At the Red Tractor Farm guesthouse, there was a red tractor. In fact, there were two.
The Red Tractor Farm Guesthouse in Kea
“We have a vintage one that’s on display and one that I use,” Kostis Maroulis pointed out as we drove in to his property, the Red Tractor Farm guesthouse.
Within minutes we arrived at a bright red gate and his truck crunched onto a gravel road. We passed the aforementioned vintage red tractor on the left followed by a lush grove of trees and bushes blooming with pink and purple flowers. Then, to our right we stopped at the last set of series of whitewashed cubist like houses patterned with earth tone and grey stonework balconies.
The Space at the Red Tractor Farm Guesthouse
Kostis led us to one of the Cycladic island style guesthouses. I was traveling with my business partner and friend, Elena. She took the apartment to the right and I took the one to the left.
The studio apartment rooms were simple, cool and comfortable with small kitchen area, bathroom and a double bed area. The interior design reflected the whitewashed architecture of the exterior.
Kostis explained that for larger groups or families, the three units in a guesthouse complex could be rented out altogether. A door would be unlocked in-between them to connect the rooms. That would give the unit a more villa-like feel.
Outdoor Spaces on the Farm
What took me aback was the exterior design which opened up the island’s calm nature around the living spaces. My room featured a spacious outdoor eating area and a fragrant rose garden. Beyond that there were groves of flower, fruit and olive trees that would be perfect for a stroll. The rolling hills of Kea island completed the backdrop.
Kea and the Red Tractor Farm
Kostis and his wife Marcie Mayer opened the guesthouse in 2008. The property belonged to Kostis’ grandfather and it was the place of many childhood memories. He explained that the island has been going through some changes.
“Kea has resisted mass tourism. It has been a weekend place for Athenians but it is getting there,” Kostis explained. Kea can be reached via a one hour ferry journey from the Athens port of Lavrio.
The Acorn Initiative at the Red Tractor Farm
Marcie, an American expat, has a special relationship with Kea as well. She started a local food movement from the island by launching the Hamada Acorn Initiative that has restored the acorn as an important product for the local economy. On the global crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter, Marcie successfully collected the initial funding for her Eating Acorns project. She has spoken at TED-X and has been interviewed by the press about her accomplishments.
Elena and I had the opportunity to meet her as she finished up a huge batch of her own brand of organic acorn cookies she produced in time for the Athens Ellada Giorti Gefsies or Celebration of Greek Tastes festival.
“You’ll know the taste, it is much like the oatmeal cookies we eat in the States,” she explained. Placing her hands on her hips, she studied the hundreds of colorful blue packets of acorn cookies piled before her. We congratulated her on getting the job done. Kostis pointed out that shiny metal industrial kitchen equipment that lined the kitchen played an important role in producing the organic cookies.
While she was busy getting her cookies ready before their trip back to Athens, Elena and I sat with Kostis on their balcony for an afternoon coffee. Before she left, Marcie offered us a plate of her acorn cookies with a smile. Delicious. The taste was very similar like the American oatmeal cookie I had grown up with. Not sweet (loved that) and packed with flavor. It was a perfect energizing yet healthy snack.
The couple’s love of the land doesn’t stop with a food movement. Kostis produces wine on the Red Tractor Farm. They also sell local jams and other locally sourced products.
One thing is for sure, the owners of the Red Tractor Farm Guesthouse are in tune with the beauty of Kea island and the natural products the Cycladic island is capable of producing.
While the Red Tractor Farm guesthouse boasted a few tractors, I must report, I didn’t come into contact with any farm animals. That was fine with me. The peace of the gardens during my stay was absolutely perfect and I’d opt for the gorgeous scent of garden roses on a sunny Mediterranean day – any day.
Ten minute walk from the port. Transfers can be arranged. Ten minute walk from a nearby beach. Twenty five minute walk to Voukari where one can find bars and restaurants to spend the evening. In general, a car or motorcycle is recommended during a stay on Kea to get around an d explore easily.
Conclusion: Red Tractor Inn
Beautiful natural environment. Peaceful. Open spaces. Modern accommodation. Kitchenette. Walking distance to port and beach. Locals as hosts. Families and groups that want to remain together during holiday but have some privacy at the same time. Those who love nature and peace and quiet.
How to get to Kea: Take a ferry from the port of Lavrio. Tickets start at 11 Euro one way. Check www.openseas.gr for ferry schedules.
Red Tractor Farm
Double Room: 70- 90 Euro
Studio: 100 – 150 Euro
Price includes free transfer from Korissia Port, housekeeping, firewood and Internet. Check availability and the best rates by clicking here.