Travel Review: The Homestead at 803
During the pandemic quarantine, I was wondering what travel writers were up to. I found this article posted on Fodor's website where the travel writers, who were not able to travel at the time, wrote reviews of their own apartments instead of hotels. I was rolling with laughter and it inspired me to do the same for my home. I hope it makes you laugh a lot, or at least giggle and maybe you'll be inspired to write a review of your own home. I highly recommend it! I found it to be an entertaining writing exercise. What else is there to do anyway?
The Homestead at 803
Upon arrival at the Homestead at 803 (built 1865), please do not let the quaint setting trick you into the illusion that your stay will be quiet. Teeming with excitement, noises of all kinds may either hurt or soothe your ears. That all depends on the mood of the locals. Welcome!
Guests are encouraged to park behind the barn and are immediately greeted with dandelion greens sprinkled in the rustic gravel driveway. We welcome all kinds of growth at The Homestead!
Guests can choose one of two paths to the main entrance. If the stone path, to the left, is selected, they will surely enjoy a brief walk along the side of the barn which leads to a breathtaking mahogany porch spanning the length of The Homestead.
The alternate route is to the right of the barn and leads guests through, what was formerly a resident parking spot, but has been creatively revamped and named, "The Bistro." Here guests can sit under large bulb string lights among the container garden boasting struggling zucchini and tomato plants. The real show stopper here is the "Beautiful's Garden" trimmed in a stone outline, featuring various shades of purple flowers and many opportunities to marvel at butterflies.
At this point, many a visitor have inquired about the various circular patches of brown grass on the property. This was an unfortunate result of one of the owners getting overexcited about the prospect of summer fun with an array of inflatable pools. Upon request, Management can assign rooms that do not face the brown circles of grass.
Unlike the walk on the path to the porch, the walk from the bistro to the porch may be quite swampy - depending on rains and whether or not one of the three inflatable pools has recently been drained. Open minds are encouraged!
Once on the porch, guests are welcomed by various flower pots and small cedar boxes of arugula, lettuce and herbs, which the in-house cook often features on the menu!
Guests often mention confusion regarding which door is the main entrance as there are three along the porch. Look for the most worn down welcome mat and you're sure to be heading in the right direction.
The main entrance to The Homestead delivers you into the farmhouse kitchen - the heartbeat of the dwelling. You'll feel right at home with it's "lived in" feel! An array of haphazard flip flops and sneakers may be anywhere you step, so do be sure to look down as you walk.
The rustic, worn out, I mean "loved" eat-in kitchen table typically features leftover food that the locals forgot, or simply couldn't care less about clearing.
On a good day, the table is cleared nicely with some garden cut flowers and even a few napkins. Those are typically the day that staff posts photos on Instagram.
Just after the table you'll find a breakfast bar for two. It's an ideal spot to enjoy a snack or beverage and only one of the two stools wobbles.
The inspirational post-it notes are an interesting touch and the chaotic array of children's art is oddly calming. There is a precious powder room off the kitchen that truly transports visitors back in time. The old fashioned door features a large opaque glass window, that can make a guest squeal when one of the younger residents pushes their nose right up on the glass! If the towel is absent, just look down, it's most likely that a local threw it on the floor.
The in-house cook (truly A+!) is also the housekeeper. Although she cooks and bakes from scratch daily, she tends to leave her cleaning duties undone for stretches of time. If you find something not to your liking, feel free to grab an all-purpose wipe from under the kitchen or hall bath sinks and have at it! Everything is very DIY at The Homestead - from soapmaking to cleaning.
One of the most exquisite rooms at The Homestead is a relaxing sunroom. From the kitchen guests can choose one of two routes. Lazy residents tend to pass by the powder room and through the library, as this route involves no steps. The library also offers a glimpse at the beautiful fireplace and features one of many over-sized dreamcatchers that can be found scattered about the inn.
Use caution as you pass through the library though as one of the owners uses this space to...you guessed it...read! She tends to be a bit messy with her stacks of books, notebooks and loose papers, so do not mind those a bit.
If you're up for a challenge, you may opt for the scenic route to the sunroom. Simply pass the fridge and unusually small trashcan and turn left. You'll go up two steps and then immediately down two steps. (This may see like a charming historical feature but the locals will tell you it quickly grows tiresome, so enjoy the novelty!) Here you will be in the main living space. Caution is also advised while passing through this room as the youngest artist in residence uses this room as her personal art studio.
Crayons and markers litter the plush carpet and occasionally you'll spot construction paper glued to the hardwood floor. Feel free to use the television in this room at any time - barring that you are able to find it unoccupied by the youngest residents. If the television is off and you can't find the remote, an owner most likely hid it in a kitchen cabinet or drawer. Simply poke around, it's always discovered. On rare occasions, the location is forgotten, but to date, has always been recovered.
From there, you will also end up in the coveted sunroom which boasts peaceful hues of teal, an ivory loveseat/chaise and unbelievably comfortable chairs from ikea. Views from the window offer green trees and shrubs that nearly erase the beeping of angry motorists.
Historic homes really do offer charm and this home is no different! Brave visitors may attempt to open the original wooden windows that line the perimeter of the calming sunroom. If the attempt proves successful, visitors are greeted with a smile. Available upon request are miscellaneous objects that hold even the most slippery window open to enjoy a summer breeze. Even more challenging has proven to be the feat of closing a jammed up window. Management can also provide a few surefire tricks upon request.
The sunroom is best enjoyed with a beverage of your choice and Amos Lee playing on the speaker. Make this room a must on your visit!
Heading up the first flight of steps, guests will find themselves in a spacious and well-lit hallway. (Friends fans may particularly enjoy that sentence.) This space also features a beautiful over-sized piece of floral art (on the floor) that the owners intend to put on the wall "someday."
To the left are the sleeping quarters perfect for children. Bunk beds, piles of toys and dirty clothes that got lost on the way to the hamper are always available there.
Across the hall is the main bath that is tempting to turn into an office. The views and hues are peaceful and there is a large empty space made for a desk.
The master suite is the last stop on the second floor, this room features one seating option that is rarely available as the owners insist on making it a third closet in the suite. The master bath features an exotic jungle themed wallpaper that the owner put up but seems as if she ran out, just before completing the job. It's easy to miss if you don't look up.
Heading up the second flight of steps you'll enjoy the most beautiful gray/green floor paint and the creaks and cracks on the steps will transport you back in time more than 100 years. This upper level is a must see, featuring two interesting rooms.
The larger of the two is a play space for the children radiating early morning sunlight that makes you feel alive and the most extensive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection in the world. There is a small play kitchen and a Barbie pool which the owners insist real water be emptied when play is done, but rules are made to be broken, right?
The smaller of the two rooms on this level features an eclectic collection of decor. Some may refer to the unfinished nature as "bohemian." The inspirational notes are excessive, yet one immediately feels a lift in spirit upon entering. The owner insists shoes be removed if you wish to step on the yoga mats and the smells are heavenly as the room is storage for beautiful and luxurious freshly made bars of soap.
This room also has that "ran out of wallpaper" feel that seems to be a feature at The Homestead. Nonetheless, the textiles, pillow collection and star shaped lamp dangling from the ceiling make up for those shortcomings.
The bottom line: The setting is dreamy, ideal even, just remember to use caution as you move around. The locals are odd but don't let that stop you from staying here. 4/5 stars.