We’ve spent a good part of the last two months grumbling about the unrelenting summer heat. While we romance the coming of the monsoon with the rolling in of dark clouds, the gentle pitter-patter and that lovely aroma of water on parched earth,reality paints quite a different picture; manic traffic, slushy sidewalks, clogged drains, treacherous potholes, damp clothes in Mumbai don't quite let us enjoy the rains like they should be. However, you could just drive a couple of hours out of the city and you’ll find lush, green expanses that are ideal for a monsoon weekend getaway. It’s a great time of the year to gather a bunch of friends or family and head off into the hills. I have always wanted to be one of those fancy types that takes off to their farmhouse on a rainy monsoon weekend. Sadly, I don’t have one, and very few people I know do. Lucky for us, the homely farmhouse experience can be easily recreated at one of these great private bungalows, which you can rent for a couple of days and enjoy like it’s your own! Deja View, Panvel This sprawling family run establishment, is spread over five acres of land, which have been beautifully landscaped to create a multi-level leisure and recreation retreat. It has a large central bungalow, three stand-alone outhouses, a luxurious swimming pool and deck, manicured gardens, a volleyball court and a clubhouse. The clubhouse comes equipped with a ping-pong table, carom board, a number of other board games, and a pool table. There are a number of patios, sit-outs and courtyard where you can enjoy some alone time. Deja View has beds for about 16 people, spread over the main farmhouse and the outhouses. But additional sofa-cum-beds can be arranged to fit 25. If you have a larger group, mattresses can be arranged at an additional cost. You can choose to self-cater, or cooks can be arranged depending on the size and requirements of your group. In addition to spending a weekend here, Deja View is a great venue for weddings, parties and other celebrations. Fab feature: A poolside deck equipped with a swanky music system, which overlooks a gorgeous mango orchard. Contact: +919819223928 or [email protected] La Petite Maison, Lonavala Located on the picturesque slopes of Lonavala, this elfin bungalow competes in beauty with the views that surround it. La Petite Maison, with its rustic stone walls covered in creepers and daintily crafted wooden windows looks like something out of a story book. A large family lounge is the perfect setting for a relaxed weekend of idle chatter, leisurely meals and card games. The bungalow can comfortably accommodate about 12 people at a time, and you can take along your pets! The property is looked after by a caretaker, who doubles up as a cook. But you can choose to bring your own ingredients and use the fully equipped kitchen if you wish. Fab feature: The glass room; an independent part of the farmhouse which is made entirely with glass and overlooks a lush valley. Contact: +9122 6196 7212 or [email protected] Fleetwood House, Matheran Despite is popularity among tourists, Matheran has managed to maintain a quaint old-world charm. Besides the densely canopied walking trails, and picturesque ‘points’, what I like most about this hill station is that it has remnants of colonial architecture. Fleetwood house is a fine example; located at Matheran’s One Tree point, this farmhouse consists of a cottage and a villa. Both have four poster beds, old vintage furniture and spacious verandas as expected in colonial bungalows of the time. A total of about 20 to 25 people can be comfortably accommodated at the cottage and villa at Fleetwood House. These can be booked separately, or together if you have a large enough group. The property even has a stable! Your pets are welcome with you. Home-style meals (either Maharashtrian or Gujarati style) are made in house. Fab feature: Eco crusaders will be glad to know that Fleetwood house has solar panels which heat water, and a battery back-up instead of the usual generators. Contact: +91 9702851885 or [email protected] The Brook at Khanna’s Farm, Karjat This beautiful private property is located at the banks of a river, and offers a scenic view of the Western Ghats. It was built as a private getaway by the Khanna family, who have now opened the doors of their family home to outsiders. The property has a large bungalow, with a spacious living room, two bedrooms, fully furnished kitchen and a large terrace of the floor above. The Khanna’s have put great thought into interior decoration, so the rooms are all beautifully furnished. There’s a lot of place for outdoor games and sports. Plus, if you’re in the mood to splash around, just step out of your room and jump into the river! Like most of the bungalows in this list, you can cook meals yourself or ask the in-house caretaker to cook for you. Fab feature: An outdoor cooking space and bar, which is ideal for barbeque parties under the stars and of course, proximity to a river. Contact: +919323807382 or [email protected] Manasi Bungalow, Lonavala This cozy half acre property, gives you a great chance to enjoy nature’s beauty. The bungalow and its surrounding are filled with flowering plants, lush green lawns and a beautiful view of the mountains. You’ll be treated to the pleasant sound of birds chirping and the aroma of flowers. You can begin your day with an early morning trek or bird watching expedition. If you just want to relax, then of course, you can just stay in and watch movies, play board games, read and lounge around. The large central lawn is great for a game of frizbee or cricket. It even doubles up as a reception space for dinner parties and weddings. Up to 45 people can be accommodated for an overnight stay at the bungalow. The space also supports rural women and cottage industries by offering guests a chance to buy locally handcrafted souvenirs and decorative items. Fab feature: Manasi bungalow has its own organic garden. The fruits and vegetables grown here are used to cook delicious meals for guests. If you’re lucky you might even be gifted a basket of freshly picked organic seasonal fruits! Contact: 09323182638 or mail at [email protected] Start planning now. It’s already begun raining in many of Maharashtra’s hill stations. A cool, breezy, refreshing weekend is just a short drive away! Know of others? Share your travel stories with us at [email protected] and get published on our Readers Write section.