Reviews Nov 2018 and beyond

Funky Studio in Asheville, NC- Nov 2018


We at LAR have been meaning to hit 

Asheville for years so when we planned our Southern-Cross Country trip, we knew this city needed to be on the itinerary.  From NJ and with a stop overnight in Buchanan, VA (see prior post), we rolled into Asheville excited to stay in the Chicken Hill cottage in the River Arts District.  Our hosts Lesa and Rich did a great job in outlining exactly how to approach this unusual house, especially since we arrived after dark.  We would have to wait until daylight to see the infamous Chicken (more on that later).  The apartment is compact but well planned out with space to spare for two people.  Stylish and sleek,     this was another apartment we wouldn't have minded to call our own- and wish we had those design chops!  The bed was a good size and firm, the bathroom large with a terrific walk in shower, galley kitchen and huge, flat panel TV.  The small, elevated patio off of the kitchen proved to be the perfect place to sample the craft beers left for us in the fridge and watch the sun set.  Great location-- about a mile from Lexington Ave with shops and restaurants to please all.  

A couple of caveats-- the studio is on the 2nd floor with no handicap access and there is no stove or cooktop.  Normally for short term renters, the lack of a stove is not an issue but we at LAR not only love our bubble tea-- we looooove our black-as-oil espresso .  We love it so much we travel with our own stove-top espresso makers ("cafeteras"  for those in the know).   So no stove was a thing for us, not so for the average traveller.  We managed just fine with the Keurig and pods  provided.  

And so what about the Chicken?  We couldn't wait to see that famed fowl and she did not disappoint.  Larger than life, illustrious and eye-popping, she looked down on us from the side of the house on to the driveway and told us,  make no mistake, we were in Chicken Hill.  Super cool.  

We give this listing a 5 out of 5 Boba -- yes, there was no stove but no big deal for most travelers. The place is terrific. 


Can we live here... please?? Casita in Tucson, AZ Nov 2018


 So this is our second winter in Tucson and we have to say, avoiding the winter is a mighty fine thing indeed.  The cherry on top turned out to be this little casita near the University of Arizona on Hawthorne Street in the Sam Hughes district.  Can we live here?  Please?? The house is adorable-- nicely decorated and spacious enough for 2 with enough room for visitors... for a couple of days (as Ben Franklin said, fish and visitors....).  The kitchen was a large galley but worked fine for us, nice size living room and bedrooms, decent size bathroom with a shower head that could have had more pressure but we'll do our part to save water.  Ok, so you're thinking-- what's the big deal?  Not a huge place, spaces are just fine... what's the deal?  The Deal, dear friends, is the glorious hot tub in the back yard!  We never thought we'd love a hot tub as much as we loved this one.   Listen up- when it's placed in a backyard with privacy and it's just a bit cool outside with a billion stars in the sky, what's not to fall in love with??   We used that hot tub every night we could for our short stay and we shed, yes, shed a tear on our last night.  Ok, a hot tub does not a home make but it so made this stay special.   So special that we decided to extend our stay in Tucson for another month!  And we hoped, oh how we hoped, this home would be available for that time period but alas, it wasn't.  Trust me- we have it in our calendar for April to check into this home on Airbnb  to book it again for the winter... and for the entire winter this time!  

Other pluses-- the queen bed we used was super firm- a must, as we've noted before.   There are great tables in front and back where we had many a breakfast and every dinner.  When we forgot ingredients (twice!)  for a special meal (forgot twice for one meal!), we were glad to have the newly redone Rincon Market less than a 15 min walk away- a cute place to stop for coffee, a drink or lunch.  And we'd like to think we made good use of our close proximity to the U of A-- morning walks, easy access to volunteer at Ben's Bells in Geronimo Plaza on University Place (https://bensbells.org/ . Super organization-- check it out!  Be Kind!).  We even brought our petanque set to the university grounds to practice for our weekly Sunday competitions (there is always something going on in Tucson!) ok, so love, love, love this place.  Can we give it 5.5 out of 5 Boba Teas?  Is that allowed?  Screw it, we're breaking our own rules!  Thanks for everything, Shawna!  Hope to see you again soon!  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11743995?guests=1&adults=1

Spacious home off the 14th hole in Tucson, AZ- Dec-Jan 2019


Imagine this view every morning at breakfast-- a changing painting depending on whether clouds (or even snow) covered the mountain tops or the sun shone brightly.  At dusk, we couldn't take our eyes off the reds, pinks and purples displayed here.  Yes, this house fit all our needs but this view was the icing on the cake.  We just couldn't get enough of it.

Situated in a public golf course, this single-floor ranch was perfect for our needs and the needs of our visiting mom in a walker, with only one small step from hallway to living room.  The master bath also includes a walk-in shower and a sturdy hold bar so she was good to go.

  The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with enough space for all when guests arrived from NM to get away from the cold.  We were spoiled with the large master bedroom and California King bed, walk-in closet, double sinks and a shower with  5 shower heads (water pressure and heat was variable but hey, we're in the desert).  The eat-in kitchen is a comfortable size for 2 cooks and is very well stocked.  The barbecue is to die for.  

As one can imagine, we spent a majority of our time in the house in the living room in front of that tremendous view, even moving the kitchen table in front of the window to take it in for all meals. (The spacious dining room became our storage area.) . And as if the glorious mountain range wasn't enough, one morning we witnessed wildlife at its finest-- a bobcat climbed into our backyard and caught a bird that had just hit an adjacent window.  We weren't the only ones enjoying breakfast that morning!  And because one can't see inside the house through those windows,  this beautiful animal calming and quietly  did what bobcats do..... 10 feet away from us.  Welcome to the desert!      

The living room  has plenty of seating (more than shown in the photos) and the 96" smart tv recently added is a nice perk for movie nights.  There is also an outdoor covered seating area with table and chairs for warmer weather and the patio was a super place to take in some sun and read about the frigid temps back home.  

The neighborhood is made up of small developments around the golf course and is a great place to take a morning walk and meet the neighborhood dogs.  (We still never really found out which one loved our front "lawn" of pebbles and would strew them about every morning).   

The home is a short drive to many amenities but at over a mile walking, we can't really consider it a walk to everything, something we look for in rentals.   It did fill our space and handicap accessibility needs comfortably enough that this was our 2nd winter staying here.   We give this listing 4.5 out of 5 Boba.   We'll miss those views!  http://www.tucsonvacationrentals.com/vacation-rental-home.asp?PageDataID=84043