Our Story

The Painted Hills Vacation – Cottages & Retreat is a family-owned and operated accommodation business that was founded in 2008 by my mother and myself, Barbara and Aruna Jacobi. Our family, originally from Germany, has lived in the United States for almost 30 years now.

After running a successful restaurant in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market for ten years together with my two sisters, we all felt that it was time for a change in 2000, and, after much traveling, fell in love with Eastern Oregon. I decided to stay in Seattle for a few years longer, go back to school and get a Bachelors of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from Baster University of Washington. After many world travelings, I joined my parents in Eastern Oregon. My parents, both artists, had settled down in Mitchell and spent much time and energy to remodel the two houses that would become the Painted Hills Vacation Rentals in 2008.

In 2015, we bought a third property to expand the growing business. Barbara, with the help of some local handymen, remodeled it lovingly, adding a beautiful dormitory space on the lower level with two bathrooms and 10 more individual beds.

With this additional new house, called the Sunset Cottage for its spectacular sunset views, we decided to come up with a new concept of offering the three houses together as retreat and workshop spaces for small groups. While this concept takes root, we’re continuing with the successful vacation rental part of the business, renting out these 3 unique cottages to visitors from around the world. Barbara, a writer and master gardener, created the beautiful gardens connecting the properties with many magic nooks and corners. She can often be found in the gardens tending her plants and is always happy to share a special moment with our guests. My late father painted many of the pictures adorning the walls of the rooms in all of the cottages.

We ourselves live on a 33-acre ranch out on Burnt Ranch Road, about 15 miles from the town of Mitchell, past the Painted Hills, close to Sutton Mountain and along the John Day River. After all these many years living out here in this vast rugged place, we’re still amazed and touched by its wild poetic beauty. We have come to know and love the area well and are happy to share the secret places off the beaten tracks with our guests who often keep coming back year after year. We will point you in the right direction of the most beautiful hiking trails, the best spots to fish and swim along the river, and the magnificent scenic byways in our region.

We are sure you will enjoy your vacation or your special retreat here with us at the Painted Hills Vacation – Cottages & Retreat and hope to see you soon! Come as a stranger and leave as a friend!
Barbara and Aruna



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