About Us

About Us

The Painted Hills Vacation – Cottages & Retreat is a family owned business, operated by a mother and daughter team, Barbara and Aruna Jacobi. Originally from Germany, the Jacobi’s have lived in the US for over 30 years.

After creating and running the successful restaurant SISTERS in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market for 10 years, the Jacobi sisters and their mother sold this business in 2000. After much travelling, Barbara fell in love with the Painted Hills and the unique Eastern Oregon region, and moved permanently to Mitchell with her husband Achim, an artist whose landscape pictures adorn many of the walls of the cottages.

The vacation rental business was created in 2008 as a means to create an income. Barbara and Aruna saw the potential of the area as a great tourist attraction, and were involved in making the Painted Hills part of the scenic Byway “Journey through Time”, working relentlessly to put Mitchell and the area on the Map for visitors from all around the world. They’ve worked with Travel Oregon and the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association to bring more attention to this special area and the significance of the Painted Hills as a tourist destination.

The business has grown over the years from the original 2 cottages to 4 properties, and a cabin. Barbara, a Master gardener and a creative Tour de Force, is always ready to take on a new project. She’s responsible for many of the special features of the cottages that make them so unique including the lush European gardens. Aruna, a chef with a Bachelor’s degree in Herbal Science from Seattle’s Bastyr University, has been busy with making the business viable, and well known on an international scale as a great base for exploring the area.

Barbara lives on a 33 acre ranch about 8 miles beyond the Painted Hills on Burnt Ranch Rd. across the John Day River and drives every day to Mitchell to tend to her gardens or spearhead the latest project. Aruna has been going back between Mitchell and Cologne, Germany for the past decade. She’s been committed to the business for every High season from March till September, taking a well-deserved break during the low season months to be with her husband and family in Germany.

After all the many years living in this vast rugged place, the Jacobi’s are still amazed and touched by its wild poetic beauty. They have come to know and love the region well, and are happy to share the secret spots like best swimming holes, greatest hikes off the beaten tracks, and most magnificent views with their guests.

They are wonderful hosts and their motto is” come as a stranger, leave as a friend”! They are confident that every one of their guests will enjoy their stay at Painted Hills Vacation – Cottages & Retreat, and have wonderful adventures in this magnificent part of Oregon.

Website Photography provided by:

Laura Wilensky
Journeys Thru Time Photography

Barbara Jacobi in her beloved garden
aruna jacobi
Aruna Jacobi and Ella the dog at the Burnt Ranch
painted hills resort
Laura Wilensky, Reservations Manager and Website Photographer
housekeeping staff
Housekeeping Manager
June Nissinen: Cottages Painter Artist and Statue Decorator

New COVID -19 Info. for the Painted Hills Cottages – 2022

Painted Hills Vacation – Cottages & Retreat

We Remain Open and Ready to Welcome Guests!

In these difficult times, we highly recommend our secluded cottages, each surrounded by a garden (dogs are welcome), nestled in the stunning landscape of the nearby Painted Hills and Blue Basin. It’s the perfect getaway for self isolation and reflection! Each of our 4 cottages has a private entry, spacious fenced garden, and parking directly in front of the property. Social distancing is easy to maintain if you bring your own food and cook your meals in the fully equipped kitchens. As the rules and restrictions for each state are subject to change, we suggest that you know what is required before you make your trip.

Our Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocol for COVID-19

We’re following the new cleaning and sanitizing protocol of the Oregon Health Authority, OHA.

We’re cleaning all surfaces with germ killing cleaning supplies, and sanitize them afterwards with a bleach solution.

We’re very aware of how important these protocols are in the current situation, and understand our responsibility to help minimize the spread of COViD -19!

Hiking, Biking, Wildlife, Nature!!

The three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, including the Painted Hills, are open again!! Including this highlight of our area, there are ample awe-inspiring hiking and biking opportunities in the close vicinity of Mitchell.  Fantastic views around every bend in the road!

Be in Nature to relieve the stress of the last months, relax and rejuvenate!

Travel Information for Oregon

If you travel directly to the cottage, you should be able to minimize your contacts and can easily keep the social distancing rules.

Call us at 541 462 3921 for special rates for longer stays of more than 5 days! The longer you stay, the better the Rate!

Aruna and Barbara