Wine Country Personality: Lisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

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lisa_fireflylodge.jpgLisa Neisingh of Firefly Lodge

Six years ago, inspired by the kaleidoscope of natural beauty (mountain peaks, redwood forests and fertile river valleys) of the region, local Sonoma County resident, Lisa Neisingh, bought a riverfront cabin. Located where Russian River and three renown grape growing microclimates (the Alexander, the Dry Creek, and the Russian River Valleys) converge,... just outside Healdsburg, a place known for its world class style and small town charm,... near historic Camp Rose (where Lisa's great-grandmother, Estelle, was the cook in the 1930's),...in the heart of northern Sonoma Wine Country,...there, on the riverbank, you will find Firefly Lodge.
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Lisa envisioned establishing a business that would encourage guests to take time to reconnect with family and friends; to rediscover the relaxed, unhurried, vacation pleasures of a simpler era; and to admire the majestic beauty of Creation.  Lisa enjoyed childhood retreats to a family summer cabin near Occidental, in the western hills of Sonoma County, and wanted to provide a similar experience for her children, and others; and in 2003, Firefly Lodge invited its first guest.

"I chose the name 'Firefly', inspired by a grandmother, Theodora (a designer for Gumps in San Francisco just after the turn of the century) who passed along not only an appreciation for lovely things and fine arts, but also for such charming things as birch bark canoes and fireflies.

Lisa, studied design at UCLA's Santa Monica Design Center, and after a decade of commercial and hospitality design work, enjoyed following her heart and furnishing Firefly in a unique, lakefront cabin style. Wherever possible, natural elements were chosen over man-made (native willow furnishings, a river rock fireplace, cedar log railings). The home is also filled with local landscapes by Lisa's mother, Ann Nichols, an accomplished artist who shows and sells her paintings at the Vignette Gallery on Healdsburg's plaza.

While many in my 'Baby Boom' Generation are thinking of retiring, I'm doing the opposite. After many years as a stay-at-home mom, baking cookies, I'm ready to make other contributions, and what's exciting to me is to approach work with an artist's eye and a love of nature."

The home has sleeping accommodations for up to 12 guests, and is open year round. Amenities include such things as a river view spa, private beach, two kayaks, fishing equipment, and an indoor recreation room with table tennis. Lisa's daughter, Jill Jensen, handles reservations and customer service, while Lisa oversees daily operations.

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Lisa invites you to come soak in a warm spa under the star-filled sky, watch the moonlit river, listen to the rushing water, and the peaceful "kerplunk" of a fish jumping in the nighttime stillness. "To the home's beautiful riverfront setting we simply add our best efforts to provide an aesthetically pleasing, scrupulously clean, relaxing environment, full of interesting things to do."

"This business is not just about the past. It's about sustaining a tradition for my children and grandchildren, as well as creating new traditions for others." Future plans focus on the emerging market of ecotourism, in recognition of an ever increasing need to escape the pressures of city life and to reconnect with nature, in order to recharge one's personal batteries.

A very gratifying part of the business, for Lisa, is enjoying the comments left by guests, such as these:

"There are always concerns when you book accommodations online, that the place won't live up to what it claims to be on the computer screen. Not the case with the Firefly Lodge. Cozy, warm, serene, an incredible deck to watch nature. The weather was PERFECT, but I can easily imagine a different, but equally fabulous experience on a rainy weekend, curled up on those comfy leather sofas in front of the river rock fireplace. we wine'd, dine'd, hot tub'd and ping-pong'd to our hearts content.... thank you! we'll be back!"

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