Thursday, March 30, 2017

Finally, Open for Business!

As many of you know from following our blog, we have been journeying toward opening a B & B for close to 11 years. With the selling of our home in NC, moving to Costa Rica, learning the coffee business and building our home here, it has been a rather long voyage.  Although we are still a work in progress, and probably always will be, we are excited to open our home to travelers! People exploring Costa Rica who wish to experience the tranquility of Berlin, life on a coffee finca and breath taking vistas in every direction including the beautiful Nicoya Bay and the Pacific.  We are located in the Central Valley near San Ramon a little over 1 hour from the airport and many of the local tourist sites. Close enough for day trips but far enough away to offer a restful, tranquil environment.

Our B & B includes a Queen Size room with breakfast and the option for a family style dinner.  There is a hot tub available, hammocks and all kinds of fruit on the property including the coffee.

Today I would like to share our accommodations and a bit of our home.

As you follow our driveway (4 x 4 recommended), you will come upon our home and gardens sitting atop a hill at about 4,100 feet elevation.  We feel the elevation creates perfect weather with cool mornings and evenings and warm sunny days.  Although in the rainy season it is wetter, the daily temperatures are still quite warm.

You enter our home through the Bell Tower into either right to the hall to the Living Room or our Kitchen to the left.  The Bell Tower offers us air flow year round keeping us cooler in the dry season and dryer in the rainy season.

The Kitchen is well equipped and ready to feed hungry guests as well as ourselves.

This view of the kitchen also shows the Dining Area.

In the morning at breakfast you may be able to look out the window and see a rainbow at sunrise!

The Living Room is cozy and bright and a wonderful place to get a break from the heat or showers of the day and just relax.  Waiting for a meal or just visiting, you are always welcome here.

Just outside the Living/Dining area through the French Doors sits the hot tub and endless views of the ocean and surrounding hills and valleys.   At night the hills sparkle with lights from all the surrounding towns and villages and our corridor circles the house making outdoor living easy.

Every day is a different view

Sunsets are never the same and spectacular to see!

Hard to believe the photos are taken from approximately the same place at different times!

Now the Guest Room!  The room has a private entrance, a place to sit outside to enjoy the view and private Bath.

 The bed is queen sized and  the internet is available.

Windows with views on all sides and an armoire to hang your clothes.

 Entrance to the Bathroom.

Spacious bathroom and sink area.

Large open shower.

Around the outside there are gardens to explore in addition to the coffee finca.

One more beautiful sunset reflecting off the Nicoya Bay!  For more information on our wonderful oasis, please contact us at: or 506.8431.6804 or 560.8481.4080.
We look forward to meeting you!  Pura Vida!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hello Sunshine!

We are happy to report that the sun is shining brightly on Berlin once again! For some reason the rainy season went on for way too long this year and was also a bit different, but not in a good way! The rainy season is such a refreshing change at the end of dry season, however, the sun of dry season, is always welcome when it begins! Presently, we are enjoying perfect temperatures, strong winds or no wind and sunshine mixed with beautiful clouds and incredible sunsets and sunrises!  

As always, we are constantly busy trying to do all the  things we want done to this house! The Studio still has a number of boxes that have not been emptied but slowly they are dwindling.
Thanks to a problem with the sink in the Visitor's Bathroom we experienced a flood in the Studio, the Bathroom and part of the main house.  

Our New Year's Day was spent dealing with soggy boxes and lots of water. The bright side of the mess was that some of the boxes were emptied and a bit more room was added to the Studio!

As excited as we were to see the holidays, it became time to pack things away until next year.  Bert and Ernie loved curling up under the Christmas tree and, surprisingly, paid little attention to all the low hanging ornaments.  

We had friends, Martin and Marie-Dominique, from Canada for dinner one evening and really enjoyed getting to know them a little better.  Their house is visible from ours and a short distance as the crow flies, but probably takes at least 20 minutes to go from our house to theirs. They too are involved with coffee but in a very different way.  They want to do the roasting and exporting and will buy coffee from the local farmers.

On Christmas Eve our friends Maryse and Guy, below, and Milt and Jane joined us for dinner.

Milt is the good looking gentleman on the left and I'm the blur!

That night Maryse and Guy became our first overnight guests. They all made the holiday special and we enjoyed their company, good food, music, dancing and a sit in the hot tub!
Don checking to see if dinner is getting close!

We love to dance and enjoyed a little Christmas Eve!

Thanks to Maryse, I was able to be in the Blog.  This is Christmas morning breakfast on the Corridor!  Don made French Toast and we had fresh Mango.  What could be better!

Maryse and I had the tub to ourselves for a bit and then Don joined us.  After a wonderful breakfast, it was a perfect thing to do!

Don has been keeping very busy in the garage creating wonderful things for the house.  The kitchen now has some more shelves, and a perfect pot rack which hangs over the island.  We are still enjoying the plate rack and are looking forward to having even more shelves in the near future.  The garage is also benefiting from shelving that Don has created, including the metal brackets that hold them up. He has been using his welder a lot lately and is becoming quite proficient.

 Lots of pounding and shaping goes into the creation of the brackets that support our shelves.

Bending & twisting!

Beautifully shaped brackets!

When the brackets are complete and the boards have been cut, holes are drilled in the concrete.  Never having lived in a concrete house before, attaching things to the wall is a bit more of a challenge than a wood house.  

What do you think?

Once the shelves are up they are not only beautiful but functional!  Great to have space!

Love having our pots and pans easy to access and store!

Trying to find ways of unpacking the Studio, Don started making shelving in the garage. The plastic shelving that he had been using, and hating, has been made available for other items that we would like to store.  Deciding what to put on those precious shelves and what to get rid of has been a challenge for both of us.  Paring down is a major goal as "stuff" is a burden we would like to eliminate!

It is so nice to see the Nicoya Bay and the Pacific after so many months of living in the clouds!

It is coffee picking season once again and we are thankful for the wonderful friends we have here in Berlin who pick for us.  They show up everyday and work from about 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon, depending on the day, at a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable job.  In the mornings it is cold and the plants are wet from the dew but it quickly heats up and with the heat comes the irritating little bugs.  They are working on steep hills, having to plow through coffee plants and at the same time know there could be a snake slithering by! Despite all the challenges of picking, they do it with a smile and we enjoy listening to them bantering back and forth in the coffee.  Not sure what they are saying but they seem to have a good time and love the extra spending money!

Waiting for everyone to collect their gear needed to start picking.

While we do not pick the coffee, we do have other duties.  At 6:00 Don goes to get the pickers so they don't have to walk all the way to our place.  In the afternoon, we count the number of Cajuelas each picker collects, put them in sacks, and keep a record as they are paid by the number of Cajuelas they each pick.  Then we drive the pickers home and the coffee to the Recievador where it is counted once again.  It takes 20 Cajuelas to make a Fenaga and we are paid by the Fenaga by the Palmares Cooperative.  Once the coffee and pickers are delivered, we return home to clean all the sacks and car and get ready for the next day of picking!

By the time we are cleaning the sacks and hanging them to dry the day is coming to an end.  The white light just above the trees where Don is cleaning the sacks is the moon.  At the time it was bright and  beautiful but it was a still a bit too light to show up well in the photo.

Once the sacks are washed we hang them on the line to dry over night.

As we head to the house to clean up and get dinner we are greeted by this beautiful sunset! A beautiful ending to a not so fun job!

The things we have planted seem to doing well and getting bigger! A short while ago, we made a trip to the Palmares Cooperative to pick up some coffee mulch which we wanted to use for mulching as well as fertilizing.  The Coop saves all that is left from processing the coffee berries and sells it as mulch and fertilizer for a very reasonable price.  It is an excellent mulch/fertilizer and helps the soil retain water.  

Don explaining to the workers exactly what we want.  Not an easy task when they speak no English so we ended up with a little of this and a little of that!

The coffee leftovers get moved around with big equipment and large trucks and is stored in huge piles, under cover, waiting to be put into sacks.

There is no shortage of sacks!

As much as we are loving the sunny days, it means we need to water regularly.  While picking up the coffee mulch, Don chatted with the young man who takes care of the gate at the entrance to the Palmares Cooperative who speaks English quite well.  On his last trip there, Jose, was telling him how excited he was about making Tea from the skins of the coffee.  He makes and tries different Coffee Teas and says the Coop is going to start making the Teas.  We understand the Tea is excellent and a beautiful color. Currently, the skin rots and smells awful from the process of fermenting. This is what we use for mulch and fertilizer and, fortunately, by the time we use it it has little or no smell! Jose has also been going to school to be a Coffee Sommelier for the Cooperative when they have coffee tasting.  Similar to wine tasting!  The whole Tea idea is exciting for us because we are hoping we will benefit from the sale of the Teas.  Time will tell!

Berlin is really booming!  There is actually a house being build across the main road from our house and is quite visible.  They have been doing a lot of excavating on the side of their hill and now seem to be putting up fencing.  We have enjoyed watching the work and look forward to having new neighbors.

I just love when the sun glistens on the water.  It almost seems unreal!

Another beautiful sunset,

and another,

and another!!!

Although sad to see their special Christmas tree leave, Bert and Ernie are doing well.  Bert still thinks he's a kitten and sleeps in the 

silliest places.  They both love being in the Studio with all the fabrics and fun places to hide and snuggle. 

As I've mentioned earlier and shown in photos above, the sunsets and sunrises have been beyond words!  In addition, we have seen some incredible rainbows.  A small one at sunrise and a very large one that faded and returned a number of times in the late afternoon. The rainbow stayed with us for the longest time and we were content to just watch the amazing event until it finally faded away.

Outrageous morning sunrise with a little rainbow!