* I would give 4 1/2 stars if available *
Upon arriving at Maya's place, I was very pleased to find that the photos are absolutely right on. No tricky angles or lighting to make you think you're getting something you're not. The cottage may actually be more spacious (if a bit cluttered) than it looks from photos here. The kitchen is well stocked with the gadgets you need and there are plenty of clean linens provided. It feels very much like staying with a good friend. If you require the sanitized condition of a hotel, this is not for you. It is a renovated barn. (Read: Rustic) I am only deducting the half star rating because of a few minor things. We had a hard time finding enough outlets in convenient places to charge all our electronic devices. Parking is tight. Two of the three beds are nearing their replacement age and the pull-out couch, as can be expected, is only suitable for kids. (We sleep in a Tempurpedic at home so maybe we're a bit spoiled. And yes, like Goldilocks, I tried them all.)
The main house is actually closer to the cottage than you might expect, but still quite private and the hosts were absolutely unobtrusive. Then, there are the grounds...whoa...amazing. Usually cottage rentals are short on space inside and often shorter on land. Not here. Step out onto the back deck and wander among well over an acre of towering maples and perennial gardens, lovingly designed and cared for by Maya herself. There are several spots to sit and lose yourself in a book or maybe gain inspiration for your own garden...or just enjoy the fact that you don't have to pull any weeds here...smile...and take a nap.
Great Barrington downtown is a quick drive or a long walk from the cottage. (My mother-in-law and I are big walkers and we went there and back, no problem.) Great restaurants, most of which we didn't try because we were enjoying cooking and eating together at the long table back at the cottage. Art galleries galore, boutiques and cafes.
The area is just perfect for wandering, especially by bike. We found the area around Lake Buel to be of moderate challenge, light traffic, and really beautiful natural scenery.
Our visit was really wonderful. All our guests agreed the place is just magical.