Posts Categorized: Travel

Oct 20 2011
2

Bliss on JFK-MEL

We are now beginning my series of blog posts on our trip to Australia. Unfortunately, in the upgrade to iOS5 we lost our ‘plane food’ pics on Bill’s phone. When the file gets restored by Apple, I’ll post our usual inflight meal pics!

We prepared thoroughly to ensure our flight from JFK to MEL would be as stress free as possible.

I worked that morning and Bill stayed home and did the final preparations. I got home at 12.30 and at 3pm we were loading our bags into the car. Our driver was lovely and we took some deep breaths and off we went. There are always the usual pre-flight jitters and it was halfway to JFK when I had convinced myself I didn’t turn off the light in the loungeroom. That is where Bill is the perfect travel companion. “Too late now… it will still be on when we get home!”

After checking in, we spent the next few hours in the BA Lounge relaxing and watching baseball. I had come down with a head cold and was feeling average but was so excited to know that in 24 hours we would be with mum and dad.

Our flight from JFK – LAX was uneventful and it was a full flight. Dinner was a mushroom tortellini with salad and I drank LOTS OF SOLO.

I rocked while watching the INXS Rockpalast Concert from 1997 and Simply Red Live from the Opera House (so good!) and also did my usual routine of watching the two Rockwiz episodes that are on the flight.

I slept for about 20 minutes on that flight, enough to recharge for the layover in LA.

We got to the One World Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and it was like sitting in the Northland Food Court but with people that were half asleep and it was too packed. It was awful. I wish Qantas would have their own lounge at LAX because that one is the worst and it seems to be getting crazier with each trip.

When we hopped on the A380 we got comfy and settled in, trying to stay awake until after the dinner service and now, without pictures I cannot even remember what we had. This was my second time on the A380 and it was absolutely lovely – a dream flight. Take off was faultless, the inflight entertainment is fantastic and the screens were still in good condition. My only issue would seem to be the issue with crowding near the toilets and just that the toilets were not as well kept as the Boeing ones as the taps and general fixtures were looking worn even though the planes are still so young.

My choice of ‘before sleep’ viewing was not a smart one. I decided to watch Snowtown. Sheesh. That is all I have to say and if you have seen it you know what I mean. It was absolutely draining but the time went quick watching it! I drifted into a deep sleep and then woke up four hours later where I was up for another hour and then slept another couple of hours before realizing there was only a few hours left.

Before long, breakfast was being served (a frittata with baked beans) and I was busy watching bits and pieces of random TV shows. It is an amazing feeling when you look at the flight tracking map and you see Sydney… then Wagga Wagga…. then Bendigo… then the nose of the plane on the graphic is over Melbourne but there is still 30 minutes to go. It is the longest time every but the minute the wheels touch the ground it is just like a surge of excitement that flows as we taxi the runway.

No turbulence.
No drama.
No delays.
Good food.
Great entertainment.
Feeling rested.

The flights were basically faultless.

We cleared immigration (quick swipe of the passport, printed out card and then put it in the immigration machine and walk through the gates for me) and customs (no problems there) and came through the big steel doors of Tullamarine. We couldn’t find mum and dad as they now had two exits and they were at our ‘usual’ exit. It was the longest two minutes ever… I was craning my neck while Bill went off to find them. Then we were reunited and it was lots of hugs, “MUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!” and “DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!” There were no tears as we were too happy for tears. Our holiday had begun and within 10 minutes we were on the Ring Road and headed home.

Oct 17 2011
1

Labor Day Weekend

A few weeks ago we celebrated the unofficial end of Summer with a trip Upstate for Labor Day weekend. It was going to be a relaxing few days. A family dinner back at the Carolina House (where we had our wedding party) and a trip to the Columbia Country Fair. I am a sucker for fairs so I was super excited to see what an American one would be like! Unfortunately, it was also the weekend where Upstate got even more post-Irene rain so we had to make the most of any time outside!

The fair reminded me a bit of the Whittlesea Show with a real focus on agriculture and country living. I loved the displays from the 4-H Clubs – if I had grown up there I think there would be a 100% chance of me being a member!

Here are some photos of our afternoon in Chatham before an amazing thunderstorm moved through. It was so much fun – I think next Summer I may spend every weekend forcing Bill to drive me around to all the fairs around the state because I can never get enough of the smell of cows and having corn dogs for dinner!

Columbia County Fair

The entrance – quite different to getting off the train at Flemington!

Columbia County Fair

Retro New York State Police car.

Columbia County Fair

Sheriff!

Columbia County Fair

4-H Events

Columbia County Fair

The 4-H displays were great.

Columbia County Fair

They handed out a lot of ribbons!

Columbia County Fair

As a genealogy nut, I loved this Family Tree!

Columbia County Fair

The 4-H Milkbar!

Columbia County Fair

Horse shoes.

Columbia County Fair

The blacksmith display.

Columbia County Fair

Basketweaving.

Columbia County Fair

Amazing tapestry.

Columbia County Fair

Woodworking.

Columbia County Fair

Chicken coops! The smell was…

Columbia County Fair

The Educational displays.

Columbia County Fair

On the menu…

Columbia County Fair

This popped kettle corn was delish!

Columbia County Fair

Mooooooooooooo!

Columbia County Fair

Loved seeing everyone learning so much at the milking parlor!

Columbia County Fair

The Ferris Wheel was cute.

Columbia County Fair

This is for Ev and Matt – Slurpee HEAVEN. They had so many flavors!

Columbia County Fair

Yes. You are reading that correctly.

Columbia County Fair

Check out these delicacies!

Columbia County Fair

Fries, fries and more fries!

Columbia County Fair

This is America!!

Columbia County Fair

More America!!

Columbia County Fair

Bring on the Waffles and Maple Syrup!

Jul 04 2011
1

Clove Road School

After the party, we stopped by an old schoolhouse that sits on a quiet road in Castleton-on-Hudson.

We knew nothing about it – there are no signs or anything explaining what is there. We had no idea whether it was a schoolhouse or old church hall – as there was also an old cemetery there as well. Isn’t it just gorgeous? I felt like I had been transported to an episode of Little House on the Prairie!

Clove Road School

The minute we got home tonight, I started searching. I found out it is known as Clove Road School (District School No. 3) and it was built around 1878. The cemetery in the schoolyard is pre Civil War which we guessed as there was one headstone that we could still read and it was inscribed with 1853. Here is more information from the National Register of Historic Places.

There is a little Wikipedia entry on it too and there are two footnotes that link to the official reports with two photos of the interior. There was also a small shed on that was used to store coal and also a garage for the headmaster. Back in 2000, a grant was provided to fix some structural issues but it seems that is all that has been done. It has so much promise – I will make sure I keep up to date on this gorgeous piece of Americana that is, for some strange reason, in amazing condition for such an old structure.

Here are some more photos –

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Clove Road School

Jun 12 2011
1

#blogjune – Day 12 – Donny and Marie Madness!

My mum is a pretty big Donny and Marie fan.

When Ma and Pa visited in 2009 and we went to Vegas, we naturally had to go to the Donny and Marie show at the Flamingo! It was one of the most fun nights ever. The stage show was really good and we had unbelievable seats at a front table. Donny actually danced on our table and held mum’s hand!! *faints*

Anyway on Marie’s Twitter feed yesterday she announced a Donny and Marie CRUISE! I nearly screamed – how cool would that be?!

So it led to me going back through my photos from our unreal time in Vegas. Oh… we saw Tom Jones as well when we were there. He left us speechless. Soooo awesome as well.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

The whole front of the hotel advertises the show. This is how it looked from across the road at Caesars –

Las Vegas

One of my favourite photos of mum and dad –

Las Vegas

It was so classy… as you can see –

Las Vegas

In the grounds of the Flamingo –

Las Vegas

It was funny when we were taking these photos there was a wedding going on and guys were walking past the ceremony topless in their board shorts with slabs of beer. Again… classy! If we win the lottery… or something like that… we will be going on that cruise!! I will make sure of it!

Jun 02 2011
2

#blogjune – Day 2 – Going Dutch

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The past weekend was the Memorial Day long weekend here so we decided to venture to Pennsylvania to spend some time in Lancaster County. I spent three days simply sighing at the beauty of the countryside. It was magnificent and so pristine. The farms looked like scenes from a historical postcard. It was just perfect.

Obviously, I also got to see first hand how the Amish and Mennonites live and it was fascinating. We drove and drove and drove – the only way to real appreciate the beauty of the area is to get on the back roads and just… discover.

We chose our driving tours based on information Bill got from the tourist bureau. These provided great directions and we discovered places we would not have found otherwise. Here are some photos from our drive discovering covered bridges… with many flashbacks to Bridges of Madison County!

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We also did another suggested tour that gets off the main roads and goes through the back roads to discover some of the Amish farms. Here are some scenes from around Lancaster County –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

After a while we were able to determine the difference between Amish and Mennonite properties.

On the Amish farms, their equipment looked like this –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Horses working in the fields –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

One thing that they both have in common is how they hang their washing out to dry –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We stopped by two Mennonite homes to buy strawberries and tomatoes.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

To get the tomatoes, this family had a little stall set up with a bucket that we had to put our money in and take the tomatoes that we wanted. I love buying by an honesty system!

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

A big novelty is sharing the road with horse and buggys… I actually felt guilty as we drove around in 95F weather with the air-conditioning on while they were sweating it out in those little boxes. For much of the time they stick to their own ‘buggy lane’ on the main roads…. on the side roads however we got to travel behind one –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Then we had to wait for this one to cross the bridge –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

This reminded me of a scene out of Little House on the Prairie –

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

And looky here… I have even made a video so you could experience what it looked like away from still shots! You will see some buggy action and lots of pretty scenery!

In all my travels around America this was one of my favourites… we did so much more that I’ll be saving for another post – I just wanted to share these photos ASAP! It was the perfect time to visit and the perfect weekend getaway. I cannot wait to get back there!

May 08 2011
2

Beantown, Lobstah, LL Bean and Cape Cod

We just got back from three days in New England – it was so nice getting out of town and seeing some different surroundings and reliving Yankee magazine moments. We would go from New York, to Connecticut, to Massachusetts, to New Hampshire, to Maine and then back again. Awesome!

We left the city straight after work on Thursday and stopped in Connecticut for dinner at yes, you guessed it – the Cracker Barrel! Hey.. check out the awesome rental we go –

Groovy Car Groovy Car

This Chevy drove like a dream!

The traffic was quite bad and we arrived in Boston late and checked in at the Marriott on the outskirts, which was gorgeous. Here is our room and the view –

Quincy Marriott Quincy Marriott Vie from hotel

On Friday morning we got up and eagerly awaited our room service breakfast – it is so much fun having a few knocks at your door and breakfast arriving. We then dropped into the local mall, South Shore Plaza. It was seriously one of the best shopping centers I have been to by way of the selection of shops – all of my favourites! Vera Bradley (first time I had seen a stand alone store), BRAND new Target, Nordstrom, Apple Store, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s Talbots, Aveda store, Yankee Candle, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Hallmark Gold Crown and restaurant wise – Legal Seafoods and a Cheesecake Factory! My head was SPINNING! Here I am outside the Vera store –

Vera store!

After the Mall we headed straight to one of my favourite places on earth – the JFK Library and Museum. I think this was my sixth visit there – it never disappoints and we spent the afternoon wandering through. Back in 2006 I arranged with one of the librarians there to get a behind the scenes look at the archives and library. It was something I would never forget. I’ll share some photos now of that visit as we didn’t take any in there on this visit. These areas are not accessible to visitors… so enjoy!

In the stacks –

JFK Library & Museum

These are FULL of photos of JFK –

JFK Library & Museum

Shelves and shelves of reels of footage –

JFK Library & Museum

View from the private research library –

JFK Library & Museum

The very specialised collection –

JFK Library & Museum JFK Library & Museum

On Friday night we headed to a family function in Dochester for Bill’s cousin, Patrick.

Here is sister-in-law Pauline with Bill –

Pauline & Bill

The cool table –

The Gang

We didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight and we had to be up early for a big trip on Saturday.

We first went out to Wrentham to the Premium Outlets Mall – it was the best premium outlets mall I had been to – clean, spacious and again, a great selection of shops!

After a couple of hours there we hit the road to Maine with a plan to stop in New Hampshire to go to Markey’s Lobster Pool. This is off the beaten track and was absolutely amazing. I have never sat down to eat whole ‘lobstah’ before and we were able to get a meal of two lobsters, straight from the sea for $16.95! Of course, when you pick it all apart, you don’t get much meat but it was definitely a satisfying lunch! Bill did mine for me as I had no idea what I had to do to get any of the meat out. Here we are… so excited about these lobsters and obviously annoying the guy at the next table –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

Our lobster –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

Ordering at Markey’s is an experience in itself. You order your Lobster here and they take it out of the pool –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

And then straight into the massive lobster pot –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

Here are the rest of the offerings –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

You can eat outside on the water –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

Here I am out the front –

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

Markey’s Lobster Pool… with dark storm clouds!

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

We then hit the road again to drive up to Freeport, Maine. Why? LL Bean Headquarters. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love LL Bean. It has been my dream to make it to Freeport and it actually happened!

Here we are outside the Big Bean Boot!

LL Bean, Freeport LL Bean, Freeport

LL Bean is basically the WHOLE town. This is just one part –

LL Bean, Freeport

There is then the general LL Bean Store, the Home store, the outlet store and then all the hunting and fishing bits and pieces. LL Bean is open 24 hours a DAY! It is that awesome. I could just live in the store, and got so inspired that picked this spinning thing at www.reelchase.com/best-line-counter-reels/ for some fishing next weekend!

Scenes from in the store include –

LL Bean, Freeport

In my favourite section – the Boat and Totes!

Hiding in the Boat and Totes!

There is a full pond with trout… and Bill wanted to take a swim!

Bill loving LL Bean

It was such a great afternoon. We bought a few bits and pieces and before we knew it, it was time to head back to Boston. Maine is so quiet and pretty. Another thing I loved were the various numberplates…

Maine Numberplate Maine Numberplate Maine Numberplate

And this one is for Sally (just noticed the bumper sticker… oops!)-

Maine Numberplate

We had no idea what to do for dinner… Bill suggested more seafood. Before we knew it we were heading back to New Hampshire to go to Markey’s! This time, we ordered two lobsters each and the prawns… oh my gosh I had died and gone to heaven. I also mastered the art of getting every little bit of meat out of the shell… yummmmmmmmmmm!

Markey's Lobster, Seabrook, NH

By the way, those little containers are of melted butter. It is served here boiling hot and you dip your lobster meat into the butter. Yeah… I know it sounds weird but it is SO good.

After that, we got to watch the sunset…

Sunset in Seabrook, NH Sunset in Seabrook, NH

And get some ice cream. Even though by this time it was quite cold we were just pretending it was a gorgeous summer night!

Dunlaps, Seabrook, NH Dunlaps, Seabrook, NH

It then became Sunday and we started the day with Mass at St John the Evangelist where Bill’s parents got married in Cambridge and the church his mum grew up going to. We then walked around the neighbourhood where she grew up. It was so quiet and pretty!

North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge North Cambridge

A great Mass numberplate –

MA Numberplate

Now, ever since I have known Bill he talks about these turkey sandwiches that he would get when they were on family holidays in Cape Cod. The place that makes them is still open and they are called Gerard Farms. They sell turkey EVERYTHING! So on our way back to the city we stopped in to get some for lunch and we sat in the car by the water (it was too cold and windy out) in Marshfield where we had a yummy roast turkey lunch.

Marshfield, MA Marshfield, MA Turkey from Marshfield

It was so beautiful being so close to the water – I could taste the salt on my lips!

Marshfield, MA Marshfield, MA Marshfield, MA

We left the Cape at 1pm, had the car back to midtown by 5pm, was home by 5.50pm, had a light dinner, unpacked and were in our jammies by 6.30 and I’ve had this blog post done by 9.30. What. A. Weekend! I hope yours was just as wonderful!

Dec 13 2010
1

Goodbyes never get easier

The range of emotions over the past four weeks (actually make that the past 12 months!) have been a rollercoaster.

Today, there is no doubt about it as a little cloud of sadness hangs over our apartment. It is always like this after goodbyes and yesterday, as I bawled my eyes out in the street as the car service drove mum, dad and Matt to JFK I realized that you continue to learn that goodbyes never get easier. You never get used to the awful dread that hangs around on the morning of departure or the clock countdown to the latest possible time you can leave to make it to the airport that no-one talks about. It is absolutely awful. I cannot put it any other way. I hate it and through all my overseas adventures it is always the same. My stomach hurts, my head throbs and it is so emotionally draining it really does take everything out of you.

Today, my eyes are swollen, the TV is off and this place is just absolutely quiet as all I can hear is the noise from the radiator and random street noise. I am wandering around just taking everything in. There is a stack of washing to do and I want to cook some meals to freeze and catch up on housework but just like last time they were here, there are so many memories around the place. We may yell at each other when we are together, crack it at the smallest things and argue over absolutely everything but I know I am so lucky we were able to spend this time together. I wish there was something that could make everyone just that little bit closer in distance. Because truly, distance sucks and it never gets easier.

Nov 22 2010
2

Lake Placid Public Library

Of course, when you are on a honeymoon you just have to visit libraries right? Right!

We had a lovely little adventure at the Lake Placid Public Library today. It is located on the main street of Lake Placid and is a gorgeous library that fits perfectly into the surrounds of the town. The catalog was playing up while I was there and I showed great restraint by not jumping the desk to try and help out! The library was wonderfully maintained and clean – it was a pleasure to visit.

As an aside, Melvil Dewey had a long history with Lake Placid… so much so our hotel has a picture of him in the lobby!

Here is the front of the library –

Lake Placid Public Library

The beautiful reading area –

The reading area.. (!!!)

The reading area has this view (!!) –

View from the reading area

Another reading area –

Fireplace and ready area

You can view more photos here.

Nov 13 2010
4

Countdown…

In approximately 8 hours, we’ll all be together… I’m excited!

All of us!

Fresh towels and clean sheets await them after their long, long flight.

I made a huge and delicious Shepherd’s Pie for dinner and Bill made a gorgeous mouthwatering Apple Pie for dessert. Then they can have a beautiful long sleep in our cozy apartment. Tomorrow… their adventure begins!

Welcome to the USA mum, dad and Matthew!

Nov 10 2010
2

Great Ocean Road Day 1

With regards to our Australia trip back in April, my last post was about Sunday of our first week. On Monday we would embark on an adventure to my favourite place in the world – the Great Ocean Road.

With the Great Ocean Road, I have camped (as in bush camping – no showers or anything!), stayed in fancy self contained units, hotels, cabins… but never before at the lighthouse. I wanted to give Bill some ‘one off’ opportunities on this trip so I organized accommodation at the Cape Otway Lightstation. What an experience.

First… lets start off with the trip to the lighthouse. The plan was to drop into Warbo’s in Geelong and catch up for some morning tea (aka sausage rolls/vanilla slices etc!) so we did that. I wanted to stop in Lorne for some fish and chips for lunch so just a snack to tide us over basically. We caught up with Warbo and his mum and then got back on the road. I drove Bill around the beach area at Torquay and then we went up to Bells Beach. The place never changes.

Here we are at Bells Beach –

At Bells Beach

Is there anything more Australian than a ute at the beach?

Ute!

Is there anything more Australian than a pair of speedos thrown on a branch? Ewww!

Speedos on a branch..

I can taste the salt air on my lips just looking at this photo –

Great Ocean Road

I stopped by Anglesea Golf Club because you can nearly always see stacks of kangaroos. We saw none. But we did see magpies. You MUST listen to this video that Bill made of the beautiful magpie warble. We have listened to this so many times. This is the sound that I grew up with hearing in the morning!

Bill loved some of the signs we saw along the way. Here is a selection –

Great Ocean Road Anglesea Great Ocean Road Great Ocean Road

This is my favourite – how the Little River Band got their name –

On the way back to Melbourne

We drove leisurely along to Lorne and when we got there, we got ourselves a table at the fish and chip shop – grilled flake, potato cakes and steamed dimmies. Yum Yum Yum! It was while I was there that I got a text message from Shannyn saying “Carl Williams has died!” Whaaaaaaaa??! (I am not going to try to explain Carl Williams in this post… click here instead.) We were just talking about him this morning because the Herald-Sun had a cover story about him and now… dead?! With that, my phone went into overload. I turned around and said to the guy cooking the fish… “Hey – Carl Williams is dead!” and it was all the same reaction… what?! You would be hard pressed to find someone in Melbourne who didn’t know who Carl Williams was. Luckily, Bill had an understanding of the whole deal due to my constant chatter so he was just as fascinated by the news as well.

There was another disaster brewing though. Leaving Lorne and as we’d drive on, our radio coverage in the car would start to turn to static. The news addict in me panicked – I could not be without access to news on this, one of the biggest news days in Melbourne in a long time. We were able to get bits and pieces of ABC radio and between that and in clearing areas where I could get 3AW we were able to follow the news as it unfolded.

So while we were listening we were taking in scenes like this –

Great Ocean Road

And this –

Great Ocean Road

We stopped at Stevensons Falls as there are usually lots of koalas, but like our earlier search for kangaroos, there was none. The Falls were pretty much non-existent too, due to lack of rain –

Great Ocean Road - Stevensons Fall

We had to be at the Cape Otway at 5pm as that is when the gates close. It was while at the falls that I realized that I was going to have to floor it to get us there at time. So this meant no stop at Apollo Bay – we drove straight through and made it to the lighthouse with ten minutes to spare!

To get to the lighthouse you actually turn off the Great Ocean Road and drive through Otway National Park. There is some random farmland before the lighthouse and I took one of the best photos I have ever taken in my life.

Cape Otway

I. LOVE. THIS. PHOTO. SO. MUCH. In high res, it is amazing – I’ve even had it as my desktop wallpaper. The light, everything was perfect.

Now, back to our adventures. The lighthouse. Wow – we were in total seclusion. We were locked in to the lighthouse property by a gate that we had to open and lock if we left the property and there would be one caretaker who would be staying on a smaller property nearby if we needed anything or there was an emergency. Beside that it was just us and the… darkness. No road lighting here. No radio coverage of any station. No television. No internet access. No cell phone coverage. No land line telephone. NOTHING. I cannot tell you how strange this feels to be totally cut off from the outside world. It was the closest we could ever experience at being stranded on an island survivor style. It was a weird feeling. But also sent me into a panic on the day when access to breaking news was imperative. So I got to really tune out and it was amazing.

Let me take you on a tour of our little Lightkeepers cottage!

Cape Otway Lightstation

The walk from the cottage to the lighthouse –

Cape Otway Lightstation

You know the Bureau of Meteorology readings from Cape Otway? They come from here!

Cape Otway Lightstation Cape Otway Lightstation

The door to the lighthouse –

Cape Otway Lightstation

Peaceful and serene amongst rugged cliffs –

Cape Otway Lightstation Cape Otway Lightstation

It was getting dark while we were out exploring –

Cape Otway Lightstation

Inside the cottage, it was definitely no frills but it also felt truly Australian and again, so quiet –

Cape Otway Lightstation Cape Otway Lightstation Cape Otway Lightstation

Our breakfast was left for us to prepare the next morning –

Cape Otway Lightstation Cape Otway Lightstation

That night we had dinner at the Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House. During our first week in Melbourne, Bill found it mentioned in a New York Times article (!) about farm to table restaurants. Then, I remember that Victoria (my gorgeous friend who did the Great Ocean Walk) had been there. I asked her about it and she said it was just magnificent. So Bill emailed and got us a reservation. Driving there was to be an adventure in itself. There was no moonlight, just a million stars in the sky. There were no lights along the road and the trees in the Otways are just plain scary at night. What should have been a ten minute drive took us nearly forty minutes. Yes, there were kangaroos jumping out in front of us. It was petrifying. Especially when I would stop the car so we could look in the upper reaches of the trees around us to see if there were any koalas. We would wind the windows down and it was just eerie silence… or the rustling of bushes that would have me screaming and driving off.

The Aire Valley restaurant is a beautiful homestead on the top of a hill – we stepped in and were ushered into the dining room. It was wonderful basically being in someones house but getting a restaurant experience. You can read more about the produce and the restaurant here.

Here we are in settling in for dinner –

Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House

The bread (baked in a mini loaf tin) was SO good –

Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House

Prawns to start… with salad from the garden!

Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House

Our main meals –

Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House Aire Valley Restaurant and Guest House

It was so relaxing and a lovely way to end a long day of driving. We headed back, along the same spooky route to the lighthouse. The next day would bring more Great Ocean Road adventures so we had to be up early!