It started with a love affair with Greece and a passion for unusual, soulful places. Groot Paternoster is such a place, and Artemon Cottage was built to remember cosy Greek island cottages. Built of stone and thatch on the dunes, with views down the long beach to Paternoster five kilometres away, Artemon Cottage is a timeless and evocative beach bolthole.
Start the day enjoying coffee and rusks in the cocooning courtyard, as the sun rises over the dunes with luminescent light. Even from the courtyard are enchanting views of beach and bay, through large picture windows and open stable doors. Maybe head down to the countless little bays below for an invigorating swim or a walk along wildly beautiful coastline. You could see dolphins playing just beyond the breakers, whales too in season – maybe even orcas. See if you can spot sea otters in the shallows, and collect yourself a handful of black mussels for lunch.
Here days follow natural rhythms, guided by weather and whims. With 180-degree natural ocean theatre, you can curl up in a window seat and read, or simply gaze out to sea – watching ocean moods and colourful wooden fishing boats heading out on sortees from Paternoster. Not a single house punctuates your view, which looks more like watercolour wall art than lived reality.
This is a place of solitude and soul food. It’s a true beach cottage, with clean screed floors and reed ceilings of yore. Call it an enchanting escape to a bygone era of ‘less is more’ living. Being off the grid and powered by solar and gas simply adds to the authenticity of this unique and intimate space; little recesses and nooks throughout are all safe spaces for candles and lamps.
A free-flowing living space includes the dining area, kitchen and lounge – with built-in sofas around the hearty fireplace. The main bedroom and a loft bedroom are inside under the open antique rafters, along with two bathrooms. A third, stand-alone bedroom leads off the courtyard, and there is an outdoor shower to rinse off after salty sea swims – or frolicking with wild dolphins.
Being on a reserve, don’t be surprised if a mongoose peers through the window, and you will certainly see steenbok nibbling on bushes and maybe even a Cape fox on a mission. Bird life is plentiful – from little robins and buntings to peregrine falcons to rock kestrels. At night Cape eagle owls may hoot from your roof, and when it’s really quiet and the whales are in town you may hear their song echo across the bay.
This is a world within a world, a retreat for artist and writers and lovers of peace and space. And when the sun sets over the sea before you, and the Columbine lighthouse shines its protective beams over the bay, you’ll sense the joy of pared down living – surrounded by unspeakable natural beauty.