Maple pine Farm is located near Village Mawphalng about 25 Km or so from the Shillong city ( you have to take right once you cross the Indian air force area on the road to cherrapunjie). We had read few reviews about this place on trip advisor and it was also recommended by Karikor one of the experts on Meghalaya trips on Trip advisor . But we were little bit anxious as well as the place looked very lonely and reviews were mostly by foreigners who are used to this kind of travel. But one thing one was common all the reviews were generally on the positive side including the ones from domestic travelers.
About the place , it is basically a partially barricaded campus having six or seven cottages. Basically it is a kind of home stay because the owners(James and his family) live in one of the cottages , the living room is common and the food is personally cooked by Vallerie and James. As you can see from the photograph, the place is very clean , surrounded by hills, and all are wooden cottages . Though the cottages look like boxes from outside, but they are very nicely done up inside. In our cottage we had lovely bunk bed with wooden stairs, a dressing table and chairs, and the views from the small windows were very nice specially in the morning. There is also a attached toilet with a basin , which is capacious and is very clean typically as in west. For bath you have to go a separate bathroom about 10 meters away where they have facilities for both cold and hot water running on solar energy. Amidst all the isolation those who get bored can watch dish TV, read books or even surf net and there is 24 hrs power supply due to solar panels. Normally the food is served in the common room in the picture and you can get the taste of local cuisine as well. They have got a big oven and we were lucky enough to taste home made muffins and pan cake for the breakfast. Vallerie even manages to cook something for the vegetarian as well. The whole place is very calm and serene and there is no dearth activities- one can trek up a small hill to the sacred forest , can go to nearby church, or can try the arduous David scott trail , or even play football or cricket in the near by ground across the small rivulet. I am told that tents are erected in winters and many tourist undertake treks to nearby places and sometimes make it kind of base camp to go up to Cherrapunjie.
Ideally this is very nice place to relax and get the feel of local culture and place in general and James being very knowledgeable about the local customs and culture adds to the whole experience. But if you are looking for hotel like ambiance or services this is not place for you. Overall the price of both the food and stay is reasonable and the owners being involved in every aspect of your stay adds personal touch to everything. Moreover, there is a place you can park your car and even the driver has a place to stay.
I strongly recommend this place to the domestic tourists specially who are interested in activities and get the feel of local place and culture apart from visiting a place in general. Definitely I’ll revisit this place for a few days sometimes between Nov and Feb .
To quote my wife who did a small write up on this trip after coming back “... It was getting dark and cloudy and just when I thought we were reaching “The Land of Nowhere”, our host, James consoled (airtel worked)us that he was waiting nearby in his jeep, as it would be impossible to reach his little Maple Pine Farm as it is called, in our car in one piece! Sure enough, James and his four year old son, I, took us in his jeep, which bravely waded through a rivulet and steep hillock to reach a fascinating set of cottages. The surroundings were totally green and pristine and for miles there seemed no signs of any settlement! You could clearly hear the sound of the running rivulet merging into the sounds of the night, broken only by the barks of Lucky, their dog, I’s screams and the croaking of the frogs. The entire little settlement was constructed by James and ran mainly on solar energy. James is a Canadian married to Vallerie, a Khasi lady and they have three very cute sons-M,I and R. We were taken to our room which was beautifully built with a bunk bed which had my son jumping in glee. There was a common room bearing flags of India and Canada ,where the boys watched TV and played X-box and Play station. My son did not leave the place and suggested that we should spend the entire trip here. The cooking is done entirely by Vallerie and James and we tasted soft and fresh muffins straight from the oven, baked by James. We had wanted a Khasi meal, hence we were served yellow rice cooked in chicken stock with turmeric and steamed chicken with ginger root and chillies;of course shallots, chillies and tomatoes straight from the garden to top it up with a nice tamarind chutney. Next day ,James took my husband and son through a trek of the Sacred Forest while I took an easier walk. The lunch was packed by Vallerie and we left for Cherrapunjie”
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are somewhere between Camping, Home stay and Bread and Breakfast. We are not a resort. It is a small family run business. ... more less