Weekends away should be compulsory

23 10 2006

Weekends away without mobile phones, computers, email, newspapers, TV, etc. should be compulsory. Add in two good friends, some brilliant wine and food, gorgeous spring weather, a delightful location, and you couldn’t ask for more to relax you and just chill.

We drove down to Bridgetown on Saturday morning with our friends, listening to a compilation of some great music from the 60s. The weather was delightful – quite hot, actually. After a detour to show them where we intend building (they were impressed!), we checked into the Bridgetown Hotel and had lunch. The hotel rooms (like the pub) have all been refurbished, and are very very classy. Minimalist – but classy. High quality materials and fittings, and a luxurious feel to them.

Lunch was as good as usual – the Bridgetown Hotel does a great feed! (We had a superb dinner there too on Saturday night, as well as a full breakfast on Sunday morning – it was all good!) The food’s not cheap, but it’s excellent quality, with great presentation, and big servings – the price doesn’t really matter under those circumstances. Oh, and breakfast was included in the room price.

After lunch we walked across the road to the Blackwood Valley Wine Show. What a bargain that was! $5 entrance fee got you access to 150 wines of the region – and all you could drink! You helped yourself from the bottles laid out on the tables, and could have as much or as little as you liked. Excellent nibbly food was also part of the deal, served by a couple of high school boys.

Our favourite reds (and we tried to stick to the local wines, not those from Margaret River or elsewhere in WA), were the Sunnyhurst 2004 Shiraz (gold medal), Killinchy 2005 Shiraz (silver) and our old favourite, the Two Tinsmiths 2004 and 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (silver).

I’ve never been to such a casual wine show! The idea of helping yourself went out the door 20+ years ago in Perth, and no doubt, over time as it gets bigger, there’ll be much more control in later years. But it will be nice to say “Remember when you could come in and have as much great wine as you wanted in 3 hours for $5?”

There were quite of lot of people there, though it really was a small gathering compared to other shows we’ve been to. And the really neat thing was that we saw some people we know from Perth (now living part time in Bridgetown), who introduced us to others who we’d heard of but not met, who still live in Perth but get down to Bridgetown most weekends. So that’s increased the network of those we know in the area.

After the wine show finished at 4:30pm we walked back across the road to the pub (how convenient is that!), and had dinner there later that evening, followed by an hour or two of playing Euchre sitting out on the old upstairs verandahs (3m wide!). It had been hot all day, and there was a great thunderstorm while we were playing cards – thunder, lightning, heavy rain – the works! It was great!

On Sunday morning we had a late breakfast (fully cooked brekky too!), then went down to the farmer’s markets to buy some produce. Not much was left, so we got what we could, then headed out of Bridgetown and back to Perth.

Well, they don’t call the South West Highway the Harvest Highway for nothing! It took us about 5-6 hours to get back… we stopped at Wattle Ridge Winery near Greenbushes to pick up some cleanskins (the cleanskins are their 2004 Two Tinsmiths Cabernet Sauvignon), at Donnybrook for more fresh produce, at the Brunswick EziWay for bread (though they were out, so we got family pies instead), at Wokalup for HaVe Cheese, at Harvey for a light lunch (like we needed it – NOT!) and a wander around the gardens and river walk at Stirling’s Cottage. And then back to Perth laden with too much food, a lot of fresh produce, some wine, and a very relaxed state of being.

Highly recommended.