After our most recent Airbnb experience—six long weeks in a “quaint” farm cottage in South Carolina—I have gotten serious about figuring out the secret code for Airbnb rentals. I’ve decided that from now on, anything described as “rustic” or “quaint” doesn’t make the cut. And the reviews better RAVE about the cleanliness. If numerous people don’t specifically mention how clean a place is, then it’s not.
It’s A Learning Curve
Traveling 500 miles from Apalachicola to Landrum, we stopped halfway and spent the night in an Airbnb RV in Georgia on a little farm. It was clean and comfortable and made me miss our trailer.
Traveling without our trailer is a learning curve, for sure. For one thing, we no longer have the convenience of our own kitchen and bathroom trailing along behind us. On travel days with our trailer, we always took time for a leisurely lunch break in the luxury of our little home-on-wheels. And Magnolia had a break from her cat carrier to roam freely in the trailer while we fixed lunch.
We thought we had a good plan for car travel without a trailer. In the morning, we packed our lunches in a cooler. At lunchtime, we looked for a nice park where we could set up Magnolia’s catio while we enjoyed a relaxing picnic. But the park we had chosen was closed, and we weren’t having luck finding anything else. We ended up in the parking lot of the police department in a small town in Georgia, where the police chief came over to greet us and to make sure we were okay.
We’re still figuring out our travel day strategy. I’ll let you know how that goes.
A Quaint Farm Stay, Haha
Arriving in Landrum, the stairs to the cottage were rickety, but I thought, “Oh well, it’s quaint.” We opened the door, and sure enough, it was decorated in cute farmhouse style, just like the photos promised. Not so cute were the moldy pizza boxes beneath the kitchen sink and the grease pit of an oven. I contacted the owners immediately, and once again, it was an “unusual occurrence.” Right.
Once again, we were refunded our cleaning fee and we set to work. From the ceiling fans to the windows to the oven, we cleaned. We rooted out the kitchen cabinets, filling a giant trash bag with half-used bags of flour, partial boxes of cereal, old peanut butter containers, and other random junk, including a pair of pantyhose. Note to Airbnb owners: No one wants other people’s yucky stuff. We cleaned out the dust and dead bugs and relined the cabinets.
Meanwhile, Magnolia busied herself finding “treasures” under the bed, including rawhide bones and a cow hoof. (That was creepy.) And then she set up shop by the dryer, where she tried in vain for days to find the mouse that was scritching somewhere inside the wall. Honestly, I think she was having a great time.
After cleaning up the Airbnb, we settled in. And then the stinkbugs arrived. The three of us spent two weeks hunting stinkbugs that crawled in through gaps in the walls. Magnolia thought it was a fun game.
Click on photos for a larger image
Not Exactly The Pastoral Experience We Hoped For
In booking the Airbnb, I was seduced by photos of pastoral views of goats and horses, and the fact that the Airbnb was only 20 miles from where we’re building our home in North Carolina.
The photos, of course, did not show the highway intersection 150 yards from the front door. For some reason, that particular intersection is a magnet for immature jerks with souped-up engines and fart can mufflers (that’s the correct automotive term, LOL).
The noise wasn’t constant, but it was intense. The screaming engines and backfires happened at all hours of the day and night. Definitely not good for our nervous systems, which are already stretched a tad thin by the events of the past several months.
On the positive side, the Airbnb had comfortable furniture, a spacious kitchen, a great shower, and it was a bargain at the monthly rate. Would we stay there again? No way. But it worked well for our needs at the time.
Finding Fun Around Landrum
Despite the challenges of the Airbnb, it was in a decent location for exploring the area. We found several wonderful trails nearby that we hiked every day. Spring is glorious in the Carolinas, with waves of wildflowers on the trails. We enjoyed watching the foothills transform from stick covered hills to lush greenery, accompanied by abundant birdlife and butterflies.
Best of all, we met new friends Tom and Veronique on the trail who were traveling via Airbnb and exploring the area. You know how you meet someone and know immediately that you have a lot in common? We got together for a couple of hiking dates (that segued into lunch…coffee…wine tasting…accompanied by non-stop excellent conversation and lots of laughter). They’re back in Illinois now, but we’re doing our best to talk them into moving to the Carolinas.
In The Foothills Of The Blue Ridge
During our long stay in Landrum, we made field trips to several nearby small South Carolina towns, all located in the picturesque foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Saluda is a lovely little town that we enjoyed visiting a couple of times. It’s only about 10 miles from Flat Rock, which is convenient because we really like The Purple Onion, an excellent little restaurant focused on Mediterranean flavors.
Just down the road from Saluda is Tryon, one of the South’s top equestrian destinations for more than 100 years. Morris the Horse first appeared in 1928, and is a giant version of the wooden toy horses made there.
Landrum was the least interesting of the little towns in the foothills. But there’s an enormous furniture store downtown with multiple showrooms filled with gorgeous Amish-made furniture. We ended up custom-designing and ordering most of our furniture for our tiny house. Had we not been staying in Landrum, we never would have known about the store.
We ordered our sofa, occasional chair, bar stools, end table, small glass-front buffet to hold dishes, chest of drawers, and a desk. It was fun and consuming to figure out what we need and what’s going to fit into our tiny house, along with choosing the styles, type of wood, stain, hardware, and fabrics.