Beautiful Big Sur “OFF THE GRID” Vacation Rental is not for sissies!


Photography thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

Richard Wagnoe operates a salvage lumber mill for reclaimed redwoods in the hills of Big Sur, California. When mill workers aren’t staying in the trailers, that dot the land, Richard rents them to adventurers.


Photograph thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

Travelers to his 54 acres are immediately immersed in nature and surrounded by the elements –  the beautiful landscape,  water, gorgeous views, cool nights, and the fog that rolls in at different times of the day.  “This is a place for people looking to get  lost in nature,” says Richard.  “It’s pretty rugged – not quite as luxurious as a hotel however not quite like ruffing it camping. ”


These off-the-grid accommodations are for those souls seeking an eco-adventure that begins when you meet Richard – at the gate to his property, from where you will travel up a rugged driveway terrain to your secluded destination.


Your car will be left at the property gate – “so pack light” he says, because while the walk to your car from where you are staying is just 5 minutes,  going back to your abode, will be a lot tougher, as the climb is steep.


=Plan on arriving in the afternoon, before sunset, as there are no lights on the roads.   This is a requirement as the road is impassable at night.  There are no exceptions.  Arrive late and no one will be at the gate to meet you.

5 “Big Sur Cabins For Rent is NOT for sissies. Off the Grid – is just that,” says Richard. “The restored trailers are warm, dry and lovingly restored. You’ll experience luxury views,  sleep on high thread count sheets,  get to choose whether to shower indoors or outdoors,  and enjoy the beautiful bath house with its luxurious amenities.”


Richard has lived in the wilds of Big Sur & off-grid since 1991.  He is a shepherd to this land.  By trade a master, Richard is a stone mason, builder, carpenter and skilled horticulturalist.    Visit and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.   The terraces, he has built to the fresh fruits and vegetables that he has planted on the land.


Photograph thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

 And when you depart,  as all must,  perhaps you’ll leave feeling the way Richard does about this spot:

“…the place [he has] come to love and create are gracious spacious and comfortable. A hot shower – or bath – overlooking an incredible view a place to cook an amazing meal, a warm, dry, quiet and peaceful place to sleep.”

Richard has placed the trailers with Privacy, Ocean Views and Natural Beauty in mind and is “offering you the chance to experience the magic of the land.”

For more information please visit: Richard’s website.

Slow Travel

2538_screen_shot_2013-03-31_at_6.36.38_pmA few years ago a friend launched a website called Slow Traveller.   It featured many vacation rentals and articles on enjoying and appreciating where you are by truly slowing down.  I didn’t realize how vacation rentals fit into what she was calling slow travel as vacation rentals meant to me a villa in a destination such as Cabo San Lucas or a luxury Paris apartment rental.   There was a sense that a vacation rental does slow down your trip, or in my view even inconvenience it,  as the option of buying groceries,  eating meals at the home and not being surrounded by crowds of people at the pool seemed to take away from the type of vacation that I enjoyed.

Last year,  after some dramatic changes in my life,  I needed to get away from work and the city and go to a place that was “out of the way” where things were calmer,  the ocean was close by and that I could afford for a few months.  Costa Rica had always been a dream destination of mine.  I was intrigued by the beauty of the country and that it has been named the happiest place on earth.

The combination of natural beauty and friendly people were all the reasons I need to make a decision.   It took me 20 minutes of searching the web for a long term vacation rental in Costa Rica.   I had no concern for location aside from wanting it to be in Costa Rica and preferably by a beach, though the mountains would have done too.

The apartment I found was in a small town called Playa Grande.  I had never heard of it.  The photos of the house, a duplex,  looked pretty and Playa Grande itself simply gorgeous.

A week later I found myself on a plane heading towards Costa Rica.   A few hours later I was in what seemed to be a jungle, with sounds of howler monkeys around me,  waves from the ocean rumbling the ground and more butterflies and birds than I have ever seen.   There were few cars and I learned quickly that there were few people too, partly because Playa Grande is off the beaten path and because it was the rainy season.   Both facts I didn’t know until I arrived.   I really needed a rest.

Playa Grande Costa Rica

The next month I stayed in the apartment,  bought food from the local store,   walked on the beach,  spoke to a few of the locals.   I didn’t do much else.   There were no distractions aside from being with myself, my busy mind and the sounds of nature.   The time passed extremely slowly.

I met a man on a bike one day.  He and his wife had moved there after winning a trip and had decided to stay.    He told me how his kids loved it, went surfing after school each day and when they did go back the States felt completely out of place because of all the stores and the material items that we clutch to.  The conversation resonated as I realized I hadn’t picked up a phone,  used a computer,  gone into any store aside from the  grocery store … a shack … for a month.   During the conversation a male howler monkey walked right by us.

I stayed there for 2 more months.   Each day swimming in the ocean,  walking on the  beach,  talking to a few of the locals,   never venturing further than Playa Grande, despite the beauty that I knew existed in the rest of the country.

Playa Tamarindo itself,  the most famous of the towns in the Northwest Region of Costa Rica, was only a short   water taxi ride.   I didn’t go there.  I surfed.  I swam. I took long walks on the beach.  I rested.  There was no wild night life.  No drinking.  Nothing but slowing down to feel nature.  And I did.

For the first time since my childhood I could hear the rhythm of nature.  From the intense thunderstorms — that happened for a few hours every day,  to the monkeys, crickets,  birds and my own footsteps walking on a road that barely a car would go on.  Nights were pitch black.  So black that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

One starts to notice things when you slow down.   Things that were always there.   It was during this time that I figured out what my friend had meant by slow travel.  It wasn’t simply about the vacation rental lifestyle of being in a house with all the amenities.   It was much, much more.

To discover more about Slow Travel in the NW part of Costa Rica here are some vacation rentals for you to choose from