“Come rest your heart awhile with me. It seems easier here at the beach, amongst the birds and the bay, near the sea. I hope you fall in love you see, to return again and again so that we become dear friends, you and me.” ~ The Green Cottage on Morro Bay
We provide the perfect ingredients for you: nature, quiet, comfort and privacy.
What we are:
We believe there is something extraordinary about this peninsula where the Green Cottage is located. I won’t call it “spiritual” but there is some essence here that creates a profound sense of inner peace and allows people to enjoy life on a deeper, more satisfying level.
It’s difficult to articulate, but our guests develop a deep emotional and intellectual attachment to the Cottage. Maybe it’s the way the early morning sunlight, soft and diffuse, gives way to the first strong rays of the day. Maybe it’s the way this light reflects onto the water and its highlights move in slow tiny waves that eddy in the gentle breeze, flowing upward to white-puffed clouds, ships of white in the blue above.
Maybe it’s how they feel when they stop to soak up that sunshine at the start of the day. Maybe it’s the salty smell of the bay or the sound of distant waves crashing along the shoreline. Maybe it is sitting quietly and watching (and hearing) the shorebirds hunting for food just a few feet away.
Whatever were the specific moments of appreciation, those mini-epiphanies have fully connected them to this place. Those moments happen, almost every time, to almost every guest.
There is a sensory, affective, restorative quality at work here. It is the intrinsic nature and indispensable character of the Green Cottage. And, it has become what our guests experience and expect.
“We want our visitors to feel not like they are staying in a rental, but rather in their favorite aunt’s precious beach cottage, where she gave them the key to stay while she is away sailing in warm foreign waters. The only house rule is to be sure to get sand between your toes.
Who we are:
When Gary and Pandora Karner decided to make the Green Cottage available to visitors they brought a lifetime of experiences, travel treasures and heirlooms into the process of renovation. They decided to optimize every inch and make it cozy and comfortable with an eclectic beach style, complete with a retro beach kitchen.
“We learned early what to do and not to do,” says Gary. “We once rented a 2-bedroom condo on Kauai for 2 weeks. The view was wonderful, but there was only one knife, and it wasn’t even sharp. There were barely enough dishes to serve a simple dinner for four. So we committed before we ever opened the Cottage to do things very differently!”
Gary has an advanced degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Pandora’s degree is in fine arts. Together they have transformed the Cottage into a respite for visitors to enjoy, a place to take a break from too-fast daily lives. Both are actively engaged in the community. Gary served 13 years on the local advisory council and 15 years on the board for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. Pandora is a sailor, runs a local community benefit non-profit, has been a County Park Commission for nearly 30 years, and is a working ceramic artist. They have traveled extensively, each time returning with an even greater appreciation for their corner of paradise.
“Our approach is simple,” says Pandora. “We obsess about providing a great guest experience. We want them blown away by the Cottage’s ambiance and comfort because that results in very happy guests, and in our growing number of guests that return every year.”
Sioux Strebin has been the Cottage Keeper since the beginning. Her background as the owner of a sugarcane hacienda in Venezuela, running a staff and hosting biologists from around the globe, gave her a deep appreciation and understanding on how to prepare for guests and make them comfortable during their visit. She returned in 1997 and the Central Coast has become home to her, her children and now her grandchildren. She was formerly the Facility Manager at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden where her role was offering hospitality to visitors and ensuring their visitor experience was excellent. Along the way she and Pandora met. They are kindred spirits with a mutual love of sailing, travel, exploration and the arts. Together they are a good pairing and have created five-star hospitality for the guests of the Green Cottage for over a decade.
“Visit once,” says Sioux, “and you will see why we have so many five-star reviews, and so many guests who visit every year, sometimes more than once!”
In the early 1900s, Johnny Rogers built the first dwelling on the tip of a wildflower-covered peninsula that juts into the southern end of Morro Bay. He owned a radio shop in San Luis Obispo that sold radios shipped in large wooden crates. With a carpenter friend, he built what is now the Green Cottage out of those crates, a clever combination of thrift and ingenuity. Fisherman and hunters were attracted to the area. Just as today, the estuary teemed with fish, wild ducks and countless bird species.
In the early 1950s Gary’s parents purchased the end of the peninsula and used the Cottage as a weekend and summer residence while they planned and built their dream home next door. The Cottage became the guest house to four generations of Karners and friends. One of the family’s daughters-in-law once baked 12 different flavors of pies for a Thanksgiving feast in the kitchen. College entrance exams were studied for at the kitchen table, and grandchildren rehearsed plays for family talent shows. One son lived in the Cottage while attending Cal Poly, and when he graduated and moved onto his career, the Cottage was completely refurbished.
The charm of the vintage waterfront cottage has been retained, and it is now available to visitors to rent. Since 2009, it has sheltered many guests including famous photographers, musicians, writers and international travelers — all lovers of nature, art, adventure, discovery and quiet. Most return, sometimes more than once a year.