Good access to summer venues; accommodations not up to snuff
Adjacent to a seasonal stream with biking and hiking trails nearby, this home is perfectly located. It has comfortable beds, plenty of towels and hot water. Nevertheless, we kept wondering during our two week visit, if we were staying in the same home that other reviewers described.
We are really not fussy, but we expected the house to be more comfortable and clean. The photographs give the impression of an elegant country cottage. The great room (combined kitchen, dining room and sitting area) is dark and uncomfortable, more shabby than chic. There was a layer of grime throughout the house, especially in the kitchen and an accumulation of dead bugs in the shade over the dining room table and in the upstairs bathroom ceiling light.
There are no doormats so when it rains you could not wipe the mud off your shoes. Even on dry days, we were tracking debris inside the living area.
The master bedroom lacks any shades on the windows or skylights making it impossible to sleep in. Neither bedroom had trashcans and neither bathroom had bathmats. A raggedy chair in one bedroom, poor lighting, no teaspoons or bowls. Little things, true, but a home at this price point, one expects the basics.
Most disconcerting was the lack of instructions for any appliances (very unusual for VRBO). The brief information sheet we were sent via e-mail had an incorrect phone number for the caretaker. Evidently, it had been wrong throughout the summer. Fortunately, we had sorted this out by the time the house fire alarm went off for no apparent reason at 3 am.. Again, no instructions on how to turn off the alarm.
Equally frustrating was the misinformation provided regarding the computer modem's location. A well-known lack of cell service in the Berkshires requires that one rely on the Internet to check activities in the area, make restaurant reservations, etc. The modem went down during a power outage on a Friday when the caretaker was out of town for the weekend. The information sheet we received indicated that the modem was locked in the caretaker’s barn where we couldn’t access it. We spent a long weekend blind until the caretaker returned. He informed us that the modem had been moved inside our house a year earlier, relocated to an obscure location (inside the pie chest), where we could have easily reset it ourselves had we known.
We have been staying at VRBOs for 10 years (see our other reviews). Unfortunately, our stay here was the only real disappointment we have experienced.
Owner's Response: Thanks very much for this review. It has been most helpful, if for nothing else than to clarify exactly what potential guests considering our property can expect. Firstly, this is not a suburban house. Nor is it a modern facsimile of an antique farmhouse. It is, in fact, an antique, and aside from the addition of some modern mechanicals and a chef’s kitchen, it has remained as such. We’ve purposely kept the hand-hewn beams exposed. The home’s foundation is built on stones gathered from the land. And the fireplace was built by the matriarch of the farm family that lived here in the 1940s. Any additions we’ve made have been carefully considered to enhance what makes this place truly special. Original Emco Navy chairs (not reproductions) are in the kitchen. An Eames lamp hangs over the dining table. The other lamp in question that throws off the purported “poor light” is an Adrian Pearsall original. True, there are no rubber bathmats or trashcans in the bedrooms, and we must say, after reading your review, we thought about adding them. But then quickly thought better of it. We’d prefer the property to retain an aesthetic that both we and other guests who share our appreciation for simple and well done can enjoy. For our appreciative guests, this property serves as a valuable counterpoint to their day-to-day. This is not to say that I am not deeply sorry that you did not enjoy your stay. And I sincerely apologize for the incorrect information in the information packet. However, I cannot speak to all of your criticisms because in truth I find many of them baffling. For instance, there are plenty of bowls and teaspoons in the house, and while there may have been a moth in a light-bulb or a cobweb between the screen and the window, cleanliness has never been a criticism we’ve received in the past. And oh yes, by the way, the “rickety” chair in the second bedroom is a Smilow and Trielle original. True it has yet to be fully refurbished, but the fact that you would point it out as a negative feature only underscores the fact that this house, while cherished by some, is not for everyone.
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