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11

Exchange Reviews

January - December 2009

We will never forget this first exchange experience in USA. ...

Camil & Lise
Camil & Lise from Le Plateau-Mont-Royal said

We will never forget this first exchange experience in USA. All information left by Joe and Leslie were useful for the duration of our stay specially for suggestions of visits as well as availability to answers questions through email. Car exchange simplified so much getting to all beautiful surroundings like Point Reyes, Mont Tamalpais and Pacific Ocean. (Hwy 1). We feel like we have known Joe and Leslie like long time friends just to live in their inspiring house. The best of 2 worlds: mountains & ocean, the birds and the garden, the trails and so close to San Francisco and the Napa Valley. This is one of the TOP 10 places for nature lovers.

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Camil & Lise's house:

If you EVER want to go to Europe without having to cross the Atlantic, MONTREAL is the place to visit. And the Bourque's 24th floor 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom aerie, overlooking the city, is THE ideal place from which to explore the City. rnrnThe Bourque home is located in THE trendiest part of town, the Mont Royal Plateau and you could spend the whole exchange just hiking and biking, and never even using their car, if you wanted to. A ton of wonderful adventures in Montreal (not to mention a sidetrip to nearby Quebec City). This was one of our most favorite of 35-plus exchanges! And Lise is a great communicator, too, keeping in touch with us quite often via e-mail, during the exchange. And if you think Americans are the world's

January - December 2010

Joe and Leslie are very experienced home exchangers, and they ...

Mike and Melaina
Mike and Melaina from South Carolina said

Joe and Leslie are very experienced home exchangers, and they already have received just about every praise possible. This makes it hard to add anything more than to confirm what has been said, which we do with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, this was such a positive exchange that we must say more. The house is cozy, comfortable and easily adaptable to folks unfamiliar with it (particularly with the extensive "house book" and the thoughtful sticky notes left by Joe and Leslie). The location is outstanding, far enough away from Mill Valley to be quiet and private, but close enough to town to breeze in for coffee, lunch, or any of the numerous activities. And the natural environment (the hills, the ocean and the redwood forests) is breathtaking. One aspect that previously has not been reviewed is that this is a hiker's paradise! Marin County has some of the best hiking in Northern California, and many of the best trails are just outside the Friedman's door or a 5-10 minute drive away. We enjoyed 5 major hikes during our 2 week stay, and we just began to scratch the surface. So if you love to hike, this is the place for you!

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Mike and Melaina's house:

One can hardly imagine a more ideal way to visit historic Charleston, S.C., than from this lovely and comfortable "beach house" on Sullivan's Island. It's actually a very luxurious 3-level home with gourmet kitchen, spacious living arrangements both inside and on the "piazzas" or balcony/porches. And when you're not enjoying the beauty and comfort of the Jones' home, you can walk to the nearby beaches overlooking Ft. Sumter, visit the restaurants and shops on Sullivan's Island and the nearby town of Mt. Pleasant which has even more shopping areas and lovely historic homes. All this and you're only 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, probably the most lovely ante-bellum small city in America. This was our 41st exchange and ranked right up there at the top. Mike Jones asked us, at the end of the exchange, if we could make any suggestions to improve the exchange experience for future exchangers and we had to be honest. Perfection cannot be improved upon. We had a totally wonderful time without a single glitch or problem of any kind whatsoever. And the Joneses were quite helpful and well-organized throughout.

January - December 2007

We spent a delightful week in this lovely home in ...

Eric and Darby
Eric and Darby from Portland said

We spent a delightful week in this lovely home in Sept. 2007, and we recommend it highly. It's in a beautiful spot with fine views of the Muir Woods and the Pacific Ocean, and it's quite comfortably and tastefully furnished. If you enjoy walking, this is definitely the place: a vast trail network extends from the house through Muir Woods, Mt. Tam, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Joe and Leslie, the owners, are vetran exchangers, and have made their home very visitor-friendly. They provide a quite organized and detailed information file on the house, neighborhood, and metro area. They've placed lots of helpful notes around the house explaining how to use everything. Finally, they took very good care of our house.

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Eric and Darby's house:

This is one HECK of an excellent house exchange!! Ideally located, right across from Portland's famous Washington Park, and just down the street from lovely rose gardens, the famous Japanese gardens and the arboretum. Plus just a ten minute walk to the bustling and upscale Nob Hill shopping area where there are a plethora of great restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and the like. The Nagle home is quite comfortable and easy to locate and look after. Hundreds of music CD's, easy parking and a quiet, leafy and distinguished neighborhood. We'd unqualifiedly recommend this home in the Portland hills, just minutes away from downtown Portland, the Pearl District and, of course, Powell's Books.

January - December 2007

This is the most comfortable way to see San Francisco! ...

Peter & Kathy
Peter & Kathy from West Vancouver, Canada said

This is the most comfortable way to see San Francisco! Live on a high ridge overlooking Tiburon, Sausalito and Mill Valley in a comfortable mountain home with a fantastic view. At your feet are the Muir Woods, and in the distance you see Muir Beach. The home is perfect for an active couple. Hiking trails start at your door step and take you up to Mt. Tamalpais (many things to see!) or down to Muir Woods. Start your day with a comfy latte in Sausalito, catch the 11:30 ferry to San Fran, walk the city till its time to come home to the village. Mill Valley, the village, is fantastic, its got everything, 2 French restaurants, many upscale Italian restaurants, California dining. Coffee shops everywhere. Parking is very easy. Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are easily reachable within a day. Wine tours galore! Joe and Leslie are easy going, friendly people who love to enjoy life. We found our exchange very smooth due to Joe's amazing planning skills, and our stay was one of the most comfortable ever. We stayed in touch every day by email so we could guide each other to new 'finds' coffee shops, pubs, hiking trails depending on the weather that day. We recommend this home exchange for anyone wanting to explore the entire region from the comfort of a wonderful home.

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Peter & Kathy's house:

Terrific exchange home in an equally dramatic location. Home is quite comfortable, on two levels, with excellent internet access, tv's, hot tub, and a drop-dead view out over downtown Vancouver and Grouse Mountain, all the way to snow-capped Mt. Baker. Kathy and Peter are excellent exchangers, good-humored and able to go with the flow. We'd highly recommend the location, the house AND the exchangers.

January - December 2007

Our very first exchange was with Joe and Leslie. From ...

Leonard
Leonard from Seattle said

Our very first exchange was with Joe and Leslie. From the very start everything was great. Communication was always timely and helpful. We were able to pick up their car at the paid parking lot. From the minute we walked through the door, we felt at home. Joe and Leslie's house is situated on a ridgeline overlooking green forests and the blue Pacific Ocean. Very dramatic. And hiking was great. Joe and Leslie left lots of information on what to do in the area and where we could go to eat. But if we wanted to just

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Leonard's house:

This is a totally awesome house!! A work of Southwestern art and architecture in itself. And the setting couldn't be more dramatic, with inspiring views out over the Santa Fe valley and craggy buttes in the distance. This home, in and of itself, made our exchange one of our very best (in over 20 exchanges so far). And the surrounding area, and the City of Santa Fe, are thoroughly wonderful as well with dramatic archiecture, endless art galleries and restaurants and fascinating museums and landmarks and lots of great hiking trails in the Santa Fe area. Great day trips up to Taos, Los Alamos and adjacent areas, as well. We can't say enough terrific things about how great this particular exchange was. Linda and Len were very helpful, too, and kept in good e-mail contact with us during our stay.

January - December 2008

We are long-time Bay Area residents who have retired to ...

Harvey and Georgiana
Harvey and Georgiana from France said

We are long-time Bay Area residents who have retired to France but return to the Bay Area to visit our parents. The Friedman's home has one of the most stunning views we have ever seen in the Bay Area, an unobstructed view of unspoiled redwoods leading out to the Pacific Ocean. The house is quite comfortable, and Joe and Leslie are extremely experienced exchangers (this was our first exchange). We would repeat this exchange again in a heartbeat.

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Harvey and Georgiana's house:

Harvey and Georgiana's historic country home is a veritable auberge de campagne. It is an aesthetic delight simply to enjoy the luxury of their extended living room/salon while looking out over the acres of fields and their attractive swimming pool and patio area. And the thousands of books and art and music collections are a feast for the eyes and intellect as well. Although located in a rural setting, with only a few nearby neighbors on their country road, there are literally dozens of medieval French towns, and bastides to explore within very easy driving distances. And all without parking issues, tourists or congestion of any kind. Check out nearby Condom, Agen, Lectoure, Nerac, Auch among many, many others, let alone the major cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, which are both just over an hour's drive away. Our only regret is that we stayed for just two weeks when there were still nearby sites we hadn't gotten around to exploring. And Harvey and Georgiana were quite helpful and organized whenever we had a question or needed any assistance. We stayed in close e-mail contact and, when necessary, phone communication, and they even had a few neighbors (who spoke English) who dropped by and gave us lots of local tips. This was our 30th exchange and we LOVED it!! Joe and Leslie Friedman, Mill Valley, California (HomeExchange ID 41971)

January - December 2008

This home exchange was everything we hoped it would be......

Shelly & Jason
Shelly & Jason from Indian Rocks Beach said

This home exchange was everything we hoped it would be...away from it all yet in the middle of it all! Joe & Leslie's very comfortable and welcoming home sits high on a mountainside. Large windows in the living room offer a stunning view of valleys below and the Pacific Ocean. As Florida "flat-landers", we found the drives up and down the mountain very entertaining, offering amazing vistas on clear days and some thrills/chills at night, especially in the fog! As their profile states, it's just a short drive to the hustle-bustle of San Francisco or the heart of Sonoma County wine country. One of the most memorable trips was a detour to the headlands of Bodega Bay after 2 days in wine country. Incredible views. Very memorable. We went to SF several times and also enjoyed trips to Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Muir Woods & Beach and of course downtown Mill Valley. There are lots of little surprises there for exchangers to discover so I won't be a spoiler! However, one of the most interesting is Tuesday Night Comedy Night at the Throckmorton Theater. After a couple of standup routines, it was time for the improv troupe to perform and who should be among them but Robin Williams! We later learned he often shows up to keep his skills sharp. A very nice and unexpected surprise to close out our trip! (But it kept us out until after the grocery stores closed, so I wasn't able to replace the Kettle Corn I found in a beautiful vase/urn in the living room...sorry Joe!...we had a craving!) As for the less exciting, but no less valuable exchange matters, Joe & Leslie are extremely organized, offering up detailed information in various forms. In fact, it was their insight, input and experiences that led us to be so organized. It makes for a very relaxed exchange and one that we would do again without hesitation. Thank you again Joe and Leslie for allowing us into your home!

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Shelly & Jason's house:

You have never experienced the glory of a snow-white beach until you've visited the Florida Gulf. And Indian Rocks Beach is as idyllic and perfect a Florida beach community as you're bound to find. Jason and Shelly's home is just a block from the beach, and is extremely comfortable and attractive and as well as conveniently located for nearby shopping and essentials. The Bishops are extremely well-organized, with clear and simple house instructions as well as excellent ideas for local touring. We enjoyed visiting nearby St. Petersburg and Tampa; but also loved the historic towns of Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor and Ybor. Not to be missed: the trolly tour in downtown St. Pete's as well as the world-class, and unique, Dali Museum.

July - August 2011

This comfortable Mill Valley home is perfect for anyone that ...

Family Gorwik
Family Gorwik from Stockholm said

This comfortable Mill Valley home is perfect for anyone that loves outdoor activities, dining, shopping etc. Extremely close to famous hiking trails in Muir Woods, Mt Tam and so on. Or take the car down hill and you will find restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream bars, movie theatre, stand-up comedy - all this in pretty Mill Valley. And don't forget to visit the library in Mill Valley - beautifully surrounded by redwoods... And we went easily to San Francisco over the great Golden Gate Bridge and also enjoyed trips to Tiburon, Sausalito, Stinson Beach etc. So much to do in Marin County!!! This exchange was a great experience and we very much recommend it. Thank you again Joe and Leslie for making this exchange possible and very smoothly!

Joe and Leslie
What we said about Family Gorwik's house:

We have enjoyed over 45 home exchanges over the last decade -- but THIS one, in Stockholm, was right at the top of our list. You simply could not ask for a more ideal location or a more comfortable home from which to experience the myriad delights that await you in lovely Stockholm. Although Stefan and Liselotte made their car available for our use, we relied almost entirely on the wonderfully convenient and accessible subway system (called the T-bana) that took us wherever we wanted to go in the Stockholm area and suburbs. We never had to wait for more than 3 minutes for the next train to appear and since we visited in the summer season, when the natives had apparently vacated the City on their own vacations, the trains were never crowded or difficult to use. We also walked all over the City and were constantly amazed at the uniqueness of each neighborhood in this complex and fascinating urban environment. It was also extremely easy to catch one of the many ferries to the nearby islands to enjoy lunch in an historic village and explore an entirely different lifestyle from downtown Stockholm. The views were simply spectacular and since the bays are protected inland waters even those, like us, who are leery of boat trips found these adventures quite comfortable and enjoyable. We loved having grocery stores and coffee shops located just down the street from the Gorwicks' home, as well as lovely public parks with dramatic views out over downtown Stockholm. Liselotte and Stefan were extremely helpful exchangers -- enthusiastic and responsive whenever we had a question or needed a bit of advice. Totally ideal exchangers, in other words. (They also took flawless care of our home and we would therefore unhesitatingly recommend them as exchangers). Joe and Leslie in Mill Valley, California.

January - December 2011

Set on a mountainside near the charming town of Mill ...

Diana and Patric
Diana and Patric from San Miguel said

Set on a mountainside near the charming town of Mill Valley, this home is bright and airy, as well as cozy, and very comfortable. The views are spectacular, looking over the redwood forest of world-famous Muir Woods to the Pacific Ocean beyond. Inside the home, you live amid fascinating collections of books, paintings, clocks, weather instruments and pens. If you chose, you could spend much of your stay just enjoying these things. In short, the amenities are many. There are so many attractions within easy driving distance that you'll never run out of places to go or things to do. The exchange itself couldn't have gone more smoothly. Joe and Leslie are experienced exchangers who couldn't have been more cordial, informative, organized and accommodating. We were in regular communication before, during and after the exchange and it was a pleasure getting to know them. If you have a chance to do an exchange with them, we would highly recommend that you accept. You'll be very happy you did! Patric and Diana Ellsworth San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

July - July 2013

What a wonderful homeexchange we've had with Leslie and Joe ! ...

catherine
catherine from Mello said

What a wonderful homeexchange we've had with Leslie and Joe ! First I must say that before concluding the swap, we've had very nice email exchanges in which we could feel that they were really easy-going persons, always available to answer any questions. We've had the chance to meet each other in France (only one evening, a bit short) but we immediately realized we expected the same in an exchange : trust and sharing. When we arrived at their lovely home in Mill valley, we were amazed by the view : SPECTACULAR ! Nicely decorated, full of books, we were impressed and felt immediately at home. Before arranging the swap, we were a bit worried because we were 2 couples and Joe told me there was only one bedroom and one couch downstairs. But it was just perfect, the house is big enough to host 2 couples. Joe left us many maps and fliers sothat it helped us a lot to discover the region which is fantastic. Mill Valley is just 20 mn driving from San Francisco (We never get bored crossing the GORGEOUS Golden Gate Bridge) and there are plenty of lovely towns in the surroundings such as Sausalito, Tiburon, Bolinas... we enjoyed many hikes from the house as well ( Mount Tam, Muir woods...) . Leslie left us her shopping card number as well which permitted us to benefit from the discounts in the nearby supermarket Safeway. To put it in a nutshell, we can say that it was a terrific exchange, thanks to Joe and Leslie who are really experienced and wonderful exchangers ! For sure we'll stay in contact !

Exchange photos from :
Joe and Leslie
What we said about catherine's house:

La vraie France! THIS is it. This is an quintessentially historic and lovely country home AND it's most comfortable as well. The interior design and decoration look absolutely spectacular -- with wonderful taste and refinement. And the garden and quaint town of Mello are terrific as well. This is our 6th trip to France -- but easily it's one of the best as well as one of our favorite exchanges (of over 55 now). We also found it quite easy to visit the many nearby and lovely towns and small cities like Beauvais, Senlis, Chantilly, and Compiegne. And from the nearby small city of Creil we easily parked the car and took the commuter train directly into Paris (three times, during our two-week exchange). An altogether PERFECT exchange. Plus -- Catherine speaks and writes excellent English and was in constant communication to make sure everything came about perfectly.

November -1

From the very beginning Joe and Leslie made every effort ...

Noel
Noel from Toronto said

From the very beginning Joe and Leslie made every effort to ensure that this would be a rewarding exchange. There were several email exchanges with their responses coming in faster than mine could be written! The house itself is lovely but the major attraction was the location. Situated on a mountainside, the view out the picture window was breathtaking and cannot be described adequately. Close enough to San Francisco to qualify as suburb, yet the Golden Gate bridge created a separation that allowed us to live on the very edge of Muir Woods. The area is a hikers' delight. I would go back in a heart beat! N. Sequeira July 2014

Exchange photos from :
Joe and Leslie
What we said about Noel's house:

Noel's high rise condo is an absolutely PERFECT location from which to explore all the very best of downtown Toronto. Our only regret is that we didn't allow more than two weeks to complete our explorations. That is how complex, diverse and fascinating the many different neighborhoods of Toronto actually are. Each day we set out on a new journey of exploration, discovery and delight. You could pick the Toronto Islands for a day. Or Greektown. Or Leslieville. Or The Beaches. Or the St. Lawrence Market. Or Kensington. Or Queen Street West. The list is endless. And Noel made our experience in Toronto very welcoming and convenient. This is our 58th house exchange and rates right up there at the top. Hugely recommended!