About this listing
Privacy and quiet abound in this smartly apportioned one queen bedroom, one full bath and one full-sized futon couch in the living/dining/kitchen area. Delight in our "Contemporary Bohemian" decor complete with lots of color -- fun marine blue in the main rooms and Tantric yellows, oranges, and reds in the sexy master bedroom. Enjoy cosmopolitan panache, fresh flowers in every room and Buddhist sacred objects from the owner’s extensive travels to 45 countries around the world. Cute and cozy camper with queen bed is available for those interested in a lodging adventure or even more privacy. Seven-person capacity hot tub is always set to your preferred temperature and looks up through a grandmother old growth Redwood tree. Owner is professional massage therapist and ready to smooth out all your ruffled feathers after your soak! Wander around our 6.5 acres and create your own altar in your favorite fairie ring in the ancient Redwood trees. Hike two miles to reach the unspoiled "Grove of the Old Trees" or go mountain biking on the dozens of trails of Willow Creek Preserve one block east. Drive only eight miles to some of the most spectacular and desolate coastline in Northern California. Drink pure water from our three underground springs. Breathe in deeply the fresh, moist marine air. Pick your own salad veggies, gourmet herbs and fresh fruits and berries from our gardens in season. Shanti is pet friendly, 420 friendly and LGBT friendly. Fully stocked kitchen of eco-friendly accoutrements including pots and pans, wooden utensils, coffee maker, compost bin, microwave, gas stove/oven and frig.
Location, location, location
Coleman Valley Road is known as the most beautiful road in Sonoma County. Shanti means peace or peaceful in ancient Sanskrit. Shanti is strategically located on Coleman Valley Road and only a short drive two-mile drive, bike ride or lovely walk from the cute little town of Occidental with its shops, video store and internet café, famous eateries and locally owned markets. The drive from Occidental to Shanti affords beautiful views of Mount Saint Helena and the surrounding Mayacamas Mountains to the east. But it is further west that attracts so many visitors. The remaining eight miles from Shanti to the ocean are a shockingly narrow, curvy and spectacularly panoramic drive unparalleled in Sonoma County. Forested landscapes of a varied ecosystem of deciduous Oaks, Redwoods and Douglas firs give way to sudden vistas of meadows and a fog-shrouded ocean that stretches into eternity. The drive to the coast only takes about 35 minutes, but you are guaranteed to stop and take pictures all along the way. This is the number one scenic attraction in the area, and it is just a left turn out of our driveway.
We can fit six people comfortably. There is one bedroom with a queen sized bed, one full sized futon couch in the living room that sleeps two smaller adults or children, and one queen sized bed in the camper.
We are unique in that we are super pet friendly, LGBT friendly and 420 friendly.
Things to do at Shanti
Walk around the property and investigate the Old Growth Trees and Pond
Relax in the gigantic seven-foot hot tub under the grandmother Old Growth Redwood Tree
Swim, meditate, fish or throw sticks to Elizabeth's Field Spaniels Libby and Lucy in the pond
Swing in the hammock in your private backyard
Get a professional massage from Elizabeth on site
Seasonally pick fresh vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits to make your own meals
Gather eggs from the chicken coop for your breakfast
Light a fire in the fire pit in your private backyard
Practice yoga on your private deck or with Elizabeth, who has practiced and taught yoga since 1991 (by arrangement)
Learn archery on the backyard hillside and practice shooting arrows at our targets (by arrangement)
Play tennis or golf at nearby Northwoods Golf Course or the courts at the Occidental YMCA.
Listen to the sounds of birds in the surrounding trees and frogs in the pond. There is no noise pollution at Shanti!
Gaze at the stars at night across the Shanti sky with absolutely no light pollution
Read books, take naps, make love
Interaction with Guests
Although she lives on the 6.5 acre property, Elizabeth doesn't require interaction with guests any more than the minimum necessary. If the guests wish to interact, however, she is happy to make herself available. Its entirely up to you.
Occidental is part of West Sonoma County or "West County" as the locals call it. This is considered by many to be the most desireable town in which to live in West County. The population density is very low because we are in a low flow water area, so there are less people and less developments possible because our ecosystem cannot handle a larger population. This in turn means that natural beauty abounds. We have towering redwoods, ancient oaks, aromatic eucalyptus, miles of beaches, stunning cliffs, the Pacific Ocean, the greenest meadows like Ireland and the super cute little town of Occidental. Nowadays, the locals in neighboring San Fransisco, Marin and Napa Counties come to unspolied Sonoma to spend their vacation time. See what all the fuss is about! Come visit West County!
Public transit is available mostly eastbound and northbound to Santa Rosa and the Russian River valley towns of Monte Rio and Guernville three times a day. You are welcome to park your cars here in the Shanti driveway during your stay, only an easy and flat 100 foot walk from your private cottage entrance. The local Santa Rosa airport is small but convenient. The San Fransisco Internatonal Airport is about 90 minutes south on highway 101. You can also catch the Sonoma County Airporter from Santa Rosa to San Fransisco International Airport.
Other Things to Note
Shanti Vacation Rental is very, very quiet. We are void of any light pollution, too. This allows for an extremely peaceful stay for our guests. We are neighbors with the famous Occidental Art and Ecology Center which promotes ecologically and culturally resiliant communities. In addition, we are neighbors with the Western Hill Gardens which has rare plants and amazingly beautiful grounds.
Guests are asked to be mindful of Shanti's land, its unique ecosystem and its gentle ways. Libby and Lucy (Elizabeth's Field Spaniels) love to have visitors of the canine or feline persuasion. Pets are very welcome here and welcome indoors as well. There is a sweet little backyard behind your vacation rental that is completely fenced for you dog. Elizabeth's hot button is littering. Please no littering whatsoever on the land (even cigarette butts are litter to us!). It is good karma to conserve spring water by not running the tap while washing dishes or toothbrushong, and also not taking long showers. Smoking cigarettes outside is OK. We are 420 friendly indoors or out. We thank you for being respectful of Shanti!
This is an amazing experience to truly immerse oneself in what makes Occidental a special place. Nature, creativity, incredibly friendly people who walk this earth with such kind and gentle footprints. Elizabeth is an incredibly thoughtful, friendly host. She welcomed us by giving us a tour of her gorgeous land and introducing us to the resident animals (goats, sheep, llama, chickens, dogs, cats). Having stayed on a farm bed and breakfast before with loud goats we were a bit nervous--yet, I don't think we have ever stayed in a quieter place! Very peaceful. There are gardens everywhere with gorgeous flowers and delicious fruits and veggies--all free for the picking!
Elizabeth lives in her home in the front of the property and the rental home is in the back of the property with its own yard (with yummy plum tree and blackberries.) Elizabeth will magically appear whenever you need help, yet quietly manages the farm without your knowing she is there if you want privacy. She gave us lots of tips on little known hikes nearby.
Her home is in an ideal location. Occidental is one of our most favorite places on this planet--ocean, hills, forests, fields all in one place. The town is lovely--with good food, phenomenal bakery nearby in Freestone, close to wine country, etc.
Wonderful experience at Elizabeth's beautiful retreat. The location was perfect for our family vacation. Four of us and our kitty slept comfortably in the house and had access to a great private backyard. We made several day trips to the beach, Russian river, and Napa for wine tasting.
Additionally, we booked two amazing massages with Elizabeth who is a laid back and gracious host.
We will definitely return for another visit.
Elizabeth was a great host. She initially stayed out of our way, but once I approached her with questions, she was happy to give recommendations about things to do in the area and happy to share everything about the property. She showed us a wonderful hike through the back of the property that made its way to the road and eventually an old-growth redwood grove about 2 miles away. It was on this hike that we met the llama, Cosmo, that has been staying on the property.
Elizabeth was also very accommodating to our needs. I am allergic to cats and down. Based on previous reviews, I was worried about the cats, but I did not have a problem. She also brought in non-down pillows and a comforter for us.
This home makes you feel like you are in the country, but you are still within 20-30 minutes of Sebastopol, Guernville, and Bodega Bay. Excellent location, great host. Clean and comfortable.
We had a great stay at the Shanti vacation rental. It's wonderful to find a place that's so dog friendly and peaceful.
Staying at Elizabeth's guest house was overall a good experience. Some things were above & beyond amazing (like Elizabeth helping my partner replace a birthday gift for me that had somehow gotten lost or taken out of our truck between Oakland & Occidental. Or that she didn't mind when my anxious dog was barking when we were out to dinner, & offered to bring our dogs inside her house.) The land was beautiful & the hot tub was lovely. Elizabeth was kind enough to show us around the property & tell us about a wonderful nearby hike that we really enjoyed.
That said, a few things kind of bummed me out. One, it should be noted that the house in the photo is Elizabeth's, and the place you'll stay is in the back, and quite small. It definitely can not sleep six, as it says on the posting (the camper mentioned is small & in a field away from the building, & it appeared to have a leak.) I don't think the residence, while cute, merits charging an extra $50 per person beyond two people.
When we entered the unit, there was a cat sitting on the bed, which was really unfortunate for me because I am *very* allergic to cats. The hand towel in the bathroom appeared to be covered in cat hair & between those two things, I definitely spent some time sneezing. Also, the water in the hot tub appeared not to have been changed recently when we first got there.
Last thing - the wifi barely worked, and only for about half of one day. I can chalk it up to country living, but still I think it's good information to share. We even asked Elizabeth if she had some DVDs we could borrow one night, because all we really wanted was to watch a movie. However, I forgot that my new Macbook doesn't have a disc drive built in. So we were movie-less. It was fine, we still had a great time, but prepare yourself for the possibility of no wifi.
I hope these issues don't sound too petty! I think it is important for people who would consider staying here to know. $200 a night is a lot of money for me, so if it is for you, too, you probably want to know these things.
It was so lovely to host you and Peter. I really loved your dogs! Thank you so much for the positive review. I am so happy that you enjoyed Shanti’s incredible nature, the hot tub, my dog friendliness and extra efforts to re-purchase your birthday gift for you and take care of your dogs while you were out at dinner with friends. I was also very pleased that you two and your dogs enjoyed the hike out on Willow Creek Road that I suggested. You won’t find anything but locals on that hike!
Based on your suggestion, I spoke to AirBNB for the second time about the photo of the front of my own home. Their photographer had taken the photo and they posted it to my site without any communication with me. I had already spoken to them the first time about the fact that it seemed odd to advertise the front of my own home for the sake of vacation rental, but they said it was normal. The second time, they said the same thing, but they suggested I add a description to the photo, so I have done that.
Regarding the capacity of the unit, I definitely did not mean to infer that it can sleep six in the actual unit. Normally it sleeps two, but if guests want to have one or two kids or small adults on the futon couch, it is also available. The camper is available if indeed there is a need -- it’s a big favorite for more adventurous guests and kids! It does not have any leaks. I always move the camper down to the driveway to the entrance to the vacation rental if it is rented, though some guests prefer it out in the field for spectacular star gazing. I did not know you wanted to rent it, or I would have done this for you. I have done quite a bit of research about other vacation rental’s prices for extra guests, and it’s usually $50 per person, but I’ll double check my research on that, per your suggestion.
Since you arrived on December 27 while I was away for six days over the holidays, I asked my neighbor Donna to turn up the heat and the lights before you arrived that night. Perhaps during that time one of the cats took refuge in your bedroom! I am so sorry about this! I only wish you had let me know so that I could have washed your linens and saved you the suffering of sneezing!
The water in the hot tub was changed on December 21, just before I left for the holidays. Nobody used the hot tub while I was gone. I’m sorry it did not look clean to you. It was at exactly the proper pH when I checked it right after getting your review.
Regarding the wifi connection, since we had more rain in December 2014 than the entire year of 2014, Sonoma County had quite a bit of power and phone outages and wifi mishaps. The AT&T rep told me it was a state of emergency in California and he had 473 clients to service after the severe storms. My neighbors did not have their landline for an entire month! As soon as your partner Peter told me the wifi was intermittent, I called my ISP. I felt that we were lucky it got fixed within the next couple of days. You may remember that it worked fine just before you left. I am so sorry that your new Macbook did not have a disc drive and you were not able to watch movies on your last night here. The universe works in mysterious ways within the nature of Shanti, and it usually favors peace, quiet and unplugging.
Alas, none of these unfortunate items were brought to my attention while you were here! Had that been the case, I would have been much more helpful to you. Nevertheless, Shanti welcomes you and Peter to return in the future.
Elizabeth Medgyesy, Proprietor
Shanti Vacation Rental
About the Host, Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a world traveler extraordinaire, having been to 45 countries around the globe. She has been involved in the international tourism industry for 13 years, and previously owned and operated a domestic tour company in Portland Oregon for eight years as well. She is an accomplished singer in the soprano section of the Occidental Community Choir. She loves to garden, road bike and mountain bike, practice yoga, read good books, play with her dogs Libby and Lucy, swim, hike, cook and travel. She hasn't watched television in 25 years, and she doesn't really like being in front of a computer. She has a smart phone but doesn't really know how to use its incredible capabilities. She wouldn't call herself a Luddite, just genuinely disinterested in all that things like Facebook have to offer. Elizabeth loves to entertain and looks forward to meeting lots of cool new people through AirBNB. She has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and is also a Registered Nurse and a Certified Massage Therapist. Five things she can't live without are water, food, her sister Cathy, friends and her lifetime of good karma. As a host, Elizabeth is respectful of your privacy, very fair, an excellent listener and very helpful. She really wants you to have a good time! Her favorite movies include Jeremiah Johnson, The Piano, Repo Man and Braveheart. She just finished reading Abraham Verghese's National Bestselling novel "Cutting for Stone" and was thrilled by it. Her favorite foods are sushi and pizza. Favorite music includes everything from the Rolling Stones and the Who to Patty Griffin, Steve Earle, Sting and John Hiatt (and then some). Her style of traveling is to undiscovered places that have no postcards. Her last trip was to Cambodia and Laos for two months in 2013 by herself. She has trekked with a single sherpa to the Mount Everst Basecamp, and plans to trek in Nepal with her sister Cathy again this fall. Her life epitat is "She lived life to its fullest."