Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rylstone, a Fabulous Town near Mudgee

The Bridgeview Inn with fabulous Yum Cha and Wine Tasting
We've been playing cowboys and cowgirls over the weekend past and I have to say this wide brown land of ours here in Australia is absolutely fabulous, from country to coast.  The property we were staying on was very close to the quaint and historic town of Rylstone in the Mid West of New South Wales.  If you are looking for a mini break, an easy drive from Sydney, then Rylstone is a really great option.  It's 3.5 hours west of Sydney and about 45km before Mudgee.

This is the courtyard at the Bridgeview Inn where there is fabulous Yum Cha at 29 Nine 99.  By lunch time this little courtyard, which very much reminded me of the south of France, was full.  I am reliably informed they do the best dumplings this side of the black stump and the fragrance was fabulous.  At night they serve Thai food.
Louee Street Rylstone
Ph (02) 6379 1984


You can also have your Yum Cha on the front balcony of the Bridgeview Inn

Attached to the courtyard is a little Asian inspired gift ware store with some lovely tea pots and other kitchenware and specialty teas.

The other end of the Bridgeview Inn houses De Beaurepaire wines, which were very nice.  They are grown on a property close to Rylstone once owned by the older brother of the famous bushranger Captain Starlight, who by the way was acquitted many times of cattle rustling.  He ended up managing big cattle stations in Queensland rather than swinging from the end of a noose, which was the usual path for most of the bushrangers of the day.  He walked, partially due to sympathetic juries.  The family was a well to do family in the district and as the youngest of five kids, Captain Starlight was the only tearaway.  All the other sibling had extensive land holdings. 

The vineyard, known as "Woodlawn", where the De Beaurepaire grapes are grown, was at one time owned by Captain Starlight's older brother and where he inevitably would have been at some point, is putting on a five course French themed dinner with matching wines on 11 May in the vines.  Tickets are $125 and you can find out more details here.

The Rose and the Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the Captain Starlight range were delightful.  I loved the Semillon as well.

Back in the Bridgeview Inn, an old mural c.mid 1800 has recently been restored in the main room, which is definitely worth a look too.

Just behind the Bridgeview Inn, is the Cottage Museum, which opens Sundays 10am-3pm.  

On the same plot of land, owned by the Historical Society is the Thyme Out Community Garden.  I had a chat with the lady who was tending the garden.  She said, apart from supplying all her vegie needs, she gives all the excess to the needy families in the district.

All the plants looked very healthy and happy and it was such a beautiful and well loved spot.

There are some very nice little home wares and clothing stores in the town as well.

Old wares could be found in the old Art Deco style petrol station

The Beach House Brat made a b line for the guns and amo store.

Unfortunately our friends were on strict no carb diets, so we bi passed the yum cha and headed to the pub for a decent Thai beef salad  for lunch.  There are two pubs in town, The Globe and The Rylstone Hotel famous for the Lady Bushranger history.

But for hungry kids who can't wait for lunch, there is the Rylstone Woodfired Bakery.  I bought the kids the most splendid peach turn overs from there .  I had a nibble too and they were yummy.

There are some fabulous old buildings and cottages in the town, with loads of character.

It's a while since the train came to Rylstone, as the station is abandoned.  I did my usual mental analysis of what I could do with this building if I owned it.

The platform had been fenced off, which really made me very sad.  Hopefully the historical society will lead the way in restoring this beauty at some stage.

This is the Catholic church on the main street.  The Uniting church, which I didn't get a shot of, was another beautiful stone building, which was for sale.  That got the juices going for a minute.  I don't know about you but one of my favourite things to do in a country town, is to look at the property for sale in the real estate window and dream a little.

And guess what?  There is an artisan market held in the Rylstone Memorial Hall on the second Saturday of every month from 9.30 to 1pm.   The next one is on 11 May.  The same day as the Woodlawn dinner in the vines.  Here's a link to some other the events in the town for the year, which look fantastic.

The town is also located near Windamere Dam where you can camp, caravan and fish.  The dam is available to boating as well

For more details of whats on and where to stay in Rylstone go here. and here.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Rylstone, a fantastic place to go for the weekend if you need a little break in the country.

For all my other travel stories go here.
Today I am linked up here

Read more ...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Clareville Beach House

This north facing beauty is built over 1700sqm.  She has her own sandy beach on title and even comes complete with a boat.

Personally, I'd just be happy with the boat house.  For more on this stunning property go here.

I am sending out the Desire Empire Newsletter tonight.  If you would like to be in the loop, you can sign up here
Have a lovely week Beach Dwellers.
Today I am linked up here
Read more ...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Vintage Tale From the Snowfields

A model wearing a stunning creation from a Vogue Knitting Book c.1960.
My mum and dad met at a party in Falls Creek in the Australian Alps in the Winter of 1957.  Mum was on the second week of a two week holiday from her flying duties at TAA.  The first week she had flown down to Tasmania to stay with a boyfriend she had met on the ship going over to England. She was an absolute goer from the sounds of it and as soon as she turned 21, she left Melbourne to live and travel around the UK and Europe in the early 1950's and had met Michael on the way to London.

Mum had gone to the second week of her holiday in Falls Creek with a broken heart, as Michael had made it quite clear to her, he didn't want to get married until he was 30, some 4 years away.  Mum kind of read that to mean....It's not that he doesn't want to get married, he just doesn't want to marry me. Mum also couldn't stand Michael's mother, who was controlling and dominated her son.  Mum knew she could never put up with that, even if she had read the situation incorrectly with Micheal.  Either way mum knew it was over and she was devastated.

Loving the lace up ski boots and skis with tie on  safety strapes
Nursing a heart broken, she headed off for the second week of the holiday, to ski in Falls Creek Victoria. It was mum's first ever experience on skis.  She was staying at Diana Lodge with two other hosties and said they learned to ski on a bottle of vodka.  In those early days of skiing in Australia, you would take most of the day to walk up the mountain with your skis on herring bone style, have your picnic lunch at the top and ski home for the day.

They used to walk up the mountain in groups singing the Mickey Mouse Club song, which was big at the time.

Later they had a piece of equipment called a nutcracker which you wore around your waist like a belt and you would clip it on to a rope tow. Similar to one of the tows you find on the beginner slopes today. Although most have now been replaced by magic carpets....such is the luxury of 21st century skiing.  

In those early days the nutcracker tow was all there was.  There were no chairlifts or t-bars until about 1960, when a private lodge owner built a chair lift in Falls Creek.  There was also another chair lift built in 1963, with its starting point between Jindabyne and Thredbo on the Alpine Way with a restaurant at Charlottes Pass, as its top station.  It ran during the 1964 and 1965 ski seasons, but  due to operational problems caused by the weather, it went into receivership there after. 

The Chairlift From Thredbo to Charlottes Pass with a view back to Charlottes Pass
The Thredbo to Charlottes Pass Chairlift
The chairs had protective colourful fiberglass canopies with viewing windows, which the occupants could pull over themselves, as it was terribly windy out on the main range.  In its day, the chairlift was often described as the longest chairlift in the world, but was actually two connected chairlifts.  

This photo looks like it was taken in 1964. One of the biggest snowfall years on record, owing to the fact the chairlift has been dug out.
Mum and dad rode that chairlift, but it ceased to operate after the 1965 ski season, because it was considered unsafe.  There was a major incident where the wind blew some of the chairs off the pulleys and people were injured. It was incredibly difficult to rescue them, as the terrain between  the two resorts was widely inaccessible.  There was also the risk of freezing to death on the chairlift, as it was so exposed out on the main range.   

A map of the chairlift running just belowThredbo to Charlottes Pass
All photos sourced from WikiSki

The bottom station for that chairlift is still there today on the Alpine Way and occupied by the NSW National Parks and the Dept of Works.  As I child, I remember some of the towers of the chairlift still standing, but they were taken down more than 30 years ago and the bush has all grown back over now.

Now back to my mum's broken heart.

After a week with lots of socialising to douse the pain.  Attending a party in a different lodge every night, mum met my dad on the last night of her holiday.  Mum said she could not have cared less about meeting anyone else, as she was pining for Michael.  My dad very sweetly saw mum and the other two hosties she was holidaying with, off on the bus the next morning and mum thought nothing more about it.

About 6 months later at lunch time in Sydney, they were walking in opposite directions down George Street.  They bumped into each other and arranged to meet up again.  The rest as they say, is history.

Mr Beach House always says nice guys finish last, but luckily for all of us, that was not the case this time.

And here's my dad posing for mum in about 1960 at Falls Creek.  My parents fostered in me a love of skiing and the mountains, for which I will be eternally grateful.  My love of the lifestyle has taken me to many resorts around the world for both work and play.  One day I shall get all those photos out and tell you all about my exciting times in ski resorts, but that is for another day.  This story is about my parents and how they and their peers pioneered modern skiing in Australia and what they wore doing it.  You can see my dad had his nutcracker belt on in this shot.

In those days it was unusual to wear a parka or a jacket when skiing.  It was just lots of layers under a big thick woolen jumper, which repelled water and snow because it was wool and water resistant.   Mum said with a laugh, they were all warm enough with all the exercise and chasing each other around the slopes and ski lodges. 

Apres skiing was where the fun continued.  There was a party in a different lodge every night in those early days, as there were very few commercial entertainment options in the resorts if you could call them resorts at all.  Mum said all the lodges also had their own ski guides and instructors assigned to guests as well, because there was no organised ski school as such..  They were exotic European young men, who worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme in Summer and became sexy ski instructors in Winter.

My mum was an avid knitter, taught to knit by her father.  Her mother, my grandmother was a fantastic knitter too and I am still in possession of some precious jumpers and cardigans both mum and my grandmother knitted for me over the years.

I came across these pattern books recently and thought they were gorgeous.

It was such a stylish era.  Skiing was as expensive then, as it is today in real terms.  Clearly, it was essential to look the part on and off the slopes.

My mum knitted this for me as a teenager and I remember I loved wearing it.  Mum had the same one knitted for her by her mother in the 60's.  Black and white check and hounds tooth were big here in the mid 1980's as well.

I still have a version of this cardigan in red with green trim at the back of a cupboard.  I love the detail on the pockets.

Mum said it was all pretty rough compared to today, but they had alot of fun looking fabulous and working it all out together.

So there you have it.  How my mum and dad got together.  I think it was meant to be, but then again I would.

Oh and if you like the home comforts of the 21st century, you might like to enter my Jamie Oliver Philips Home Cooker giveaway here.
Today I am linked up here
Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...