If there is one place in this world that I’m really attached to, it’s Holten. Not by any means well-known or a hotspot, but there you have it… it is simply wonderful. This is Holland at its absolute best! I have to admit I’m rather prejudiced, for I have lots of memories here. Ever since I was born, I’ve been coming here for weekends away and holidays. My grandfather started taking his family to Holten in the days when he was working for the KLM and holiday cottages were available for KLM staff. Later on, my parents rented an old farm with their best friends, where I played in the attached barn and we sat around in the freezing cold every Christmas because the water pipes were frozen. This must be where I developed my love for old buildings and farms.

Next, my parents were able to invest in their own holiday cottage on the Vianen road. As a child, I spent hours roaming the surroundings and peddling through the forest on my little bike. Most of our holidays, breaks and weekends were spent here and I have many fond childhood memories of Holten and its surroundings.

When I was grown, I took my own family and friends to enjoy the happy outdoor life and the long summer evenings, until my parents, in light of their advanced years, were forced to sell the cottage 2,5 years ago. Needless to say, I was very sad. But then I started wondering whether it was the cottage that I was going to miss or its location. And it turned out to be the latter, for Holten and its surroundings are a paradise for true nature lovers. Of course, there is National Park Holterberg, which is great for endless hiking and cycling. My personal favourite is the Borkeld Natural Area, with its mix of bocage landscape, heath and forest. This hidden gem is beautiful in any season. Holten is also perfect if you’re looking to combine your visit with a city trip, for Deventer – really excellent – is only a fifteen minute drive away.

Anyway, there’s no such thing as coincidence, for on Instagram I saw that Martijn and Marleen, owners of a B&B in Doesburg, had bought a house in Holten and were currently renovating it for rental…. the house was located right on the path where my parents’ cottage used to be, in fact they’re the rear neighbours! How extraordinary! The photos were promising too! And so I contacted this friendly young couple and was allowed to test their Bed & Boshuisje this autumn to see whether it fits the bill for Local Hideaways. And – spoiler alert – it does! They have really turned it into a warm and cosy little house!

When my husband and I arrive with our daughter on Friday night, our hosts welcome us warmly, after which they leave us to enjoy the house together. It felt a bit odd at first, same but different, to be back at this place that I knew so intimately. But this feeling soon ebbed away, for, as I said, Martijn and Marleen have really turned it into a lovely home. The user-friendly kitchen is fully equipped, the bedrooms are small but comfortable, with a great bed and built-in closets. Clever, because this saves space. The bathroom is equally small but comfortable: a perfect shower, the toilet is a bit tight, but considering the space perfectly arranged. By the way, the house sleeps three (or two adults and two small children – or you can bring your dog). The masterpiece of the cottage is the living room, featuring a lovely dining table, (high) windows and a relaxed sitting area with television, DVD player and (yes!) fireplace! They’ve really thought of everything, there are logs for the fire, some reading material, a nice bottle of wine and some sweets for the squirrels – which you will definitely spot! How delightful!

The woodland garden is huge and makes this the perfect cottage in any season. In the fall/winter/spring months it is cosy to be indoors with a book, some games and a glass of wine in front of the fire. And as soon as the weather gets better, it’s lovely to sit outside on the porch while the children (if you have them) play around in the garden.

This autumn weekend – my favourite season in the forest – was great for long walks and warm cocoa in the local bar. We were so lucky that the weather was nice, the sun coloured the remaining leaves a golden yellow and added extra shine to our stay. It was lovely to be back in my beloved Holten and the Bed & Boshuisje is a credit to its surroundings and a perfect place to unwind!

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