Three hours from Adelaide, at the end of the Yorke Peninsula that stretches down like Italy’s boot into the Southern Ocean, I’m welcomed home to a place I’ve never been before.
Marion Bay is a barefoot town. A one-shop town. The kind of shop that sells everything from bait to peanut butter but only gets fresh bread sporadically.
When someone says they’re going out for dinner, you know they’ll be at the Tavern. It’s the only spot in town.
It’s fishing shacks and caravans. Jetties and boardwalks and seashells.
And it’s the place where My Sister & The Sea holds anchor amongst the casuarinas, on the doorstep of the ridiculously beautiful Innes National Park.
I’ve stayed in plenty of Airbnbs but this three-bedroom cottage is something special. Even though I’ve pored over photos for months before making the pilgrimage here, nothing compares to the feeling of anticipation that comes with opening the old screen door and turning the key to step inside.
“…It’s fishing shacks and caravans. Jetties and boardwalks and seashells.“
This Swedish-designed kit home was originally purchased by the South Australian government as social housing but when thrifty sisters Emma Read and Sarah Hall purchased it in 2015, they set about transforming it into the ultimate holiday home for their two families; a place of laughter, puzzles, card games, and sandy feet.
My bowerbird heart soars as time peels on, as the layers of treasures and trinkets unveil themselves during our two-night stay. There’s such beauty in simplicity, in the pared-back nature of this beach shack where you won’t find a TV but instead can spend your evenings watching the ‘bush telly’ around the fire pit in the backyarde.
Love and whimsy permeates the house. At its heart is a kitchen fit for a gourmand with eco sensibilities and a big farmhouse table for sharing meals with family and friends. Artisan ceramics and vintage glassware fills the shelves, mismatched cutlery adds charm, and you’ll even find keep cups and stainless steel lunch boxes to take with you on your daily adventures.
Each of the three bedrooms has been carefully curated and styled with nautical trinkets, vintage storybooks, maps and paintings, and the softest French linen bedding.
In the bathroom, a scientific chart of molluscs takes pride of place above an antique cabinet, while you can slide up the casement windows above the porcelain vanity to let the sea breeze in through the bead curtain that hangs outside.
“…slide up the casement windows above the porcelain vanity to let the sea breeze in through the bead curtain“
Open the glass doors to step out onto the tiered timber deck and you’ll feel like a fisherman returned safely to shore. Whether you’re soaking in the vintage outdoor tub, twirling under the festoon party lights, digging in the sandpit with the kids, or kicking back in one of the sling chairs with a book, this is where life slows to its intended pace.
An added bonus is the cleverly converted shed with timber French doors, which now serves as a living and games room with comfy leather chairs to sink into and a cupboard stuffed with puzzles.
There’s many differences between staying in a stock-standard holiday home and somewhere like My Sister & The Sea. The biggest of all, however, is the indelible impression left on my heart.
Book My Sister & The Sea here.