As featured in Joyce Copeland’s book, “Renting Paradise”

Sonoma Creek Cottage
Cozy-chic sanctuary surrounded by flowers, forest and tumbling water

Two-bedrooms/one bathroom (sleeps 4)

Hidden away from the world, Sonoma Creek Cottage rests on a lush ribbon of green lawn, landscaped gardens and grassy meadow, hugging the banks of a forested creek. It’s a dream destination if you truly want to get away from it all.

Once we latched the gate on the quiet country lane and cleared a curve of gravel driveway, my husband and I didn’t see or hear a soul – unless you count an occasional bleat from the trio of sheep grazing the neighboring hillside. The grounds are so private, I felt comfortable wandering among the Spanish moss-draped pines in my bathrobe. In warmer weather, I’d seriously consider skinny-dipping in the pool.

Even if you’re traveling with your family or another couple, there are several secluded “outdoor rooms” – bordered by rose bushes and furnished with teak chairs and vine-covered arbors- where you can retreat to write in your journal, meditate or chat. On a hot summer day, I’d sneak down the stairs to the creek and dangle my feet in the froth of cool water.

It was chilly mid-winter during our visit and the creek was up. It sounded like a raucous downpour even inside. So we decided to just hang out by the fire.

Sonoma Creek Cottage looks like a page torn form the Pottery Barn catalog. Gleaming, honey-brown hardwood floors and stylish sconces on dimmers made the living room glow with a cozy warmth that invites napping.

“We felt immediately at home here,” a former guest wrote in the guest book. We did, too. In fact within minutes of our arrival, I had the curious feeling that the owners could read my mind. Fresh espresso beans in freezer. An eclectic selection of music, from Grieg to Peter Gabriel. A big oval tub with a window on the creek. A leather chair and ottoman with a reading lamp. A closet full of terry robes. For me, it has the “ahhh” factor going, in spades.

There are plenty of personal touches to make you feel welcome in any season. The picnic basket-complete with fashionable plastic glasses and dishware-was perfect. There are kickboards in the pool house and even a straw hat for sunbathing on the wraparound deck.

The master bedroom has a beautiful dark wood queen-sized bed with a can’t-wait-to-sink-into-it feather top. The second bedroom is smaller, but it faces the creek with a set of French doors opening to the deck. It has a double bed. Because I know couples who refuse to sleep in anything smaller than a queen (what happened to spooning?), you may be relieved to know that there’s also a queen-sized bed that folds out from the living room couch.

When (if?) you’re ready for the world again during your stay-some of Sonoma County’s best wineries are a short drive away. We had a fabulous dinner at a Latin-inspired restaurant called “The Girl and the Fig” (707) 938-2130; in the tiny village of Glen Ellen. You can order a variety of small plates (tapas) or complement meat and fish entrees with sauces and salsas distinctive to Brazil, Cuba, Argentina or Spain.