A Hobbit hamlet perched on the edge of a mountain amid Monterey pines, Hope Cottage is a storybook retreat. This one-room cottage is operated by Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, and is accessible by a 30-minute hike up Green Gulch Trail. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean (as far as Bolinas Lagoon) and Mount Tam and Muir Woods to the north. Your surroundings are 75,000 acres of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and your only neighbors are red-tailed hawks cruising at eye level. Bring your binoculars, kick off your shoes, and watch the sunset from your 680-foot-high aerie. At night, savor the so-close-you-can-touch-'em stars. In the morning, enjoy your coffee while watching the waves crash on Muir Beach below. The interior of Hope Cottage is classic Hobbit: low ceiling, wooden panels, round table with two chairs, a futon couch, a tiny kitchen, and area rugs for splashes of flair. Basic food supplies are included: milk, cereal, bread, pasta, coffee and tea. There's also a cozy wood stove and electricity. That good bottle of wine you've been saving? Bring it.
Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, 1601 Shoreline Hwy., Muir Beach; 415-383-3134. Hope Cottage is $200 per night, with a two-night minimum on weekends; breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the communal dining hall are included. The cottage books up to a year in advance.