Just when one thinks they know all the hidden gems in Lake County, Lake County never ceases to prove one wrong.
The sun stands high in the firmament all summer long. Its rays bring radiant, glowing life to all it touches. All things green reach and lean toward its sustenance, and we gleam from their nourishing fruit while they tantalize our eyes with their glory. Gold embers of the sun’s hues frame and mold the weaving greens and bright floral colors of vines, branches, trees, and flowers, of Finch Garden. Helen greets my husband and me when we park in front of her home.
“Oh, it’s you! How nice to have a local come and stay,” she warmly smiles. Behind her and at every angle is nature’s painted mural of all things green and beautiful.
“It’s wonderful to be here,” I sigh. After a few pleasantries, we make our way past a courtyard to her guest house. High above her property, a tractor slowly makes its way home for the evening but stops for small talk with a passing car. Far enough from town, their conversation is uninterrupted on this country road. The day’s pace slows to a near stop because it has to. Everything moves slower here, and it’s impossible not to match its pace.
Bags in hand, we make our way towards the patio. Two oversized chairs, a BBQ, and more plants nestle themselves under a covered veranda inviting us to settle in for the evening. Behind the two sliding doors, a large space makes up a spacious kitchen, living room, and dining area, complete with a wood stove promising warm evenings any time of year.
Above the glass doors hangs a nautical scene filled with a shoreline of sand, water, and boats coming and going. Pay attention to the days changing light, and the scene transforms as if enchanted in its own story.
Resting on the small kitchen island rests a welcome book telling us all about Finch Garden, including the farm animals and pets that also call Fench Garden their home. Additionally, Helen has provided us with her homemade fudge, chips, and dip, making everything that much more welcoming.
Straight ahead, a step divides the open space to the bedroom and full bath. A skin rug reminds us that we are in the country and this is going to be a quiet, restful time. Another sliding door reveals a second outdoor sitting area with views of an open field, the barn, and a fenced area where a curious goat and chickens look on with indifference.
The tranquility of Fench Gardens brings its effect. It’s not the quietness, it’s more the stillness, dare I say contemplativeness, that penetrates the deepest. It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in years. It’s a sabbatical without rituals, rules, and regulations. It’s a deep, deep rest that makes its way into the cracks and crevices of my being. It’s a space to be enjoyed for a long stay.
The evening is filled with a peaceful dinner accompanied by a glass of wine and the sound of running water from a fountain dividing the two living spaces. Before bed, our first evening ends on the back porch, where Lake County’s dark night sky and stars replace the sun’s glow filling the night air with a cool breeze before sleep overtakes the day.
The daylight hours bring a quiet reprieve filling time with reading, naps, meals, and quiet conversation or, if one chooses, wine tasting, shopping, and fine dining in nearby Kelseyville.
No doubt, our second evening will be much the same as the first, only spent down by the river near the weeping willows and nearer the croaking frogs. It’s a tranquil space that invites refreshed conversation with long intervals of quiet that stretch the space of another perfect peaceful evening on the river banks of Fench Gardens.
If you are looking for a peaceful space just to get away from it all, I can not recommend a more perfect spot than Fench Gardens, conveniently located only two minutes away from Main Street Kelseyville and yet, set away from it all.