What you crave is sometimes right under your nose; only, you look elsewhere. Well, that saying is probably true.
My friend and I decided to flee Beijing during Mid-Autumn Festival. Our ideal chill-out destination, we wished, should be tranquil, picturesque, homey, fun, accessible and affordable. Preferably, it should offer the best of both worlds - a bit of nature like mountains, waters, wildflowers, farms, plus digital-age creature comforts like broadband Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
Our shortlist of places far and near got pruned pretty quickly: places didn't tick the boxes. And then, we chanced upon a farmstay option on a vacation rental app.
The place met all of our criteria and then some, if you include great hospitality, bucolic beauty, rural Chinese culture and a glimpse into the homestay business.
For over three days, we got to savor all these just about 100 kilometers northeast of Beijing, on the northern edge of the Miyun Reservoir, near Bulaotun's Yunfeng scenic spot (home to a breathtaking lavender garden on a mountaintop).
The farmhouse, called Wonderful, is run by Sun Yun, a retired schoolteacher, and her husband Fang Qibin, a farmer (and domestic help, facility manager, local guide, barbecue specialist, chef, and pet minder).
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