Alan Chartock | I, Publius: Finding a little slice of paradise on the Puget Sound
On our way to see my twin brother, Lewis, we went first to Portland and then to Olympia, Wash. where he now lives. His son, our nephew Don, suggested a place to stay on the Puget Sound. It sits on 17 beautiful acres, surrounded by state and federal forest and fronting on a huge body of estuary water.
The owners, Don and Linda Malatesta, have created one of the most beautifully appointed houses you have ever seen. It is surrounded by acres of water with clams and oysters and crabs that they own the exclusive rights to. They have kayaks and if you play your cards right, they will take you out on the water where you will see seals and their pups among other aquatic sights.
You may also see bald eagles and just about every other bird you might imagine. Of course, you also could just relax on their private beach or one of their various patios. Plus, you'll be treated to a magnificent three course breakfast.
Don is a retired Air Force officer and Linda a retired nurse. Don also has a master's degree in political science and has done extraordinary work figuring out whether it might be possible for North and South Korea to eventually reunite.
He is not just speaking through his hat. He spent years advising the South Korean Army and Air Force and argues that unification is possible if the North Korean people become desperate enough and if, as he suspects, they listen to the BBC and illegally access social media. On the other hand, he does not discount the depth of indoctrination that the North Korean people have experienced.
Even if you've traveled the world as Roselle has, this place will take your breath away. The three guest rooms are filled with antique treasures and pictures. Don gives full credit to Linda, who decorated the place, planned the gardens, which really are unrivaled, and is a baker, too.
Her relatives date back to pre-revolutionary times and have handed down the secrets of baking from generation to generation, including those recipes developed when camping on the plains. Don's family goes back far enough to have a renegade amongst its ranks who was accused of trying to assassinate the Pope.
Our room not only had the single best shower we have ever experienced but a very separate bathtub complete with fancy jets and surrounding candles. The hosts have thought of everything, from incredible four poster beds with canopies designed by Linda to home-baked cookies, cocoa and tea in the evenings.
For hikers, there are phenomenal trails with detailed instructions on how to use them. Unlike the Berkshires and our corner of the world, there are few if any ticks that you have to worry about. There are the same type of stinging nettles that we have and avoiding them is a good idea; forewarned is forearmed.
OK, so it comes down to this. You can either ignore our good advice or stay at a beautiful place that you will remember for the rest of your lives. If you are like the man who spends away his years searching for the meaning of life, I will provide it for you. The place is certainly no more expensive than any of the Airbnbs in the Berkshires and frankly, you get more for your dollars. Naturally, the airfare to the West (Left) Coast may set you back a little but if you are coming this way for any reason, it behooves you to get to this place. If you book, tell them that Alan and Roselle sent you.
Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and a professor emeritus of communications at SUNY-Albany. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.
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