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Stoneapple Farm Writers' Cottage

Bedrooms 2
Property type farmhouse
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Farmhouse, 2 Bedrooms + Other (See Description), 2 Baths, (Sleeps 4)

This unique, 29-inch thick walled stone country writer's house looks out on six acres of sloping orchard and meadow with clusters of live oak, pear trees, and myriad daffodils every spring.

Built in the late 19th century of stone from the surrounding property as an apple storage and packing house, its thick walls and corrugated roof made it suitably cool for this use through sometime before World War II.

In the late 1940’s, an architect from San Marino recognized its unique character and bought the property to create a country house for himself and his wife. They broke through the walls for windows and doors on all sides which fill the house with light, and named it Stoneapple Farm. The stonemasons also crafted the large fireplace in the living room and a carpenter camped in the house for three months fashioning the country cupboards in the kitchen and pantry and original built-in bookshelves, which include 28 feet for cookbooks in the kitchen. The library throughout the house includes classic works of literature, southwest history, natural history and psychology.

Scott O’Dell, the novelist and Southwest historian, and his wife, Jane Dorsa O’Dell, bought Stoneapple Farm in 1956 and owned the house together until 1989. She lived at Stoneapple Farm for over fifty years until 2008. The house remains in the family. Ms. O'Dell wrote her advice column “Dear Jane Palmer” for the Los Angeles News Mirror while Scott was writing Island of the Blue Dolphins, Newbery Medal winner in 1961, then King’s Fifth and The Black Pearl, also for young readers.

The most recent book finished and foreword written at Stoneapple Farm is German author Dirk Rohrbach’s Americana: In 180 Tagen mit dem Rad einmal um die USA (Gebundene Ausgabe) (2009), an account of his 10,000-mile bicycle journey around the United States.

Keywords: Country house, historic, light-filled, gracious, quiet

More Details

Gillian Russell Gilhool, Trustee
Member since: 2010
Speaks english
Response time:
Within 2 days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
June 19, 2018

About Gillian Russell Gilhool, Trustee

Julian and Stoneapple Farm is our country haven now after many satisfying years practicing law in the public interest. Having met at law school in Connecticut, we spent most of our life together in Philadelphia, PA, Tom's native habitat, raising two children, each now with two children of their own on either side of the country.

Gillian Russell Gilhool, Trustee purchased this farmhouse in 2008

Why Gillian Russell Gilhool, Trustee chose Julian

I first saw Julian with my California aunt and uncle when I was 14. Years later, living in Los Angeles with husband and small children, we celebrated Thanksgivings and Christmas with Aunt Jane at Stoneapple Farm. The beauty and embrace of the house and land brought us back and back again. We inherited it from the aunt who loved and constantly renewed the culture of Stoneapple Farm for fifty years. We have the great fortune now to be able to spend several months a year at Stoneapple, our country house far from Philadelphia, PA that you too can welcome the chance to enjoy in its every aspect.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Hi Gillian this is Carina xxxxxxx. We want to say thank you for trusting us. We had so much fun the whole week. We loved the cabin, it was so comfortable. On the Saturday that we left it started snowing and we wished we could of stayed a week more. We had a great time. Thank you! Hopefully you and your family had a great Thanksgiving. -Carina


It will be fine if you want to include my note as a testimonial.
Nov 2008
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Accommodation and Amenities for this vacation farmhouse rental in Julian, California

Property Type:
  • farmhouse
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Mountain View
  • Away From It All
  • Historic
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Broadband Access
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Fireplace ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Catering Available
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Other (See Description) - 2 twin/ single , 1 sleep sofa /futon , twin trundle bed
  • Queen size Beds (1), Twin or Single Beds (1) Trundle bed in second bedroom becomes two separate single beds if sleeping accomodation for four people is required., Baby Cribs (1) Pack 'n' play is available.
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • Deck / Patio ...
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • museums
  • playground
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • mountaineering
  • rock climbing
  • swimming
  • tennis
Not available for multi-guest special events or celebrations.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(11 traveler reviews)

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Stoneapple Farm Writers' Cottage
average rating of 5.0 based on 13 reviews

Beautiful and relaxing

  • 5 of 5

Could not have been more pleased with Stoneapple farm cottage. Lots of character, beautiful and very relaxing. We would love to stay again!

  • Submitted: 28-May-2018
  • Stayed: May 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful home and surroundings. Quiet and serene; just what we needed.

  • 5 of 5

Home was not modern, but it was beautiful. Tons of character and perfect for bookworms like us. We spent 3 nights and only left once to go out to dinner. No TV so if you need electronic entertainment, bring something to stream on. There is WiFi.

We brought our two Scottish Terriers and they LOVED the fenced back area. Lots of running room.

  • Submitted: 24-May-2018
  • Stayed: May 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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‘Back to Simpler Times’ describes Stoneapple.

  • 5 of 5

There is a tremendous amount of history associated with this property. It is unique, mysterious and inviting. Seriously relaxing and peaceful as well. The owner and her caretaker are wonderful to work with. I can’t recommend this property enough!

  • Submitted: 19-Feb-2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Orange County

Cozy, lovely little cottage

  • 5 of 5

My husband and I got back recently from a weekend getaway at Stoneapple Farm, and we had a marvelous time! Everything was bright and green from the recent rain, and there were tons of flowers, little streams, and other Spring treats to look at. Our Corgi had a marvelous time hopping through the grass :)

The cottage itself is a homey little place with a lot of atmosphere. I don't know how I managed this, but I rented the place without really realizing who the former owner/author was - and then while doing the initial walk-through of the house, had that moment of revelation - "Oh, *that* Scott O'Dell!" This former librarian is a little embarrassed. I was absolutely thrilled to spend a few nights in the place where one of my favorite childhood books was written. The cottage has a lot of little touches that make it feel like a home, and we were very comfortable while there - it's the perfect place to while some time away reading, playing board games, or going for a walk. Keep an eye out for the wild turkeys and herds of deer...we saw both several times.

  • Submitted: 29-Mar-2017
  • Stayed: March 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Perfect getaway

  • 5 of 5

We just returned from our Fourth of July holiday spent at this lovely farmhouse. We were happy to see that previous reviews were spot-on, this really is the perfect getaway. We were impressed with how well appointed the house was, amazingly clean and comfortable, and with so much character!

Our dogs had a blast running in the acres behind the house, but then we could also safely secure them in the fenced-in back yard.

The town of Julian was as quaint as could be, especially during the 4th of July when everyone came together to celebrate, parade and all. We had plenty to do and see in this little town, from wine tastings to local artisan shopping, then we headed back to the cozy cottage to relax and enjoy our surroundings.

I definitely recommend this property, plus the owner was very professional and efficient in handling the entire process.

  • Submitted: 7-Jul-2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Quaint, Cozy Retreat

  • 5 of 5

What a wonderful weekend spent at Stoneapple Farm. The property itself is 4+ acres of perfect space, with the home nestled in the center. The cottage, as other reviewers have noted, is comfortable, cozy, and has such unique character. While exploring Julian, we found many locals who knew the Odell family personally, and spoke of their own fondness for Stoneapple. I was also very impressed with the back yard's enclosed fencing, which allowed our dog to run and have his own space. I will be booking another stay as soon as I can!

  • Submitted: 27-Jan-2015
  • Stayed: January 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Car: necessary


Rates & Availability

Rental Rates for this vacation farmhouse rental in Julian, California

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee C$99.52
Damage Deposit C$265.38

Rates subject to change until reservations confirmed. Rates lower after third night to $125. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year Holiday rates higher. New Year 2014-2015 remaining open dates December 27-January 5 rates are $250 a night, with 5 night minimum, or $1350 for week, both plus $75 cleaning fee and the $200 fully refundable security deposit.

Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed. Payment is by check with return of signed agreement which will be emailed to guest for approval, signature and return. Less than three or four days notice is difficult to accommodate. Sorry!

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Contact Owner

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