Monday, May 9, 2016

The Magic of Coodravale.

Ten years of marriage. 

Ten years since we tied the knot on a gorgeous Autumn afternoon in Bowral.

To celebrate the Husband and I made a dash for it and escaped for a WHOLE WEEKEND, leaving the kidlets to fend for themselves at home...(just kidding, they had several adult servants tag teaming to be at their beck and call, thanks Rach, Stella & Holly). It was the first time we'd both been away from the boys at the same time in forever and it was just what we needed...a bit of indulgent R&R.

I discovered the perfect hideaway, an historic homestead called Coodravale in Wee Jasper which provided beautiful self catering accommodation. 

I picked Shannon up from his farewell drinks at work on Friday afternoon, (his last day before commencing a new chapter in his career), and we headed out of Canberra towards the setting sun. We stopped at Yass for a quick drink and a good old fashioned pub meal before making our way along the winding country road to Wee Jasper. It was a warm welcome upon arrival to Coodravale which included bubbly and flowers from John and Rosemary wishing us a happy anniversary. 

You know what I love about arriving somewhere under the cover of darkness? Waking up in the morning and feeling like a child unwrapping a great big present. I love exploring the surrounds in the soft morning light. It feels like a little adventure! 

This is what greeted us after a blissful uninterrupted night's sleep. 

Feeling famished we jumped in the car and made the short journey across the river... Cooradigbee Homestead for a long and lazy brunch on the terrace of the homestead cafe. 
We stretched out in the sun, watched sheep graze in the home paddock and filled our bellies with comfort food and coffee. 

We got a fit of the giggles when a silly sheep clambered through a low hedge (instead of, you know, walking around it),  got tangled in the foliage and clumsily fell over then got up and wandered off looking, and I daresay feeling, rather sheepish. I love sheep but goodness they're not the brightest sparks in the animal kingdom. Endearing, entertaining but dimwitted.

The resident retired farm dog was on hand for a cuddle. He was a gorgeous old fellow.

The sun was so warm, the view of the property and across to the Wee Jasper Valley beyond was so nice and the company so lovely that we simply had to extend brunch and sample some of the cakes. It seemed only right, (oohhh soooo right!). Pecan & Honey tart and an Apple, Raisin & Walnut cake.

Having fallen into a food coma, we made our way back along the dusty dirt road to Coodravale for a walk down by the river followed by a lovely, long afternoon nap. I can't remember having slept so soundly, it was wonderful! It was late in the afternoon when we did eventually emerge from our snug cocoon for a glass of red and a smashingly sumptuous cheese platter on the verandah.  We cracked open a nice bottle of 2006 Cab Sav to commemorate the year we were hitched and we drank "to us" as the sun glowed gold and slipped behind the hills.

We had a lovely chat in the garden with John & Rosemary then headed in from the cold to curl up on the comfy lounge with more wine, some fine chocolates and a couple of good books.

After another blissful night's sleep we woke late to the sound of rain falling gently outside. 

We breakfasted on croissants with homemade rhubarb & raspberry jam and a fresh pot of coffee, then somewhat begrudgingly, packed our bag to return home. As much as we missed the boys, we weren't quite ready to leave the peace and quiet of that superbly appointed room.

Coodravale has such an interesting history and it was a privilege to be able to visit. 
The homestead itself is a beautiful red brick gem, built in 1923, complete with servants quarters and other assorted outbuildings. 

Set in an expansive established garden full of large trees peppered with pretty little fairy wrens flitting from branch to branch, the homestead sits snugly overlooking the flood plain and the Goodradigbee river meandering below. 

The property was extensive in its hey day, comprised of some 30,000 acres rearing cattle, horses and sheep. It was owned by none other than Banjo Patterson and the Lindemans in the early 1900s and has had connections to a number of prominent Australian families over the years. 

John and Rosemary have done an incredible job restoring the homestead to its former glory.
 Coodravale couldn't have more dedicated or capable caretakers. 

It was a little piece of heaven in the countryside...quiet, luxurious, private...high quality  accommodation with hosts who were incredibly generous and welcoming. It was such a delight to stay there and we're certain that we'll be back time and time again. I highly recommend Coodravale to Canberrans in need of a peaceful weekend retreat or guests from further afield, keen to experience a slice of historic australian country life. Anyone of artistic inclination will find it an abundance of creative inspiration, just as it inspired Banjo Patterson to pen several poems during his time. Next time I'll be taking a sketch pad and some watercolours to sit by the river and paint. 

To make a booking contact John & Rosemary here and tell them I said hi!

Happy 10th Anniversary Husband.
I loved having you all to myself for a whole weekend.
Here's cheers to the next ten years together!

xx Em