For all that I moan, I have a pretty fortunate life.
On Friday I drove to the Hunter Valley with the kids to celebrate the joint birthdays of my married friends Darren & Kirsten – I was bridesmaid at their wedding – and had the most lovely weekend.
Husband was left at home with “Stinky” (his name for the puppy because of certain toilet training issues) because he works on Saturdays.
I got a little over-excited on freeway and decided to follow the “scenic route” sign to Wollombi … geez that was a long way. But, yes, very scenic …
When we finally arrived the girls threw themselves straight into the pool and I threw myself into a glass of Verve. Everyone happy!
The house was gorgeous. It’s called Tinonee, click here to check out more pics.
And it’s attached to a cellar door. Noice!
Across the road from Tinonee is Margan restaurant, which won Best Restaurant in the Australian Tourism Awards 2012. We toddled over there for lunch on Saturday and I had the most fabulous meal – rainbow chard cannelloni with whipped goat’s curd, smoked beetroot and candied walnuts, while the kids had beer battered skate. Fancy!
I thoughtfully sent Husband a photo of my meal. The friend sitting next to me did the same. Her husband had been forced to skip lunch to drive 90 minutes to Newcastle so their daughter could have an 11-minute piano exam then drive 90 minutes back. She was dining on wagyu beef, he sent back a snap of his KFC …
Here’s my food porn:
I also bought Husband a bottle of sticky as a pressie from the cellar door. Perhaps not the most thoughtful gift when he’s decided to have a month off the grog (which I’ve christened Nancy November, I’m such a supportive wife).
After lunch, the kids flung themselves into the pool for the afternoon and stayed there pretty much until dark. Here’s the eldest having a dusk dip …
While much ado was made on Facebook about my swimsuit phobic, it turned out to be waaaaay too freaking cold to get me in the water. But I lounged around on the side looking very resorty in a kaftan. Does that count?
Around 4pm we decided it would be churlish not to take Stomp! - the cellar door attached to the house – up on their offer of a tasting. An hour later we were still lounging on bar stools - me still in my cossie/kaftan combo – shooting the breeze about the benefits of hand picking vs machine picking grapes.
Though I wasn’t brave enough to tell them I thought the name of their label was a bit of a passion killer: Psssst & Broke. Not that it stopped me buying half a dozen bottles of the yummy rose when I discovered it was on sale for $8.50 a pop.
Delightfully, when the cellar door closed we discovered that the wine tasting table converted to a pool table.
Later, as the sun set, we wandered through the vines surrounding the house to admire the view and stumbled across a whomping kangaroo as tall as me when he sat back on his hind legs. Lots of awed gaping ensued, though I’ve later discovered they’re pests that steal the grapes. (NB not a pic of the actual kangaroo as I was touting champers instead of a camera.)
Next morning I headed to Simply D’Vine cafe for brekkie with a lovely former colleague, Michele, who’s moved to Lovedale as a tree change with her young son. The food was incredible! Thick cut bacon, pork snags, confit tomato, the most amazing cylindrical hash browns … Though I was a little eye-goggly about my brekkie being $22. In the country! Fortunately I was sharing with the youngest.
Then back to the real world we went.
I’m trying to talk Husband into a week in the vineyards as a holiday. I reckon it would be awesome!
Have you ever visited the Hunter? What’s your favourite thing to do there?