Mar Vista Cottages

at Anchor Bay

Mar Vista Cottages - Press Comment

Really experience a stay in Mendocino County

By Ann Tatko-Peterson

The roaring surf of Anchor Bay stood as a backdrop visible from our cottage's bay window. On the table sat steaming omelets I had cooked using the fresh hen eggs left on our doorstep the night before and tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and herbs I had collected that morning in the vegetable garden. My husband and I dug into breakfast, enjoying the peace, quiet and gorgeous ocean view, when suddenly, a pair of goats strolled past our window. We laughed long and hard. We hadn't banked on finding a slice of farm life, but that, and more, is what we uncovered at Mar Vista Cottages in Gualala.

Country coastal living
Mar Vista's location drew Renata and Tom Dorn in 2000, but the dozen fishing cabins-turned-vacation cottages were in serious disrepair. The Dorns undertook a major restoration, angling for a simplicity that wouldn't detract from the property's spacious rolling meadow amid tall trees and the ocean across the street. Country-inspired furnishings and "hankie"-style window coverings that hang from pegs are a few ways they have accomplished that. The cottages do show their age -- an old range in the kitchen, some cracks in the bathroom floor -- but they are a step above rustic and part of the property's overall charm.

At the heart of that charm is a large organic vegetable garden, where guests can help themselves to dozens of varietals, and a yard where more than 150 hens roam and lay eggs, which guests can help collect every afternoon. A picnic area, fire pit and soaking tub are available for guests. "I love the way the cottages are like pioneer wagons surrounding the gardens," Renata said during our visit. "We are unique, and that's the way we like it."

That night, we sipped wine in a pair of outdoor Adirondack chairs as we listened to the crashing waves and stared at a magnificent blanket of stars. "If this is farm life," my husband said, "sign me up."