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