Visit This Charming B&B in Capitola by the Sea

This California B & B draws inspiration from interiors all over the world.

The reading nook inside the Inn at Depot Hill
A plush chair, side table and lamp are comfortably situated in the reading nook. It’s the perfect place to relax with a good book and your hot beverage of choice.

Just south of Santa Cruz along the central coast of California is a charming little beach town called Capitola by the Sea. One of California’s oldest seaside towns, Capitola is known for its row of colorful houses along the water, beautiful weather and the Begonia Festival that has been enchanting visitors since 1952. Capitola is also home to one of my favorite bed-and-breakfasts, the Inn at Depot Hill, which is an ideal escape for a romantic getaway.


Located just a short minute walk to the beach, the Inn at Depot Hill was built in 1875 and was a working train depot until 1958, when the train line was discontinued. Over the years, it has changed hands many times and is now a charming and unique B & B that offers 12 rooms, each decorated representing a different destination from around the world.


The Delft Room honors its namesake with a blue and white color palette.
The Sissinghurst Room draws inspiration from traditional English gardens. Guests will find one right outside their door!


Once you enter the Inn at Depot Hill, the ambience of this B & B will instantly captivate you, from the Delft room with blue-and-white décor and an expansive space that includes a sitting room, fireplace and private patio with hot tub, to the Sissinghurst room that transports you to the English countryside with floral chintz fabrics and a private English garden inspired courtyard.

Elegant, yet cozy, the sitting area is perfect for unwinding after a day out.
A plush bed beckons sleepy visitors at the end of the day.


The Paris room, with toile-covered walls and an abundance of Parisian romance, features a sitting area and room that share a fireplace. Don’t forget to check out the library, which has shelves full of books and a small alcove for hiding away for a nap.

No matter which room you decide to stay in, each guest room offers a warm fireplace; some offer private hot tubs and courtyard areas for enjoying the fresh air as well.

For more information on the Inn at Depot Hill and to plan your stay, visit


Moss Mountain Farm is a Holiday Getaway

This lovely farmhouse is a home away from home for many during the holidays.

Moss Mountain Farm is a holiday haven
Your carriage awaits! Upon arrival, guests enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride up to the main house and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Arkansas River along the way.

Amid the green sloping scenery of Roland, Arkansas, sits P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. Seeing the Greek revival farmhouse three stories high, visitors will feel instantly transported to the 1840s.

“The farm sits on 600 acres with sweeping vistas of the Arkansas River,” says Smith. Upon arrival, guests enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride up to the main house and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Arkansas River along the way.


The pumpkin house has been turned into a gingerbread house, complete with lights, garlands and festive wreaths.

Although the farm serves as a home for Smith, a conservationist, television host and garden expert, it also hosts weddings, lunch tours and holiday events. During the lunch tours, guests can rub elbows sitting at a long wooden table and enjoy the Christmas meals like one big happy family.

“Holiday lunch tours are especially popular leading up to Christmas,” says Smith. “Guests will see the home and grounds all decked out for the holidays. We bring in fresh greenery from the farm to use in garlands and other décor throughout the house,”

Lanterns cast a warm and inviting glow.

Lanterns with red ribbons light the exterior, while Christmas bulbs intertwined with garlands give the farm a warm, holiday glow. At Christmas, Smith says, “we transform the iconic Pumpkin House at Moss Mountain Farm into a Gingerbread House.”

The Hidden Winery with a Magical History

Briar Rose Winery offers a magical experience.

The front entrance of Briar Rose Winery a thatched cottage fit for fairy tales.
Surrounded by lush landscaping, the front garden is a favorite place to relax with a glass of red or white.

Row after row of orderly grapevines contour the rolling hills of the secluded Temecula Valley Wine Country. Nestled on a hill and guarded by high hedges rests Briar Rose Winery. It is unique among the other nearby notable wineries, as it owes its architectural heritage to the creative vision of one of Disneyland’s original Imagineers.

Row after row of orderly grape vines line the rolling hills of the Temecula Valley Wine Country.
With harvest season just around the corner, the grapevines are heavy laden with fruit. “At this time of year there is an energy,” says owner Les Linkogle. “You can feel that they’re getting ready to be gathered in the last few weeks while they mature.”

Labor of Love

Inspired by his wife’s fondness for the Snow White fairytale, Fantasyland architect Beldon Fields constructed the cottage and its surrounding structures five decades ago as a gift to her—a country retreat away from the hustle of city life. With the estate’s deceptively ingenious cement “thatch” roofing and lush landscaping, entering the front garden through the high hedges is like stepping into the illustrated pages of a story by the Brothers Grimm.

When Les and Dorian Linkogle purchased the property in the 1980s, the couple promised Fields that they would preserve the cottage’s charm for years to come. Since then, Briar Rose has evolved from a family home into a boutique winery that welcomes local wine lovers—among whom the winery has achieved a cult status following—and international guests alike to savor award-winning wines and the charming atmosphere.

Dotting the landscape, vintage farming and winemaking equipment add to the nostalgic and evocative feeling in the serene setting.Building Dreams out of Dirt

Entering the wine business was almost an afterthought for the Linkogles. They planted grapes to offset the cost of watering their son’s dirt motocross track and sold the produce to the nearby wineries until a friend convinced them it would be more rewarding and “easy” enough for them to produce their own wine. “It absolutely was not easy!” Dorian laughs. But she and Les have loved every minute of it, from the research process in the beginning to finally uncorking a fresh bottle for their visitors.

“So much effort and enjoyment goes into the making of fine wine,” Dorian explains. “It’s art in a bottle. When your name is on the label, it can’t be anything but the very best.” The owners’ dedication to an excellent product and intimate hospitality carries over to the winery’s staff, who are ready and willing to discuss each award winning wine with those who come by for a tasting.

Enchanting Ambience

Guests have the option of enjoying their beverages in the cottage’s tasting room or taking their glasses outside to the weathered wood benches which are shaded by an ancient olive tree. Just as lovely as the garden are the views which overlook the vineyards.

Dotting the landscape, vintage farming and winemaking equipment add to the nostalgic and evocative feeling in the serene setting. “When we were thinking of what we should call this place, we knew it had to keep the fairytale element,” Dorian explains. “It’s such a sleepy little beauty hidden away up here that Les suggested we name our winery Briar Rose—after the princess—and I just love the way it fits.” At Briar Rose Winery, Dorian and Les are living the dream they worked so hard to achieve and are eager to share it with their guests.

Holiday Getaway: The Charlotte Inn

The Charlotte Inn is not for everybody—and that’s exactly the way owner/innkeeper Gery Conover wants it. There are no computers, no children, no large groups, no t-shirts or hats, and no cell phones allowed on the premises (except in guest rooms). The owner says guests are more than happy to abide by the strict house rules to experience a truly restful getaway from their busy schedules.

“We don’t even have a computer at the reception desk, so when someone makes a reservation it is taken the old-fashioned way: written by hand, not by computer,” the innkeeper says. “We have the international symbol for ‘no cell phones’ posted on the front door, and if someone forgets the policy we gently remind them. We do not book parties of three or more couples; and at our restaurant, a party of 10 must sit at different tables so as not to be disruptive to other guests,” he explains. “But people keep coming back; some of our guests have been coming for 30 years. They tell us that it was exactly the kind of vacation they needed.”

The turn-of-the-century sensibility is fitting for the Edgartown, Massachusetts, inn as it was built by a sea merchant in 1864 as his private home and later became an inn in the 1920s. The Italian Romanesque-style architecture’s decor is a rich blend of traditional England and New England ambience.

“The inn’s decorating style is English Edwardian, from 1880 to 1900,” Gery explains. “Ninety percent of the antiques are English Edwardian. There is lots of wallpaper with red and green accents—predominantly jewel tones.” Original oil paintings, watercolors and English prints grace the walls. To achieve an authentic period look, Gery purchased most of the rooms’ furnishings in England—London and the Cotswolds countryside—as well as in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. He is particularly fond of the stately front desk in the reception area, which welcomes guests by instantly setting the tone for their visit. “It was a barrister’s desk from Edinburgh, Scotland, built in the early 1800s. I bought it from an antiques dealers in New York. We had to open the wall to accommodate the desk. I’ve had it for about 25 years,” he says.

To lighten up—both figuratively and literally—the rich colors and furnishings, Gery added accessories you might find in a classic New England home to give each room a lived-in attitude: a small letter box looks charming on a narrow wall, white wicker chairs invite guests to relax on the porch while brown wicker baskets and vintage suitcases are casually stacked against gleaming wood wainscot paneling, vintage egg cartons are displayed in a wire basket and a pair of old ice skates are hung from a chairback.

As a guest of the inn (which is not considered a bed-and-breakfast, as lunch is served as well), you have a choice of four buildings in which to stay: the Italianate main building, which sports a library, two living rooms and the main dining room; a clapboard summer house built in 1840 with eight guest rooms upstairs; a coach house, which houses the tack room and antique cars along with a guest suite; and the carriage house, with a suite on the second floor and two rooms on the first floor.

Gery has a passion for gardening, which is evident in the lush landscaping. “The gardens have lots of English boxwood, holly trees, ivy and summer flowers; they are very colorful in a subtle way,” he says. “There are lots of garden accessories: antique urns, fountains (including a three-tier Victorian fountain) and birdbaths. There’s a fish pond, lots of brick walks, wisteria and sitting areas for guests to enjoy the view,” he says.

The Charlotte Inn has received numerous awards and accolades from such notable travel sources as Fodor’s, the Tatler Travel Guide (which named it one of the top 101 hotels in the world in 2012) and The Boston Herald.