I’m staying in a farmhouse? Um, ok that sounds different I thought. Will I be milking cows, gathering eggs, or cleaning out stables? I had been told that farmhouse living was ‘all the rage’ on the little island of Gozo and since I’m no stranger to staying at farms, I figured what the hell. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Farmhouse 37, but in my mind I had this vision of my parent’s old barn in South Dakota.
My first of many surprises was the fact that the farmhouse was in a village, not in the country side. However the village of Munxar on Gozo is quite small. We pulled up to a simple door with the number 37 on the stone wall next to it and the corresponding number in Arabic. It looked like nothing special, but much like an oyster, I was to discover that it’s beauty was on the inside.
Patti and Giuseppe greeted me at the door with their dogs Harry and Coco and they welcomed me into the old farmhouse’s stone corridor. The stones were limestone and light in color but the walls and corners were filled with clever splashes of colorful art and furniture. The sunlight filtered through the open air corridor and I wondered if I would have a roof over my head or it I’d be sleeping under the stars tonight in a stable.
I needn’t fear, little did I know how much luxury and style I was walking into. Giuseppe had me put down my bags and led me around the little enclosed rooms explaining how they used to be donkey quarters or places to tie animals and store feed. But clearly Giuseppe and Patti had a creative vision, as they turned a room that had been used for donkeys into a gorgeously designed living room and office. Each room continued to amaze me with design esthetic and stunning art. Each open air corridor was filled with plants and sculptures; it was vibrant, colorful, worldly – and nothing like any farmhouse I had known.
However they had kept the vestiges of the farmhouse present cleverly using the feed bins previously utilized for animals to store wine in the kitchen. Each room was like looking at a new piece of art in a cozy gallery. The farmhouse was a maze of guest rooms and suites , but there were two central areas that guests could meet and socialize; in the main living room at the front of the farmhouse and at the pool and terrace at the back of the farmhouse. When Giuseppe took me in back to show me the terrace, pool, and gardens I let out a big sigh and could only get out the words, “It’s beautiful”. The pool had inviting lounges which I felt were speaking to me personally to come over and lay down. We went to the more private suites behind the pool and enjoyed the valley view basked in late afternoon sun.
Giuseppe and I decided to enjoy the sunset and go for a drive with the dogs along the southern cliffs near the village of Ta Cenc. We took his old little 4×4 reminiscent of my grandpa’s old beat up truck and went off-roading onto the rough terrain of the clifftops. We drove right out to the edge for the best view. The sun disappeared behind clouds and we enjoyed the last bit of light hiking down to some inlets and getting great views of the watch towers of Gozo and Comino. Along the way we stopped and talked to locals who were out for walks or runs getting their exercise before the sun went down. The whole area had this slow, simple feel to it as if time was standing still for a few moments and I relished the feeling.
We arrived back to Farmhouse 37 and Patti had been busy preparing dinner. We sat in the living room and shared wine, meat, and cheese while sharing our various travel and life stories. This is when it became clear to me why Farmhouse37 as so exquisitely decorated and designed; Patti and Giuseppe used to be in the fashion industry in Milan for years before deciding to make a big change in their lives and turn their once vacation home in Gozo into their new business in Gozo. Patti clearly had an eye for design and it most likely came from years of working in Milan as well as her international travel and living background.
We talked about what we had in common – taking the risk to leave your stable, hectic corporate life behind and trying something new. I thought to myself, how do I keep on running into people like this…like me? I don’t think I’ve ever met a guesthouse or B&B owner who specifically knew from a young age that they would be running a business in the hospitality industry. Instead I always meet accommodation owners who are doing something prior in their career and decide to to take a risk to follow their passions. Travelers and the travel industry is a strange breed, but one that I’m proud to say I fit into.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Patti is one of those people who make things seem effortless, especially in the kitchen. They had retrofitted a little kitchen into the old farmhouse design, but out of that kitchen Patti had prepared a delightful dinner of fresh pasta with tomatoes and capers, a salad, smoked salmon, and a crème caramel for dessert; it was all sourced from her neighbors and their friends who farmed locally. She does all of the cooking for the Farmhouse guests, which makes your experience there even that much more special and personal.
There were many personal touches Farmhouse37 provided such as the little chocolates and sweets in each room, and Patti even laid out a book for me that she thought I may be interested in called Uncommon: Malta + Gozo, a book about unusual stories and experiences in the Maltese archipelago. I thought, she couldn’t have been more on target with that book choice for me; I only wish I knew about it earlier!
They also could create special personalized touches if requested. In addition to a massage room, they have planned special anniversary celebrations for people, parties, personalized picnics, boat trips, and even adventurous seaplane trips. That’s the beauty of being a small business; you can be flexible and really meet your visitor’s needs.
It’s no surprise that Patti, Giuseppe and I hit it off and I felt like we talked non-stop the whole evening about their old jobs, passions, and of course we swamped travel stories from near and far. I not only left stuffed full of fresh food the next morning, but I also left with a list of contacts that Patti provided me for my ongoing journey in Europe; her friends, artists, and travel industry people. The only thing I was disappointed in at Farmhouse37 was that I had to leave the old comfortable farmhouse and my new friends so soon.
If you are in Gozo, be sure to treat yourself to a little farmhouse luxury and go say hi to my friends Giuseppe and Patti.
Farmhouse37 Accommodation Information:
Rates: Room rates fall between 120 to 220 Euro including breakfast.