I accidentally found this place on airbnb after an article listed the "Half Moon" cottage as being in Half Moon Bay, CA. I thought I could just make the short drive from Oakland, but later found out it was actually about 7 hours away. So I just had to stop here on my way up to Oregon! The description sounded so intriguing and I was really excited about visiting:
"A small, rustic, handbuilt cabin deep in the Northern California woods. Part of a remote, off-grid "village," including a few other cabins, chickens, dogs, frogs, cats, permaculture gardens and all kinds of cool, sustainable, DIY infrastructure.
Our property encompasses 160 acres of pristine natural wilderness in Northern California's beautiful Smith River area - home of the only un-dammed river in the state. Lush fern-encrusted hillsides slope down to countless spring-fed streams, teeming with wildlife, from cute caterpillars to (also cute, sometimes!) black bears. Accessible only by forestry road from scenic CA-199, this is your chance to experience Mama Earth as she was meant to be.
What to expect (not the Holiday Inn!): Our rustic, off-grid lifestyle includes regular exposure to dirt, dust, mud, rain, insects, dead things, animal poop, etc. The village is also always evolving in some way and there will most likely be some sort of building, construction, and/or garden project going on as we continue working towards Shangri La!"
As I started my ascent to the village, I couldn't help but feel like I was on the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland. I think I was actually laughing out loud with the pure joy of driving through this dense forest on a road that seemed to be getting narrower and narrower and being in awe that people live this far off the grid. Not so much in distance, just environment. Every inch was just dripping with beauty.
|The road to my first stop got much narrower and steeper after this and was much fun to drive!|
|Across the bridge and through the woods to Maitreya Village. Directions were marked with handmade signs including a big yellow smiley face telling me to turn and go up hill|
|Streams are my new favorite sound|
|After a blissful night full of stars and a symphony of sounds, I get to open my front door to just trees :) The inside was super cute with wood burning stove and battery LED string lights|
|I saw the Half Moon Cottage about a year ago and so glad I got to stay here! My own little path.|
I only had one night here and it killed me to leave. The hosts were fun and extremely welcoming. They really made sure I got the most out of my time there and were happy to share about lives. We played charades at night and they made the most wonderful veggie stew. And I think the environment and company made it taste even better.
The owner, Dan, is a chiropractor from Minnesota who bought this property seven years ago and has hand built all the structures. There are two little cottages, a two story loft, shower and bathroom building (composting toilet only!) the community center, a new main building on the lower level, a greenhouse and so many other little additions, including a solar barbecue. No cell phone, no wifi, no electricity, no plumbing. Just peace and trees.
|The greenhouse doubles as sleeping quarters|
|I would love to come back here later in Spring or Summer|
So exhilirating to wake up in the forest. I could smell something cooking in the outdoor kitchen just up the way and was treated to breakfast in the sun. Take last night's stew and add some avocados and tortillas and best breakfast burritos ever.
Nick told me he had built a throne for his Australian girlfriend when she last visited. I think shrine is a more accurate description, but the word didn't really matter. He told me to just follow the faint path for about 20 minutes. I wasn't sure if I was even going on a path until I saw his stone arrow. All my Amelie emotions came to surface. When I finally did come upon the throne, I totally teared up. It was such a sweet grand gesture. This specially built shrine in the middle of the forest.... It has her name and I can only imagine her reaction when she saw for the first time <3
|Morning hike among their 160 acres~Waterfalls and streams everywhere|
|He added the arrow since there are no real paths|
I could listen to this all day
|One of the 3 sweet pups, Explorer|
|Breakfast and the outdoor kitchen|
So the hosts told me I should walk up to the community center. A good, very steep hike. Now, when I hear "community center", I immediately get an image of a nondescript building with tan and blue vinyl chairs and maybe some board games. I was quite surprised and very impressed with what is actually named the Chrysanthemum Building. It is three stories with a ton of beds. Spiral staircase, sunken living rooms, pool table and gardens...apparently there have been some fun parties here ;)
|First floor and sunken living room|
|Third floor and nothing but trees and more trees|
|Sweet Nick and his pups|
|Funky greenhouse and Rob's room|
|I feel horrible I can't remember her name, but she is from Finland and lives in Panama. She was there for a few weeks to study permaculture.|
|Dan and Rob|
|Driving across the stream made me very happy, but so sad to have to leave|
I was only there one night, but I could see this life style being addictive. Always finding alternative ways of doing things and living much more simply. It was quite lovely to be there. Off to the next stop...
|On the road to the next destination~The Smith River is the most beautiful shade of blue|