Our 1910 farmhouse is on a creek on 2.9 acres surrounded on three sides by marsh and wetlands belonging to the Point Reyes National Seashore. Yet across the street we have a sweet neighborhood and a small store with a great deli. Ocean beaches are a 15-minute drive. We can also hike from our house straight up onto the ridge of the National Seashore. 1.3 miles away is the town of Point Reyes Station, which has most of the necessities: bank, more groceries, drugstore, hardware store, bakery, library very active community center with many world-class performers etc. The Point Reyes area is also the capitol of the "locavore movement" of Northern California, and home to various artisanal businesses- bakeries, cheesemakers, vineyards, meaderies, organic dairies, farms. We are also an hour's drive from Berkeley or San Francisco, so ours is a beautiful, peaceful location from which to explore the cities of the Bay Area, as well as wine country, etc. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are roughly four hours away.
You do pretty much need your own transportation while staying with us, if you want to take full advantage of the location, or to move around freely. We do have bicycles we can loan, and are happy to give rides when that works out. Once we have gotten to know each other, we will sometimes be able to loan a car for a particular need, but is far less stressful for all concerned if you are independently mobile.
A little about us: We are married 33 years now, very happy together, and both 66 years old at the moment- but we both think of ourselves as youthful and love to be physical, both working and hiking outside. Laura also does improv theatre and performs as a clown and dances. We both meditate and try to take very good care of our bodies with yoga and exercise. We are non-smokers, and prefer to have non-smokers around us too, though your OCCASIONAL outdoor cigarette would not upset us. Our kids are grown and out of the house, though our 27-year-old daughter is a frequent weekend visitor. We love having younger people in and around our house and getting to know people from many countries. Peter especially loves languages. We both love the Bay Area and our own corners of it- Point Reyes and Berkeley- and love to help our guests get to know them.
Peter works quite often in Berkeley, where we have a boat that you might sometimes be able to stay on when you want a night in the city. Laura is an architect who works from home but usually has meetings once or twice a week in Berkeley. We have owned this home for twenty-five years, and are currently getting it and the whole three-acre property into shape so that we can have a more relaxed retirement. Work might include helping us to fix up house and grounds, or maintaining them. Therefore it is most useful to us to have guests who are physically fit, enjoy outdoor physical labor, and have some practical skills- carpentry, mechanics, electrical, plumbing, various trades. Peter loves to teach the trades he knows. (We could also use someone who knows IT and could help us optimize websites, optimize our wifi, etc., or who could paint, do deep cleaning and organizing projects, and otherwise fix up the inside of the house. [We do have paid bi-weekly housecleaners, so helpers are not expected to do ongoing cleaning chores, scrub toilets, etc.])
Help with Computers / internet
We offer many cultural exchange and learning opportunities. Peter especially loves language, and speaks French, German and Spanish pretty well. He can get by in some other romance languages, and with a bit of time to recall, he can speak a little bit in Nepali and Indonesian. He loves language generally and is good at helping people with their English. We have had numerous au pairs living with us while our kids were young, and have always loved having young people in our lives, especially now that our own children live elsewhere. Our 27-year-old daughter lives in Berkely, is a frequent visitor, and loves to tell our guests about what is going on for younger people in the Bay Area. We have also traveled a lot and love to talk about other places and also about what is special about our own area. We love the local sub-culture we inhabit, and love to show it off to people from other areas and especially oher ountries.
We are NOT a farm; we do have a small vegetable garden- organic but not certified- and are managing and gradually developing the rest of the property- which includes open fields and willows and alders. The house is mostly fixed up, but we are about to restore the rear deck, finish the second full bath, etc. Depending on your interests and skills, you might help us with building and other handy-man sort of projects, or in taking care of the property.
Our favorite arrangement is to host couples who have their own van or rv to sleep in, but who can hang out with us in our living room and kitchen, use our bathrooms and internet, and share meals with us. A couple works well, because then you have your own company built in when you or we want some space and time to ourselves. This has worked well for long-term stays. We also have our own large r.v.- really like a small one-bedroom apartment, that a couple can stay in. At some times we are happy to have helpers sleeping in the house as well, though this would be for shorter periods, not months at a time. The house is large and comfortable, and a helper would always be welcome to spend a few nights in it with us if s/he were sick or exhausted or just needed respite.
We typically like to start a new helper relationship with a week's trial stay. After we establish that we are all a good match, we have no set limit to length of stay. The longer the better if it is working well.
We buy the food, including whatever it is you prefer to have in the house, and we and you alternate cooking dinner and dinner clean-up for each other (Cooking and cleanup are the shared work of being "housemates," and not part of the helper's work commitment to us.) Once in a while we or our helpers may choose to eat dinner separately, but we would not want to live with folks who do not want to cook and eat most dinners together. With rare exceptions our living room and kitchen are always available for helpers to hang out comfortably. Typically we all eat breakfast and lunch on our own schedules, sometimes sharing when our needs and desires coincide. Our habitual diet is mostly vegetable-based, but we are omnivores, though gradually reducing our meat and dairy habits. Meat, when we have it, is usually chicken or fish, though we are happy also to include some other meat for those who prefer it. We always have a lot of great fresh vegetables on hand, and don't feel the need to have meat or dairy in our shared meals.
Hours expected: 25 hours per week. When exactly you put in the help would be by mutual agreement, and largely at your convenience- it does not need to be every week-day, and on some things we may in fact prefer to work with you on the weekends, when we are free and can orient you.
Peter speaks French and German very well, Spanish pretty well, and to a lesser extent Nepali, Indonesian, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese,
Our favorite arrangement is to put up couples or groups of friends who live in their own tiny home on wheels, or in our spacious 36-long r.v., but who can hang out with us in our living room, use our bathrooms and internet, and share meals with us. That way you have your own company built in, and your own private quarters, whenever you or we want some space and time to ourselves. This has worked well for long-term stays. At some times we are happy to have helpers sleeping in our large house as well, though this would be for shorter periods, not months at a time.
In our photos, Laura and Peter are the white-haired ones, of course. Most of the photos are either of the house or of views from the house; others are of helpers who have stayed with us: canoeing on our creek, hiking at our beaches, working with us; and there is one of the outside of the r.v. in our woods where many of our helpers stay.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
5 hours a day for house privileges (kitchen, bathroom, living room) and board