We have been visiting Jacobsbaai for a good couple of years now, and 2018 was no different, with us spending a short but sweet weekend with Chantelle’s folks at the always comfortable Artist’s Retreat guest house.
The weekend itself was punctuated with plenty of strolls around the lovely little village, a trip through to Velddrif and Laaiplek, a visit to the surprise church bazaar that popped up, plenty of socializing, and of course LOTS of rest and relaxation.
Oh, and there was even a little fun run (of all things) that took place on the Saturday morning. I don’t know why I mention it. None of us were there to jog.
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My folks have had fractional ownership to this property in the stunning Pinnacle Point Golf Estate near Mossel Bay for nearly a decade now. All of a sudden, the Gordon’s Bay Lötters are making a lot more use of this great holiday opportunity, with 2018 seeing the girls and I paying a visit four times in the year!
Needless to say, I have a lot of photos of the estate (and Mossel Bay) now lying on my hard drive, patiently waiting for their turn to be sorted and then uploaded. So, without further ado, this particular set comes from the March visit, which saw Jessica, Emily and me join Mom and Dad for a nice long weekend break.
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Right, first batch done.
If you are interested in the Cape’s architectural heritage, then a visit to Tulbagh should very much be on your agenda.
You see, the damage that the disastrous 1969 Boland Earthquake wreaked upon the town sparked a renewed interest in its heritage, with the result being extensive projects of restoration lead by the National Committee for the Restoration of Historic Buildings in Tulbagh and its Environment and later Tulbagh Valley Heritage Foundation groups.
Because of this work, Tulbagh’s historic Church Street is now home to the largest single grouping of Cape-Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian provincial heritage homes in South Africa.
That said, we were mainly there for the wine.
Towards the end of last year, Chantelle and I left the kids with the grandparents and struck out to enjoy a weekend away on our own, forgoing the allure of staying in an old heritage house and instead opting for the more comfortable amenities that the African Tulip Guest House promised on their website.
Just as well that we did, because our lavender-themed room was spacious, featured a giant en-suite bath, had direct access to a patio with the most gorgeous of views, and not to mention a particularly inviting breakfast nook that came paired with some particularly good breakfast, courtesy of our lovely Dutch hosts.
(Plus, given the heat, the pool was DEFINITELY a very welcome bonus!)
For Friday night’s supper we tucked into the most decadent of burgers at Tulbagh Hotel’s The Olive Terrace, all the while enjoying the live music courtesy of a Valiant Swart concert being held next door at Saronsberg Theatre.
Saturday saw us make an impromptu decision to first head out to nearby Ceres (via Michell’s Pass), followed by a longer drive through to Klondyke Farm for a stab at one of their super popular cherry picking sessions.
Back in Tulbagh, we first explored a bit, tasted chocolate at Moniki Chocolatier, and then while Chantelle enjoyed a late afternoon nap, I set about taking in all the historical architecture with a leisurely stroll down Church Street (photos of which I must still get around to posting!).
Saturday’s supper was taken at Readers Restaurant, a dining establishment that operates out of one of the heritage houses on Church Street and by someone who appears to have very much a thing for cats going on. I don’t know why.
Finally, Sunday saw us take our leave of the wonderful African Tulip as we embarked upon a day of wine tasting, stopping in first at Saronsberg (Tulbagh), then Waverley Hills (Wolseley), and following a jaunt over Bain’s Kloof Pass, ending it all off at Val du Charron (Wellington).
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So. Not a bad first ever stay in Tulbagh then.
Ah yes, I very naively stated at the start of this year that my plan for 2016 was to go for at least one weekend away trip each and every month, to make up for being housebound / crippled for so long following my ruptured quadriceps tendon injury in December last year.
Looking back I really did get off to a good start (considering I could only really half walk again by May), with a trip to Jacobsbaai in February, a trip to Mossel Bay in March, a weekend at Warmwaterberg Spa outside Barrydale in April, a stay in Stanford in May, a Garden Route break via George in June, and then the massive one, just short of two weeks away in the United State of America – Anaheim and San Diego to be precise – in July. (Which I still need to blog about, I know!)
However, my year long goal has come to a crushing halt thanks to the realities of life – in other words, my disposable income is currently under strain! :D
When we learned that Jessica was struggling a bit with Grade R (and looking unlikely to progress to Grade 1 next year), we immediately leaped into action by signing her up for some intensive occupational therapy with the brilliant Nicola van Zyl at the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre. The results have been brilliant, but it does cost me over R2,000 a month, so there’s that.
However, now we are in a predicament where the teacher is no longer sure as to whether or not Jessica should progress or stay behind next year, and with Chantelle and I sitting on different sides of the fence (I want Jessica to progress, while Chantelle wants her to hang back), we’ve decided to get a professional opinion via a thorough school readiness assessment from the very capable educational psychologist Mia Schoeman, again at Et Al. This will help us make the proper decision, but of course it comes at a price of just over R3,000.
Then there was the unplanned trip to the dentist which set me back a surprise R4,135, not to mention the scheduled 150,000 km car service on our 2007 Hyundai Accent (which we only bought at the end of 2013 following the wrecking of Chantelle’s Getz) which cost R2,945 and came back with a quote of R10,000 for work which still needs to be done!
So yes, there is a need for a slight break in my “going away each and every month in 2016” plan!
Not all is lost though. I’ve got a trip with the girls to Gouritsmond (Gouritz) already booked for late December, and I’m reasonably sure that by October the need to get away will kick in once again, overriding any silly monetary concerns that I might have…
(Mind you, if you follow my Instagram feed or Facebook page it certainly wouldn’t look like I’ve let up. Spring is here and the girls and I are making the MOST of the good weather in order to explore our surrounds come each and every weekend!)
First world problems, I know! ;)
In keeping with my mission to go away at least once a month this year (Jacobsbaai in February, Mossel Bay in March, and Barrydale in April), May proved to be no exception, with Chantelle spotting a great deal on Daddy’s Deals that gave us access to the exclusive boutique hotel-like Blue Gum Country Estate (just outside Stanford in the beautiful Overberg) for just less than half of the usual going rate!
Named after the 140-year old Blue Gum tree that grows on the front lawn, the estate is both a working farm (olives and grapes) dating back to 1839 and a private, family-run guest house, managed by owners Anton and Tarryn de Kock (Anton, who as it turns out, studied a year behind me at UCT in the Computer Science department!).
With the kids safely dropped off with Oupa and Ouma, Chantelle and I set out over Sir Lowry’s Pass, taking the coastal route to Stanford, i.e. passing through Hawston, Onrus and Hermanus before hitting that beautiful stretch of the R43 that will eventually take you all the way through to Gansbaai.
Given that we only managed to leave at around 16:00, it was already getting dark by the time we reached Stanford (thanks Winter sun!), making the navigation of the rather long dirt road up to the estate rather tricky – thankfully, Google Maps didn’t lead us astray!
On arrival, we checked in and immediately agreed to have supper at the onsite Blue Gum Restaurant, though not before first marveling at the exquisite, massive room that greeted us – complete with king size bed, free-standing bath, indoor fireplace, and even a private garden for our exclusive use!
Supper was just as exquisite mind you (note: with prices to match), with a beautifully presented main course and dessert delighting our taste buds from start to finish!
After a good night’s rest, we woke, enjoyed a quiet coffee on our tranquil, private patio, and then headed to the breakfast room, enjoying our first proper glimpse of the scenic beauty of this lush and well maintained estate in the process.
As expected, the breakfast was an absolute treat, the staff a delight, and more importantly, one of the best eggs benedict that I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating!
After exploring the grounds for a bit, we then headed out for the day, spending a bit of time in both Gansbaai and the delightful little village of Stanford, more of which I’ll still get into when I finally get around to posting those photos as well!
(Sadly, time didn’t allow for us to make a stop at the Birkenhead Brewery, nor the Klein Rivier Cheese Factory, but we did however get to stroll at De Kelders, wander about Stanford, visit the Overberg Honey Co., and indulge in authentic Italian gelato!).
Following our long day of excursions, we returned to Blue Gum Country Estate and joined in for the complementary High Tea – and seeing as no one else had bothered to show, Chantelle and I got to enjoy the relaxing tea room and delicious snacks all to ourselves!
After a bit of relaxation and more exploration of the grounds, we headed back down the horrible gravel road and made our way to Stanford, where we both settled on KC’s Restaurant for supper – with the end result being the enjoyment of some particularly delicious pizza!
After yet another brilliant night’s rest, Sunday started off much the same as Saturday, with a fantastic breakfast, a tranquil walkabout, and then finally the dreaded checkout and goodbye.
What an unbelievably magnificent place to visit, and in the same breath, highly recommendable. There is no way that you won’t come back from a weekend at Blue Gum Country Estate not relaxed and at peace with the world!
What a beautiful birthday treat from Chantelle this was…
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I may have mentioned it already, but I had a horrible end to last year and a bad beginning to this one. Thus, now that I can pretty much walk normally again (at last!!), I’m doing my best to salvage the year by attempting to go on at least one getaway a month for the rest of the year – and so far we’re doing a pretty good job of it!
Warmwaterberg Spa is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country, having opened in 1887, meaning it turns a healthy 129 years old this year! Chantelle and I have actually been there before, way back in 2010, and we were both pretty excited to now head back and show off the place to the girls.
If you have never been there before, Warmwaterberg Spa is a very simple operation, a place with all the necessities in place but without much luxury attached to it. There are quite a couple of different accommodation options, including caravan and tenting sites, to be had (we chose a timber cabin for the six of us), a restaurant and little shop on the grounds, and most important of all, the pools.
However, what it does have in spades is space, starlit skies, and stunning landscape scenery, with idyllic views that literally stretch on for miles – no matter which direction you look.
Discounting the historic Roman baths on the property, there are three public pools in total, each a different temperature. Seeing as it was too cold to make use of the cold water pool, we pretty much stuck to the two warm pools, with Jessica surprising us all by declaring her independence (thank you water wings!) and swimming on her own without clinging to us each and every second like she normally does!
We were joined on this trip by Monty and Cheryl, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed having Oupa and Ouma along for the adventure. Our weekend flashed by, with lots of swim sessions (including a night dip for Chantelle and myself), peacock stalking, chicken chasing, braai and a potjie suppers, a restaurant breakfast and even a coffee trip to Barrydale.
Oh, and Emily was particularly impressed by being allowed to sleep in her own big bed for a change!
As luck would have it, the weather played along beautifully for the Friday and Saturday of our weekend away, with the clouds only rolling in on Sunday, making for a slightly damp car packing session.
The girls had fun, I had fun, so yes, apart from the horrible 3 km dirt road to get to resort’s reception, Warmwaterberg Spa Weekend Away 2016 was a brilliant success!
(Naturally, I took loads of photos, as is customary on any of my weekends away…)
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Sadly though, despite it’s close proximity to Warmwaterberg Spa (it is literally just before the gravel road turn off), we didn’t make time to pop in at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop pub. Maybe when the girls are a little older…
Related Link: Warmwaterberg Spa
I’ve already mentioned that back in March, Chantelle, the girls and I enjoyed a brilliant weekend away break with my folks at their holiday place in Pinnacle Point, Mossel Bay. What I haven’t yet talked about was the great Saturday afternoon outing that saw us enjoy a leisurely, scenic drive out to George, where we paid a visit to the tourist friendly Redberry Farm.
Redberry Farm is both a commercial strawberry growing farm and a popular family entertainment venue and as such makes for a perfect family outing if you’ve got a bunch of little ones running around.
There are loads of activities for the kids to do, including pony rides, bumper and paddle boats, bubble orbs, jungle gyms, and even a mini Redberry Express train, which takes kids for a quick spin around the maze.
Talking about the maze, Redberry Farm is also home to the Hedge Maze, the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere! Grown from over 30,000 Syzygium Paniculatum plants, the maze consists of seven strawberry stations, a 25m underground tunnel and a look-out point to be found within 10,000m of pathways.
Oh, and don’t forget about the strawberry picking either!
The premises also include a fantastic farm stall and tea garden, as well as the Red Shed Coffee & Berry Bar, which serves a variety of treats.
As you may well by now imagine, Jessica and Emily had an absolute blast of an outing, and I have to say, so did I. A genuinely fantastic family outing spot that I’m sure I’ll be visiting again the next time I find myself up in the area!
Some more photos from the excursion:
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P.S. The food on offer was pretty good as well!
Related Link: Redberry Farm
In February we managed to take a weekend break in Jacobsbaai with Chantelle’s folks, and pleasingly, in March we managed to slip in another weekend away break with my folks, joining them for a stay in the Pinnacle Point house in Mossel Bay.
My leg was already a fair bit stronger than what it was back in February, meaning that this time around I was a little more mobile and could thus enjoy my weekend that little bit more than what I did back at Jacobsbaai.
(That said though, I developed mumps right before we left, meaning that I did spend the weekend looking rather ridiculous with my comically swollen face!)
This particular weekend was characterized by an invasion of giant rain spiders, with the final count of spiders discovered in the house up to something like 12 or so by the end of our stay!
Dad became the de facto spider wrangler, successfully capturing and relocating all but one (Chantelle got this one before it could get her) of the spiders back to the outside world – though one frisky one that dropped down at him did almost give him a heart attack and probably shaved 5 years off of his life expectancy in the process!
The girls had a blast spending some time with granny and grandpa, and of course the occasional easter egg didn’t hurt matters either. Saturday saw us make the most of some great weather and travel out to George to spend some quality family time at the Redberry strawberry farm (I’ll post the pictures later), while Sunday the weather cooled its heels a little, allowing for a more relaxed approach to entertaining ourselves.
Jess enjoyed her trips on the golf cart (which I didn’t even attempt to drive this time around), Chantelle enjoyed the peace of sleeping without snoring (she was downstairs across from the girls, whilst I slept upstairs with 85% of the weekend’s spiders in my room), and Emily loved all the extra attention she was getting all weekend long!
We enjoyed a braai, watched the Stormers lose a narrow game of Super Rugby, and I discovered Canary Melons for the first time – thanks Fruit & Veg for that!
It was a short and sweet weekend away, with us leaving for home on Sunday afternoon already, but it was jam packed with loads of quality family time – so no complaints there! :)
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(Oh, and on the way home, we finally stopped and popped in by the fabulous Tredici bakery/coffee shop in Swellendam – well worth the effort mind you!)
Back in February we found ourselves enjoying quite a good weekend away in Jacobsbaai, having travelled there to attend the fun Oppiwa Festival.
All in all we were quite a big Montgomery-related family group that booked out Priscilla’s Artist’s Retreat guest house, with the end result being a thoroughly enjoyable, sociable and entertaining weekend.
With my leg still being reasonably weak though, I skipped out on joining the others on their musician/wagon/wine trips, tasked instead with looking after the girls for the weekend – which translated to a trip to the Cape Columbine light house (more on that later), multiple play dates at both Panarottis and Spur in the West Coast Mall – but sadly, no strolls around Jacobsbaai itself!
By all accounts, the Oppiwa festival itself was loads of fun – Chantelle and the others had an absolute blast. On the whole, the weather was good, the company great, and the food delicious!
(Still, it would have been a lot nicer had I been a bit more mobile! Not a lot of photos this time around I’m afraid…)
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