BJ’s tale

Oh, where to begin.  Lovely setting, great hosts, fun location, beautiful weather, varied terrain, challenging daily routine!

Makes my heart swell with memories!

This tale recounts a period of two months or so that I passed away from home yet feeling as comfortable as if I were at home.

I go back to the start when the idea was presented to spend time at this wonderful house.  The hosts were home most of the time and the interaction between us was inspiring.  The Lady of the house was also the Queen of the kitchen and never have I witnessed such a hurricane level force move through a food preparation area with such resolve. 

The table fare produced was of a quality that I rarely find in even the best of international restaurants.  Naturally the area sustained superficial, not damage exactly, but rather a fine patina of food stuff that required a nightly cleaning crew.  The culinary results were well worth the nightly couching the kitchen required.

The house sits on a hill over looking an active waterway so that one may observe ships, large and small, passing at all times of day, some attended by tug boats able to harness the weight and length and girth of the vessel.  The opposite shore is visible, resplendent with vegetation and structures to be explored and the temptation to launch one’s own water vehicle capable of traversing the inlet is almost overwhelming and produces a daily euphoria akin to a drug induced state of mind or mindlessness, depending on your dosage.

The local village has streets lined with interesting shops and cafes that beckon the wayward traveler to join in with the locals and share in the cuisine and ambiance of fellow hood derived from the convergence of shared interests.

Daily walks around and through the area provide an endless intimate vista of the inhabitants, both human and those of the local and itinerant fowl and water livers. The structures encountered vary in architectural design and execution. Folks encountered are friendly and often wave and sing out greetings as they pass.

The vacation house was undergoing renovation at the time I was there and the owners encouraged me to join in with any ideas I might conceive and actually put hand to project, so to speak, when the mood was right and the spirit of construction adventure called. 

The male of the couple is himself a mad carpenter/designer and attacks woodworking projects in the same spirit as the lady whirls through the kitchen. When he is not producing sawdust he is arranging and rearranging the yard with it’s compliment of exotic vegetation and edible components. He is available for conversation and camaraderie either whilst he is digging and hoeing or during the frequent rest periods and lunch breaks that in themselves are feasts combining delicious and savory sandwiches that he, the mad carpenter/gardener, makes as you sit nearby gathering saliva for the treats soon to appear.

The projects were of a wide range and provided endless opportunities for innovation and creativity.  I often found myself puzzling over a proposed alteration and thought long and hard about the proper plan of action.

The end of the time spent at this location saw a renewed sense of accomplishment instilled in me personally as our labors bore fruits of satisfaction when the work came together in fine form and was visually pleasing.

This was found at the Cotler residence in Benicia, California. The final note here is that the food was provided along with the excellent cooking, free of charge, beverages included and the hosts paid me to stay there!

I encourage all of you to contact these fine folks and plan for your time away from home in a loving and comfortable environment that allows for rewards beyond the normal vacation.

I give the Cotler House and it’s owners a Five Star rating.



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