Sunday afternoon drives for the sake of Sunday afternoon drives are often quite enjoyable. This particular Sunday drive saw us head out over Sir Lowry’s Pass, through Grabouw, along the picturesque Viljoen’s Pass, past Theewaterskloof Dam and into Villiersdorp. One u-turn later and we were now on the R43, joining up with the N2 just before Dassiesfontein – the perfect excuse to at last stop and stretch our legs.
I have written about the unique little farm stall/restaurant that is Dassiesfontein before, and just like our last visit, it was a case of petting the donkeys, browsing through the inexhaustible pile of home decor odds and ends, and glancing over all the produce and crafts on display. (Honestly, this could probably take all day if you let it!)
Also, refreshing ginger beer and ice cream was had by all.
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To cap off our more than decent roundabout drive, we next popped into the ever reliable (and popular) Peregrine farm stall to stock up on some delicious supplies.
So all in all, not a bad Sunday drive to say the least.
In April we invited Chantelle’s folks to come out and lunch with us at the Hickory Shack outside Grabouw. Lunch was as always brilliant, but for dessert I suggested that we take the kids down the road to Peregrine Farm Stall – their soft serve ice cream (from the super convenient Padkos Express outside) and tractor strewn play area is always a guaranteed hit with my girls.
Chantelle agreed, but only because I agreed to look after the girls at the outdoor play area while she and her folks grabbed some coffee and actual proper from the actual Peregrine restaurant inside.
Now I’m quite fond of the outdoor area that Peregrine Farm Stall has crafted over the last year or two. The thing is, as a farm stall/bakery/restaurant they are incredibly popular and thus incredibly busy – literally all the time – meaning that the ability to skip the crushing bustle of inside and rather relax with your kids outside is something I almost always immediately gravitate to. (So much so that I can truthfully say that I’m not sure when last I’ve actually popped my head into the farm stall proper!)
Pleasingly, given the warm weather, the soft serve ice cream that we picked up from Padkos Express was amazing, though that said, neither girl was able to make much of a dent in the huge dollop of ice cream that they each received – meaning that moi had to do some serious mop up work.
Ice cream done, the girls headed off to play, I grabbed a delicious cider from the Everson’s Cider pop-up tasting room, and went browsing, with by far the most interesting find of the day being awarded to Burning Books and its beautiful shiny red truck.
An offshoot of Liberty Books (which I don’t actually know anything about either), Burning Books (perhaps not the best of names for someone selling books) is a clever mobile bookstore – hopping about from event to event in their converted, stunningly pretty, bright red 1955 Bedford Green Goddess fire truck.
(To be fair, given that bit of information, you might now understand just where the bookstore’s name comes from. That said, I’m still not a fan of the name.)
Anyway, it is a clever thing to see, the books are all beautifully presented, and given their closeness to the play area, plenty of moms and dads seemed to be finding themselves dragged by the arm to check things out.
Clever. So, book browsing, ice cream, swings, tractors, shopping and a cider for me. Can’t say that I didn’t rather enjoy this unplanned little visit to what must surely be the most popular farm stall along the N2 highway.
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(For completeness sake, Chantelle and her folks seemed to rather enjoy their little visit as well.)
If you are ever out in the Port Elizabeth area and find yourself in need of a good kid friendly restaurant option, be extra sure to pay the exceedingly cool Grass Roof farm stall and coffee shop a visit.
Situated on the Olive Tree Farm, just a few kilometers from Sardinia Bay, the Grass Roof is a coffee shop, kids playground, trendy cafe, and farm stall all rolled into one. Open Monday to Sunday, the eatery strives to promote a healthy, organic lifestyle, with a lot of its food menu and farm stall offering sourced directly from the gardens and fields of its host farm.
In addition to all the fresh produce and baked items (it is a proper smorgasbord of tasty stuff), the farm shop is stocked with all manner of deli surprises, authentic crafts and handmade items.
The rolling lawn in front of the restaurant provides the perfect play area, which is complete with a number of fun kids activities like old tractors, climbing frames, etc. (There is even a giant adult swing if you are keen on also joining in on the fun!)
Then we get to the restaurant/cafe itself. First off, the menu is amazing. Well presented, evocative descriptions, and a final product to back it all up, makes for an exceptional light meal experience. From pizzas to gourmet burgers, from craft beer to freshly brewed Mastersons Coffee – Grass Roof’s kitchen team has you covered.
Also, the view from the deck is pretty damn decent too!
And yes, just as the name implies, all of this happens under a bright green, grass covered roof!
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It is no wonder then that this is easily one of Chantelle’s favourite spots on the list of places visited over the course of our 2017 roadtrip holiday. Definitely worthy of a family get together or two!
(Also, eagle-eyed readers might have spotted that the last two photos in the gallery aren’t exactly of the Grass Roof visit. As it so happened, we actually stayed with our good friends – and tour guides – the Grangers during the P.E. stint, and of course, Evan being Evan, time simply HAD to be made for a braai or two!)
It hard not to like the beauty of Paarl, thanks to all its surrounding mountain views. Last year May saw the four of us spend a bit of time out that way, in the process paying a visit to the rather haphazard/dilapidated JanKan farm stall – which turns out to be an absolutely delightful little gem for those of us with little kids running about!
Situated just off the main road as you enter Paarl (on the grounds of the Picardie Guest House/Farm), JanKan is a little tented farmyard farm stall that has an amazing selection of local produce on offer, produces some delicous pizza combinations, hosts kids parties, maintains a little farm yard animal setup, and has a great outdoor kids play area.
Oh, and they offer pony/horse rides – what more could you ask for?
Given that we were visiting in winter, the skies were a little grey, but that didn’t stop us from tucking into a delicious biltong and avo pizza and (for Chantelle) some warm tea, while the girls managed to evade the clutches of the beautiful free roaming great dane long enough to help feed the lambs, tickle the pig, run around the play area, and of course, beg me for a ride on the horse.
Which naturally I had to give in for.
Talking about the horse ride, the guy giving it was absolutely excellent, teaching the kids how to sit in the saddle, make the horse go forward and stop, steer the horse with both the reins and their knees, and who somehow even managed to coax Jessica to ride without holding on using her hands!
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So, despite its first impressions, JanKan is a delight. Great if you have small kids running around, nice landscape views, and some pretty tasty food.
An all around win-win situation then!
I mentioned earlier that we were forced to tack on a short stay in George over the December holiday period, during which we hired a Volkswagen Tiguan to do a bit of driving about in (our car was in the shop for repairs).
Now December holidays is not great for our usual tactic of just randomly rocking up at places because of the sheer number of people out and about (visits to Victoria Bay, Herolds Bay, and Redberry Farm confirmed this hypothesis), but pleasingly we did stumble upon one place that seemed rather deserted – the newly established Veepos Padstal.
(And by newly established I mean that we had literally stumbled upon them on their very first day of business!)
On a hill, off the highway, and right outside George Airport, the Veepos Padstal (or Cattle Outpost Farm Stall for us English readers) has been setup by the team who also own/run the small Bargain Nursery next door.
Consisting of three neatly arranged, converted shipping containers, the farm stall has a collection of small pretty things for purchase, as well as a few drinks and some local produce on sale. The main attraction is however their roosterkoek menu, as well as their particularly delightful milkshakes – in fact, Chantelle couldn’t stop gushing over just how much she enjoyed her peanut butter brittle shake!
Once you’ve finished your snack and taken in the tranquility and views of the surrounding area, you can leisurely saunter over to the nursery if you so want, though if you have small children they’ll undoubted clamor to use the toilet, and in the process fall down the stairs and graze their knees, thereby starting a whole chain reaction of unhappiness among everyone.
(Or at least that was our experience in this neat little nursery).
So, all in all, a surprisingly peaceful (and pleasant) little stop.
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“Hartskos”. I rather like that little tagline of theirs.
On one of our spur of the moment weekend outings last year (I suggested to Chantelle that we head out to Stanford for a cheesy picnic at the Klein River Cheese farmstead), I randomly decided to stop for a coffee in the middle of nowhere, ending up at the delightfully dusty Van Brakel Stoor farm stall along the R316 – basically somewhere on the road between Caledon and Napier.
Established way back in 1921, the Van Brakel Stoor originally operated as the local grocery store and mechanical repair shop for the area, before being rebooted in 2004 as today’s old-time country store and coffee shop.
The goal is simple – serve up local, home-made food with warm platteland hospitality.
In addition to the coffee and food on offer in its little dining space, the Van Brakel Stoor farm stall also stocks all manner of local wines, home-made preserves and baked treats (as well as a few essentials for the locals), and as an added bonus, the shop’s interior comes lined with all sorts of interesting farm relics from days gone by.
(Oh, and apparently the Van Brakel Stoor is also used as an events venue. I wouldn’t have guessed it, but that is definitely what their website states!)
Given the farm stall’s location in the heart of the Overberg, the surrounding farm landscape is also something worth taking in. (Basically, photos were just begging to be taken!)
So yes, I rather enjoyed this slightly unplanned little coffee stop then.
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P.S. The amount of food stuffs that can be pickled and preserved is mind-boggling. Also, it brought a huge smile to my face identifying all the old biscuit tins that I remember from my grandparents’ houses as a kid.
In the middle of Houw Hoek Pass, as you travel between Grabouw and Bot River, you will pass by a very hard to miss white and green building, tucked away in a rocky corner with undoubtedly a lot of cars parked outside.
The popular building in question is of course the longstanding Houw Hoek Farm Stall, known for its quality, fresh, homemade breads, pies and bakes – a trait that makes it rather popular little stop among the locals.
Also, in addition to a good selection of local wines on sale, the shop section is stocked with all manner fresh fruits and vegetables from the farms of the surrounding Elgin Valley, all complemented by the normal farm stall home industry staples like biscuits, jams, biltong, and of course – cake.
Seeing as this is a chef-owned-managed business, the food and coffee on offer in the welcoming little coffee shop is particularly decent, and bonus, if sitting at a table and chairs doesn’t quite appeal to you on the day, then you will be pleased to know that picnic baskets can also be prepared on request.
Somewhat surprisingly, Houw Hoek Farm Stall is also home to three dams stocked with Rainbow trout – making it a great spot for some fly fishing then. (Naturally, rods and tackle can be hired from the farm stall itself.)
Oh, and finally they have a nice little space out in front that is open enough for the little ones to run around and give their legs a stretch.
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(Bonus: Just in case you were wondering, this particular stop took place back in March this year, when Jessica and myself drove up for a long weekend away with my folks in their place at Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay.)
Alongside the N2, lying just on the outskirts of Heidelberg (and conspicuous thanks to the bright blue roof), is the Blue Crane Farm Shop, a long time favourite with travellers tackling the long road between the Garden Route and Cape Town.
Home to a proper farm stall selling all kinds of home made goodies and baked treats, Blue Crane is also a small restaurant, serving a selection of simple but delicious foods – making it a great stop if your stomach is bugging you to take a break from your roadtrip.
Jessica and I stopped there for the very first time back in March this year, and we both loved the little treats on offer, colourful walls, and the superb mural decorating the wall of one of the main dining rooms.
Also, their blue cheese burger was rather nice! ;)
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Great little spot to stop and stretch your legs if you don’t feel like the hustle and bustle that inevitably comes with pulling over in a town whilst on the N2.
Bonus: Seeing as we were on that road anyway, I decided to do an impromptu turn off at the now defunct (and ghost town feeling) bungee jump station at Gouritz River Bridge.
This was the first (and super popular) Bungee Jump station in South Africa, and operated for about 18 years, before shutting up shop for good in 2008 over safety concerns stemming from the rusted, crumbling infrastructure on which both the bungee and rope swinging operations depended on.
The plan had originally been for me to have lunch with the girls over at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club in Grabouw. However, that plan was abruptly put paid to on discovery of one lone “beware of snakes” signboard at the country club, meaning that a new plan was now hastily required – which is exactly then how we ended up for lunch at the nearby The Orchard Farm Stall instead.
(Honestly, it is just as worthwhile a stop as its more famous competitor farm stall!)
What’s particularly nice about The Orchard is its huge patch of lawn stretched out in front of the restaurant area, meaning plenty of run around space for the kids, thereby ensuring a reasonably good chance of being able to sit quietly and enjoy an ice cold beer.
(Incidentally, the Hermanus produced Old Harbour Beer is a pretty good craft beer, just in case you aren’t sure on what to have when there).
The farm stall itself, billed as the The Orchard Elgin Country Market, is superbly well stocked, with plenty of interesting produce and home industry items to cast your eye on, with the ambiance on whole being pretty friendly and pretty laid back.
Also, because The Orchard usually makes an effort in terms of providing some things for the kids to do (in this case a jumping castle and quadbike train rides), the girls were pretty satisfied with my hastily revised plan on the day.
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All in all, a great space to stretch the legs if you are on the road with little kids.
Related Link: The Orchard Farm Stall