I've been dying to share with ya'll about our trip to Austin this past weekend and our first ever Airbnb stay. Why? Because it was awesome. And beautiful. Beautiful for so many reasons. Visiting Austin for my first time was AMAZING in itself, but the absolutely magical little cottage we stayed in was just the icing on the cake. My husband and I were a little hesitant with the whole Airbnb thing at first. We are traveling with our 8 month old daughter, which is challenging at the best of times. Our accommodations have to be, well, accommodating. We have friends who swear by it though, so we decided to give it a try.
While scrolling through the many cool looking choices, we came across this gem of a cottage. I was into it just from the pictures but after I read the description of the hosts, I knew this was the place for us.
When traveling, my husband and I always try to stick to small boutique hotels with plenty of local character like this one. We prefer to get the feeling of where we are, as much as possible. Obviously that makes the concept of Airbnb a fantastic fit for us. I also love the fact that by staying in one, you are supporting the local people instead of a corporation. The impact on the environment is much better as well, since you are using an existing resource rather then supporting more identical hotels and giant parking lots. All around it's really a great thing.
Our hosts Marcella and her partner, Meredith run their Airbnb to allow Marcella to stay home and care for the many children they foster. They adopted three girls, 2 of which officially became their daughters today! Lilly, Nicolle and Makenzie are some seriously lucky little girls to grow up in such a beautiful, love filled environment. Their home and garden is enchanting and their exuberant energy is reflected every where you look.
The garden is bursting with flowers, fruit trees and veggies. They even make their own jam from the figs, grapes and plums that grow there. If that isn't enough, Marcella also makes and sells the best toffee I have ever tasted. She left us a sample to try in our cottage when we arrived. I'm not usually a toffee person but it was insanely delicious. If you are looking for a handmade gift for a foodie friend I highly recommend checking out her shop ATX Mason on ETSY, and get some for yourself while you're there. It's that good. It's like a mix of Southern Pralines & English Toffee. Yum.
Okay, where was I? It seems like there is just so much to tell I'll never get it all out. Okay, yes! The animals! Under that tangle of lush vines and trees there is a chicken run, full of fluffy hens (that are hilarious when they run) There are 4 kitties, 2 big love dogs and a potbelly pig that call this garden their home as well. Unfortunately all of the creatures were off on gallivants of their own when it was picture taking time. All friendly as can be, our daughter got a kick out of watching them when we strolled her around the garden. Which was awesome because we couldn't be going full tilt the whole time with the baby. We would pop out for a short excursion and then head back to our oasis to recharge for a bit. It was a perfect arrangement. The location was ultra convenient , being close to all of the attractions without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When giving the baby a chance to rest it still felt like we were somewhere to explore rather than being in a carbon copy hotel room with a only a television for entertainment. It was just so - us. Okay enough gushing already...I'll get down to showing you the digs...
They initially started by renting out this vintage Airstream and since it was such a hit they added another space by renovating their garden cottage. We were tempted by the Airstream but decided the cottage would be more functional for our needs, because it has more of a modern bathroom situation.
Here is our little piece of paradise, the perfect size for two and a baby. We realized while staying there we could actually live there full time quite comfortably. With some small modifications to the kitchen area. Ha! Well almost. Our own animal circus would never fit. Oh well.
The interior of the cottage was just as welcoming and characterful as the garden. A mix of industrial style salvage, vintage and handmade touches coupled with total functionality made for a completely original and cozy decorating style. I could not get enough of it!
There were so many special touches that added to the overall magic of the place. The fountain and Adirondack chairs outside our tiny weekend abode were the perfect spot to chill with a beer and watch the kitties and chickens (while mentally obsessing over how badly I want a garden like this- if only I had the space!)
The view from our room...it sure beats the view of a hotel parking lot. What hotel can you wake up in to the sounds of the birds chirping in a dewy and verdant garden right outside your window? Not many.
That is the family's screened in porch/dining area. Another thing I will now obsess over having. I'm so serious. Isn't it gorgeous? I would eat out there every. damn. day. I love the outside and hate the mosquitoes, this would be perfect for me. It's going on the wish list.
If I'm not mistaken Marcella also handmade the paper banner and rosettes above the window (how charming!) The walls were adorned with vintage style maps and botanical prints. I'm even jocking the way she pinned them up with clips to not put holes in them. I should have been taking notes the whole time I swear.
The wood floors appeared to be some kind of salvage as well, stained a dark coffee color, my husband is now obsessed with replicating the same look. I didn't have a chance to quiz our host on the specifics of some of the design elements as they were busy with family and we were only there for a short time. I plan on it when we go back though, and buying some of that homemade yard fruit jam to sample.
That pretty much wraps up the tour. Needless to say my husband and I are obsessed with it and will probably never branch out on our trips to Austin now because this was pretty much an impossible act to follow. So yeah. We'll Be Back.
In just two short days staying there I feel totally recharged and SO inspired. I mean, the amount of things these women accomplish, and with such style and grace. Sheesh!
As for the details of our Austin explorations, I will save sharing for another trip. Since it was my first time there, I decided to experience everything without the burden of trying to capture everything on film. I will say we took our daughter for a blissful first swim in the cool natural springs and she was an absolute fish like her Mamma and Daddy and she loved every second of it (yay!)
The natural beauty of Austin really haunts me, it has a great balance between urban and rural. I think I am far too separated from nature in Houston's concrete jungle. I also hope that the city doesn't grow too quickly for its' own good and lose too much green space in the name of progress. But that's another story.
If you plan on heading to Austin anytime soon and you would like to stay in Marcella & Meredith's little piece of paradise, you can visit their Airbnb profile HERE, and see more pictures of the cottage and contact them for a reservation HERE.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour!