My Fairytale Coppertop Cottage

On April 1st, 2019 I bought a house (no foolin’!). Located in the southern Sierra, in a tiny town I’d never heard of, populated by 131 people I’d never met, the place captured my heart immediately. The house wanted me as much as I wanted it. As the realtor fumbled for the keys, I put my hand on the antique latch on the front door, polished by 160 years of thumbs, and found it unlocked. As the door swung open, I knew I was home and said, “I’ll take it” before I even stepped inside. Two years later, I still fall in love all over again every time I walk through the door, but the road is calling and I’ve decided to pass this historic property on to its next caretaker.

Welcome Home
Perfect Light, Perfect Space

The Coppertop Cottage is the oldest house in Glennville, California. It was built in 1860, near the junction of two ancient Indigenous trading routes that run inland into the Sierra and out to the coast. The two bedroom house served as the town library from 1920-1950 and in the 1990’s, it was completely renovated down to the studs with the intention of turning it into a museum and antique emporium. Two of the walls in the front bedroom (which I use as my office and affectionately call “the Ghost Room”) were left partially original to showcase the newspaper wallpaper that dates to the late 1800’s.

Preserved original wallpaper and two signs that used to hang out front.
The bottom sign says Kern County Branch Library 1920-1950.

I added a new copper metal roof to the house, watertower and pumphouse in 2019 and three patios and three raised garden beds in the backyard last spring. Despite its age, the house is not a fixer upper. All the work was done in the 90’s and then the house was only used as a guest house and to display the previous owner’s antiques until I moved in.

I also added this 1940’s antique Wedgewood stove. It’s fully functional and has cooked me two Thanksgiving turkeys!
Backyard showing the deck, three patios, raised garden beds, the two-storey watertower, the pumphouse, shed and barn. And Vida! The backyard is fenced for dogs.

I’ve loved having this place as a basecamp. Sequoia National Forest is a 7-mile drive away and my lovely neighbors are used to seeing me walking my dogs on the quiet country roads and fields around town. The High Sierra is a 2-hour drive away and I’ve gone for many backpacking trips in the Domelands, Golden Trout and Ansel Adams Wildernesses, Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks, and Sequoia and Inyo National Forests in my two years here. But once a gypsy, always a gypsy it seems. The Road is calling… and I must go!

Long-time readers will recognize my Teardrop trailer the Rattler!

For more photos and info, check out the listing on Zillow. For those of you more interested in my travels than real estate, I’ll be back on the road soon! Stay tuned!


About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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6 Responses to My Fairytale Coppertop Cottage

  1. Steven Joly says:

    A beautiful home must, it must be hard to leave.

    • Not at all! I’m finding it harder to stick around long enough to tie up all the loose ends! I’ll carry the beauty and peace and sense of home this place has given me everywhere I go.

  2. Pit says:

    What a gem! 🙂

  3. Andy says:

    Have you not posted for a while? Or maybe I’ve just overlooked some of your posts that I always enjoyed. I’m the guy whose kids loved the dead tarantulas and dinosaur stuff-my kids are like that!

  4. shyannesanctuaty says:

    I lost you for a while. It was great to see your post! Until Christmas 2019 I did not have access to internet. My daughter gave me a smart phone and I had access to the world again.

    I was surprised that you bought a house. But it is beautiful! I remember the 1st question I asked you years ago was how in the world were you able to live as you do and you haven’t been killed yet? Was not being sarcastic. I was worried about you. I’ve had an empty nest for 11 years and been broken into twice. At least I wasnt home and I now have an alarm sysyem.

    I’m so glad you are able to live as you do and not be afraid. I’m proud of you! I’m now 66 but still have the dream of walking the Appalation Trail . It wont happen at this point. I’m glad there is a female living like you are. I look forward to reading your adventures.
    Take care,

  5. Paul Savage says:

    This is giving me a “Cain and Abel” moment of jealousy and incomprehension. Apparently, the story is a pre-Abrahamic explanation of the conflict between settled agriculture (“civilisation”) and the life of a Nomadic herdsman, which was – and still is – more “favoured by God”. Is wandering genetic? How does one feel “free” and yet ” at home”? I wish I had some answers!

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