A Vintage Getaway in a 1959 Airstream
Sitting in a dark and tired studio apartment on this years summer holiday to Greece, I longed to be staying somewhere better. I’d booked our accommodation last minute, and I didn’t care much what the apartment was like because the location was in central Chania. Plus at £450 for the week, it was a steal. But sitting there in that basic studio, I contemplated my dissatisfaction and vowed I would do my best going forward to stay in places that make me feel good, location aside.
Lying on the dilapidated balcony, I hit up Airbnb and selected my criteria - we must have the entire place to ourselves, it must be in the country, and most importantly it must have a hot tub. The weak-flow shower that kept falling on my head in the Chania apartment would not do, and I had been aching for a hot bath – so I thought why not go the extra mile and get a hot tub.
I came across a vintage Airstream caravan (or ‘trailer’ to be consistent and use the American term) called the Tin Can Cottage in Goodleigh, Devon. I booked a long weekend in for my and my fiancé James without even asking if he wanted to go (I have a habit of doing that…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). If you haven’t guessed from a lot of the content I post here at Private Room, I am a vintage fanatic. I also fantasise about owning and renovating a vintage caravan on a regular basis, in part because I desperately want to be a member of the Retro Caravan Club. So naturally I was drawn to staying in this 1959 beauty.
Airstreams were made to be lightweight (as ‘light as air’, even), have streamlined movement when in tow, and provide first-class accommodation wherever one is in the world. Founder Wally Byam designed the first trailer in the 1930s, and by the 1950s Airstream had gone for a travel trailer company to a cultural movement. Wally had become synonymous with his work and despite his death in 1962, Airstream are still going today.
The not-so-fussed-about-staying-in-a-caravan James drove us to Coombe Farm, where the Tradewind Airstream is situated. Parking up we met owner Matt who lives on-site in a big white farmhouse with his partner Lisa. He’d come out to say hello and show how us to use the Dutch hot tub – a wood fired tub we’d soon come to realise takes around 6 hours to heat from cold. He advised patience would be a virtue, but it’ll be worth it. Luckily he’d the lit the fire earlier so it was good to go that evening.
That night, whilst pouring myself a glass of red wine and squeezing on my two-sizes-too-small swimsuit, I lusted over the caravan’s high spec appliances. The kitchen has a SMEG fridge, a Le Creuset whistling kettle and my favourite Denby Halo mugs. The quilt and pillows are duck feather, with linen sheets and of course a memory foam mattress. There’s hammam towels in the shower room, along with big 1litre bottles of Neals Yard products for our use. That kind of high-end yet understated luxury is right up my street.
Once in the tub I was initially disappointed to find it didn’t bubble like the conventional hot tub. On reflection, I don’t think those neon-lit plastic hot tubs with in-built speakers you’d find in B&Q would be something Lisa and Matt would typically opt for. But that said, I grew to love the Dutch tub. Coming from Bristol, the rural quiet was welcomed along with that earthy sense of wellbeing you get from the smell of wood smoke.
Along with the hot tub, the outdoor area has a trailer which acts as an extended kitchen with a larger sink and a microwave, a sheltered BBQ area for burgers come rain or shine and a fire pit that we lit a couple of times and watched the sun set from (cheesy, I know). Oh and of course, lots of fairy lights - a must for any magical glamping experience.
Our stay was one-of-a-kind in this 1959 gem, and it definitely offers something different than your average rental without skimping on luxuries. If you’re a fellow vintage fanatic, don’t mind sharing half your living space with wild animals, and can hack a six hour wait for the hot tub, you’ll love it.
Click here to book the Tin Can Cottage on Airbnb.
By Pheobe Strange, Editor at Private Room.