From happy customer to (totally dog-friendly) holiday cottage owner!
Where to start… Ah, yes! Holidays!
What do we want from a holiday? Possibly, fun and spending time with family or friends. Mostly likely, relaxation (fingers crossed). Certainly, no daily chores (I know, some of you hoover or wash floors, but I’m thinking more cleaning bathrooms type chores).
Definitely, being able to take our furry family away with us (no jokes, please!). Then there’s eating (a lot). Drinking even.
But I suspect for most of us a holiday is about ‘getting away from it all, visiting somewhere new or somewhere we love.’
There are many reasons to come to Norfolk. Maybe you like the beaches. Maybe you prefer the countryside. Perhaps, you enjoy walking in the woods or a park. Then there’s family activities or historic buildings. For some there’s boating on The Broads. Even visiting Norwich. Whatever, or wherever, there’s something for everyone. And Norfolk is fantastically dog-friendly so our dogs can join us in most places out and about.
So, why choose East Ruston Cottages for your holiday?
Surely, it’s the dog friendliness (welcomingness isn’t a word!); the variety and choice of properties, the different areas they’re in and of course that important thing, the budget. And, not to mention, Sue’s A* service… obvs!
When I discovered ERC I enjoyed reading the different details about each holiday cottage, looking at the photos and ticking off my list of needs. Decide, check availability, book! Sorted. Yay!
East Ruston Cottages (or ERC) has many repeat guests. Some return to the same cottage but many like to move round trying different cottages. That’s something we liked to do, before buying The Crib.
The beauty of having choices is that if one is booked, maybe another will be available.
We’ve stayed in six ERC properties. We’ve also, you won’t be surprised to hear, stayed at The Crib (which, let’s be honest, would be weird if we didn’t). I’d wanted to buy a holiday cottage many years ago after staying somewhere that wasn’t very well equipped and felt a bit tired and sort of grubby. It was disappointing although we did enjoy the holiday. That’s when I started to think about setting up my own holiday cottage.
I wanted somewhere that matched the loveliness of a cottage that didn’t allow dogs. Why should only dog free cottages be charming?! I longed to be able to welcome unlimited dogs, so that families with lots of dogs could have somewhere special to stay. We had four large dogs at the time.
Once we were home, I started to find out more about holiday cottages, and I met with a financial advisor. At that time, we couldn’t afford to do it so I had to put it to rest, which I did, until we next went on holiday and the dream would be rekindled.
Eventually, some years later, when our circumstances were different, I looked into it again. This time we could afford to do it. I was so excited. It felt like the right time. We had discovered ERC. We loved Norfolk. Norfolk is so dog welcoming. Great, off we go!
We attempted to buy two places before The Crib was up for sale. I began to realise, once we were buying The Crib, that whilst these other places were great holiday homes, they weren’t great holiday homes for us as a family. If it was going to work all round, our holiday home needed to work for us too. In retrospect I’m glad the sales didn’t happen.
At last the day came when The Crib became ours. The 1st September 2017!
I picked up the keys and wandered round the house. I spent a long time there making notes and taking photographs. I’ll admit I cried a little too. I loved this house and it looked tired. It needed some TLC and I promised it that I was the person to do it!
As the days passed and the work began to be completed, The Crib slowly but surely started to shine again. There was more work needed than we’d anticipated but somehow, we managed, and the work got done. Over many months I searched for furniture and travelled the country buying and collecting it. I sourced items to decorate it inside and followed the ERC Facebook page avidly, paying particular attention to those posts asking guest’s opinions about things.
Finally, we opened our doors to our first guests at the end of December 2017. It was a bumpy beginning, but not unusually so, I suspect. We’ve added things as we’ve gone along, fixed things and I’m learning a lot along the way.
It is early days for us. It’s only been about 18 months to date but I’m loving it! I love having a beautiful home that I can share with other dog owners. I am delighted that we can welcome unlimited numbers of dogs and knowing that you will all fit in the house and garden comfortably pleases me greatly. I get excited when a booking is made.
I love Norfolk. I love Happisburgh. That lighthouse is amazing!
And so, to the future. What next?
Well, I have plans! Haha, my poor husband! Yes, we’ve spoken to that financial advisor again (he’s a wonderful man, especially when he says what I want to hear). Another cottage? Yes. Definitely. But not just yet. For now, The Crib is our holiday home to enjoy and share.
>> Check out the Crib! Click here to view photos, property details and availability!