Zorbathes is a peaceful valley which is hidden close to the centre of Skiathos Island. It is green & fertile & surrounded by pine forests. Through the bottom of the valley run stream beds whose banks are covered by an abundance of wild flowers & ferns, & are shaded by massive plane trees. Our end of the island, which is closest to the Pelion Peninsular, receives a goodly amount of winter rain & the lushness of the valley & the surrounding pine forests reflect this.
We (Lida & Geof Baldry) have lived here for over 20 years & have spent that time creating an environment which has all the creature comforts but still feels like the unspoiled Greece which we have come to love. We started with no road, no water & no house, but we dug our own well & carried the materials for our first (wooden) house by horse & donkey along the narrow track that eventually became our road. We now have 3 very solid houses built of stone & wood, bricks & mortar (see description of houses later), running water, electricity, telephone & even an internet connection, but we have a special appreciation of all these “normal” things by having had to struggle hard to achieve them. We have come to value the peace & quiet here, above everything else. One can find more than enough noise pollution & stress in this ever faster moving world of ours, but places where one can truly relax are becoming few & far between.
About the Houses
We have endeavored to build our houses from as much native material as possible, with rock from Skiathos & pine & chestnut wood from Pelion. We have learned as we have gone along with many mistakes & frustrations (but isn’t that what learning as all about?) & we feel that we have now achieved a fairly close harmony between nature’s beauty & man’s necessities. The kitchens are fully equipped with ovens, 4 cooking rings, coffee makers, electric kettles, etc. They both have washing machines. All of our buildings have open log fires which we love to sit in front of, with a glass of wine from our own grapes, on a cold winter’s day. They are all insulated, with double glazing, to keep them warm in winter & cool in summer. We have planted fruit trees & flowering shrubs around them to complement & enhance the existing pine & olive trees. We also use grape vines for shade as they produce a wonderfully deep, but dappled shade in the summer & then allow the winter sun through after their leaves have dropped. (They also provide us with the grapes from which we make our wine & we can understand how the ancient Greeks regarded the vine as a gift of the gods.)
Thank you both for a very enjoyable stay at Zorbades. The Farmhouse was a very comfortable place to spend the Winter, plenty of room and nice and warm thanks to the central heating and the wood burning stove. ~ Anne & Max
Special Activity Holidays
Apart from renting our houses as straight accommodation, we are also happy to arrange special activity vacations. One example is a painting holiday where you can take advantage of the wonderful Greek light and also, if you wish, receive instruction from a qualified teacher. We can offer walking holidays where you will get to the places on Skiathos that most people do not reach and enjoy beautiful scenery on the way. Also possible are wildflower holidays, sailing holidays, tennis holidays, holidays partly on Skiathos and partly on Pelion or Mount Olympus, or combinations of all the above. If you have a special pursuit you would like to follow, email me and see if we can arrange something suitable.
Zorbathes as a Retreat
It has been suggested to us that we have, in Zorbathes, an ideal set up for a retreat for various sort of workshops or “mini therapy center” or simply a place for groups that need a quiet environment to achieve particular goals that need minimal distractions. The suggestion was made by friends who are therapists & with whom we worked together at “Amethyst”, which was a center set up on Skiathos for the treatment of drug, alcohol & other life-disturbing problems. Unfortunately “Amethyst” did not make sufficient money to continue, but we, & several other people living here, derived a lot of information about ourselves, & our abilities to help people with problems, which was of immense value to us. This is not to say that we set ourselves up as therapists or counselors, but that we know how to create and work within an environment that would help people to grow in whatever way they had chosen.
With our 2 houses, we could house a group of up to 14, plus 2 leaders who could have their own accommodation in the apartment attached to our house. We would be willing to work in conjunction with the leaders, providing basic necessities for the smooth flow of work & perhaps providing an evening communal meal. We have 2 telephone lines, fax, e-mail & internet access, video playback facilities & a willingness to work within any reasonable schedule that could be set up.
Skiathos itself has much to offer, even out of the normal May to October tourist season. There is an excellent tennis club, many beautiful walks, places of historic interest & trips to neighboring islands, to mention but a few.
Zorbathes for the Off Season
Our villas are available from (roughly) October through April for a long term let. The Farmhouse has central heating, an open fireplace (which can be closed for safety) and is a fully equipped house with all mod. cons. from gas cooker to washing machine. The Barn is similar but does not (yet) have central heating. The Farmhouse has a telephone line for Internet access.
These are ideal houses for anyone wishing to experience autumn, winter and spring conditions in Skiathos. Perfect for writing that book or just for a truly relaxing long break.