoy the peace and wonder of our solar homestead and forest.
We have four listings for our home. If by chance you choose a listing and receive a message that conveys it's unavailable, please try other listings.
About Solar Living in the Emerson Brook Forest:
Once the last of our three children moved away, we decided to share our spacious solar powered homestead with others. Oriented for southern exposure, our "off grid" battery-based solar electric homestead had its beginnings in 1981. In addition to being AirBnB hosts, we are proprietors of Green Energy Options Solar Store in Keene, a local resource for energy conservation education, independent power systems and energy efficient appliances and heating. Our home, located 12 miles from the vibrant city of Keene, is a bit of a showcase for our business and philosophy.
We have three rooms with queen-sized beds, and one room with a twin sized bed for guests to choose from upon arrival at the house. All of the rooms have special qualities and we continuously get compliments on all of the beds. If by chance the first room listing is filled for a particular calendar day, please look into our other room listings view their availability.
On occasion, when needed and possible, we offer our second floor master bedroom with an adjacent living room. This space does not have it’s own bathroom but provides a sense of privacy and accommodates up to four people.
Our home has a wheelchair accessible ramp to the main floor bedrooms and bath as well as a separate entrance to our ground level living space, which includes an accessible shower. While our home may not be certified accessible, we welcome inquiries from those who might value our attempt to be inclusive.
In addition to our comfy bedrooms, we have a sunroom, an ground-level den with a woodstove, hammock and couch; 2 shared bathrooms (one with a shower the other a bathtub), a living room with piano and couch, as well as south and north facing porches. Two bathrooms offer on-demand heated water for shower or bath. Our open-concept kitchen faces birdfeeders, a fruit orchard and perennial gardens. With some advanced notice and additional fee, we are happy to provide wholesome breakfast and dinner meals made from organic or locally grown ingredients.
We also offer the possibility of a wood-fired hot tub, and therapeutic massage.
Andre, our chocolate lab is just about the sweetest dog we’ve ever met. Being an only child, he received lots of training early on to make him the kind of dog that was more pleasure than work. If he has any flaws, it’s that he’s overly thrilled (for about one minute) to see every new face. We have two cats, Maude and Daenerys who are completely domesticated but exclusively outdoor cats. They help us keep our space mouse free. They eat and sleep in the confines of our back porch where they are safe from their natural predators. Help us keep our promise to cat allergic guests by not intentionally or unintentionally inviting them in. For the well-being of, and out of respect for our resident animals and sometimes poultry, we are unable to host our guest's companion animals.
In addition to our comfy bedrooms, we have a sunroom, a ground level den with a woodstove, hammock and couch; 2 shared bathrooms (one with a shower the other a bathtub), a living room with piano, as well as south and north facing porches. Two bathrooms offer on-demand heated water for shower or bath. Our open-concept kitchen faces bird feeders in the winter, a fruit orchard and perennial gardens. With some advanced notice and additional fee, we are happy to provide wholesome breakfast and dinner meals made from organic or locally grown ingredients.
We also offer the possibility of providing the luxury of a wood-fired hot tub, and therapeutic massage.
Interaction with Guests
As documented by our reviews, we thoroughly enjoy the social aspects of hosting. We see every guest who enters our home as a gift. We love learning about the world through other people’s eyes. Whenever possible we invite people to join us for meals (see more about meals below) and frequently end up spending hours togethr at the kitchen table playing Mexican Train Dominos or a game of our guests choosing (providing its easy enough to learn and won’t get in the way of socializing!). We’ve also hosted guests who are working on books, creating curriculum, or otherwise just need time alone. We understand and respect this need.
We live in the beloved Emerson Brook Forest. It’s a refuge from the fast pace world, a place to unwind, and reconnect to the natural world. Our home is adjacent to miles of surrounding woodland trails suitable for hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, swimming and exploring. The immediate neighborhood includes The Sustainability Project’s Emerson Brook Forest Nature Center, which features wheelchair accessible trails and edible forest gardens. We are an easy drive to several public recreational areas including Pitcher Mountain (great blueberry picking from July through August) and beautiful Mount Monadnock (reputed to be the second most climbed mountain in the world, after Mount Fuji in Japan.) Mole Hill Theater which hosts live music and theater is a seven-minute drive away.
Nearby Keene is home to Keene State College (and the Redfern Art Center and Thorne Sagendorf Art Gallery) and Antioch University, the Colonial Theater, several recreation parks and nearly 90 restaurants from which to choose. The Keene Music Festival, hosting more than 90 bands of all persuasions, takes place annually on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
While there is no public transportation between Gilsum and Keene (unless, one considers hitchhiking as such and we do pick up hitchhikers!), Pablo and I are willing, when available, to pick up and drop off our guests travelling by bus, train and airplane for a fee of .50 per mile including driving miles before and after pick up and drop off.
Other Things to Note
Please read our House Rules which contain some repeated information as well as more detailed information.
This little note is for absolute dog lovers. Andre loves hiking leash-less, up the hill, deeper into the forest. (We never take him down the road toward the state highway and cars). About 1/4th of a mile up the hill there is a large clearing with a beautiful pond. Andre is a fetcher, swimmer. If you would like him to accompany you up the hill, let us know and we'll give you more information.
Good things to know about our home:
Our house is sun powered using solar panels. Each room has one electrical outlet that runs off an inverter to power certain regular devices such as a laptop computer, cell phone charger and small CPAPs. Let us know if you need to use an appliance with a larger electrical demand such as a hairdryer or iron and we will turn on the generator for you. Because the house is not hooked up to the grid (public utilities) and depends on sunlight and battery storage to power our electrical needs, we pay attention to turning off lights when they're not in use.
Our kitchen does not offer a dishwasher. (Did you know that washing dishes by hand offers a great opportunity to practice mindfulness?) We also do not have a microwave. We have an efficient gas range for cooking and baking needs.
Radiant heat, produced by a wood-fired boiler located just outside of our living space, serves as our primary heating system. We also have a highly efficient indoor wood stove for taking away a chill during the warm season or for providing the ambiance of a dancing fire.
We love visits from families. We ask parents to guide children in caring for our home. This means distinguishing between outdoor and indoor play, using napkins at meal times, picking up toys, and being considerate of other guests.
Out of consideration for guests with asthma, chemical sensitivities and those who just appreciate the smell of fresh air, we ask people to refrain from applying perfume, heavy deodorants and insect repellants until outside.
Fine Dining (about Meals)
Our nutrition comes from mostly organic locally grown foods. In the warm season, our meals are usually inspired by what's ripe in our garden. We love to cook (and eat) and are most always delighted to prepare meals for our guests. We offer a royal breakfast on weekends for $10 per person. Pablo's waffles made with fresh ground ingredients (and no wheat) are a favorite. We also offer main breakfast dishes of French toast, pancakes, omelets. We serve coffee (made from fresh ground locally roasted organic coffee beans) as well as tea, juice or cocoa. Let us know if you are interested and we will have breakfast ready at your requested time. When possible, during the week, (before we run off to work) we're happy to facilitate lighter breakfasts, such as fruit and yogurt, oatmeal or cream of rice, eggs and toast, priced at $5-7.
We're happy--with advanced notice--to prepare a dinner meal, guided by our guest’s dietary needs or preferences. We ask for a contribution of $15 for each meal per person with an additional charge for alcoholic beverages. Often guests bring their own favorite beer or wine to round out a meal and we’re fine with this.
About the wood-fired hot tub
Do you ever have trouble imagining what bliss is? Let a wood-fired hot tub remind you. Enjoy this incredibly soothing (even in extremely cold temperatures) outdoor experience. The tub enhances stargazing and one's ability to tune into the natural world, any time of day. We need two days notice before you arrive. This is how long it takes for us to prepare the hot tub for you. Gravity filling from our stream takes about five hours and bringing it up to temperature (102-108 degrees Fahrenheit or 38-42 degrees Celsius) can take up to 12 hours depending on how cold it is outside. Maintaining the right temperature requires careful tending. Because of what’s involved in the process, we ask for an additional fee of $75 for the first use and $25 for additional uses. For hygienic reasons, we request showering before use.
Guests are encouraged to spend their departure day out hiking trails and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. We do ask that you vacate your room and reload your car between 10 and 11 am. This gives us time to prepare rooms and the house for next guests.
All questions about our unique homestead are welcome. We thank you in advance for speaking up about your needs. We look forward to sharing this beautiful place with you.
Sincerely, Valerie Piedmont and Pablo Fleischmann
Valerie and Pablo have a lovely home and they are so welcoming. We didn't get a chance to taste their cooking but the room was very comfortable. Nice soft sheets, comfy bed, nice bathrooms. Beautiful area with fresh air, and Valerie gave us a great recommendation for a quick hike on nearby Pitcher Mountain.
Staying with Valerie was a very pleasant experience. Valerie and Pablo are both very down to earth people. The house is beautiful and has a very interesting story. Andre is great and a lot of fun to play with (hes a dog). The bed was comfortable and the room was nice. Overall it was a great experience. Make sure to communicate before you head out of Keene towards Gilsum as I lost cell phone service right outside Keene.
Valerie, Pablo, and their furry son Andre are the best kind of AirBnB people - warm, welcoming, accommodating, and helpful. And beyond their capacity as gracious hosts, they are endlessly funny, interesting, and exemplary as a dynamic team helping to better the world. From their sustainability project to the fruits and veggies blossoming in their home garden, they cultivate more life and joy. Our stay in their home was no different! My boyfriend and I slept on a comfy bed in a lovely, private room in their home. And in the morning, Pablo made us his amazing, healthful waffles. Valerie had great tips about where to explore in the nearby town, Keene, and Andre the dog afforded us a lovely walk up the hill to a scenic pond. All in all, our stay at Emerson Brook Forest couldn't have been better. Thanks, Val and Pablo! You are an inspiration!
We had an amazing weekend in Gilsum! The house and surrounding property are beautiful and made for a perfect setting for a relaxing forest getaway. Valerie and Pablo were both extremely friendly and welcoming, making us feel at home from the moment we arrived. We really enjoyed talking with them over meals and games in the house, and they also gave us great recommendations for hiking and exploring in the area. Pablo's homemade breakfasts were delicious and included fresh vegetables picked from their garden. On top of all of that, spending time with Andre the adorable lab was a huge highlight! Overall it was a lovely experience and we hope to return in the future!
Our hosts were marvelously welcoming and we loved the engaging conversations, terrific brunch and exploring the natural surroundings.
Our stay was great - we were welcomed warmly and not only shared a delicious meal together our first night - but played some fun dominos together which left my son saying "I really like them, they're so nice and really fun!" We both felt right at home. They offered helpful tips for our adventures too.
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