Monday, April 8, 2013

Beechy Keen

Well Miss Rosanna is back from 5 glorious days spent in Beechworth.  Yes, after a similarly idyllic Easter break last year in Bright, Mr Rosanna and I decided to continue our northeastern adventure in this very beautiful part of Victoria.
Lake Sambell
The boys and I hired a cabin at Lake Sambell Caravan Park and I tell you - the serenity!  It was an extremely peaceful place to relax and unwind (after the madness of the Easter weekend which we missed) where we could watch the boys riding their bikes, playing in the playground or being towed around in a trailer on the back of the resident park quad bike every afternoon which was hilarious - a pied piper being followed by hordes of kids on their bikes or in the trailer.
Ford Street, Beechworth
If you're a foodie or a cyclist, then Beechworth is pure heaven.  I could only enviously contemplate lunch or dinner at some of the finer food establishments like the award-winning Provenance Restaurant, the Ox and Hound or the French-influenced Stanley Pub in nearby Stanley but even with kids, we managed to eat extremely well.  The pizzas at the Bridge Road Brewers were excellent and the boys loved the outdoor playground and Gundowring icecream.  I'm not even a drinker but the sampling beers which came out in their own special wooden tray looked mighty impressive.  Mr Rosanna quite liked their pale ale and we loved sitting outside soaking up the Autumn sunshine in front of the brewery.
Gorge Scenic Drive - View from the peak
We also had another excellent dinner out at Tanswell's Commercial Hotel (the duck special was exactly that) although the service was a little slow due to understaffing.  On our last night, we got designer fish and chips from the Aging Frog Fish Bar - a family box of battered blue grenadier, prawns, calamari, chips and tartare sauce which was definitely a cut above our usual Friday night takeaway fare - followed by a campfire outside looking at the stars and being visited by friendly possums looking for food.  While we didn't have time to venture out of town, both the Larder and Beechworth Provender also looked excellent for picking up local goodies for an outdoor picnic.  The kids loved the pies and pastries from the ubiquitous Beechworth Bakery (now located in many other regional hot spots) and the old style Beechworth Sweet Company.
Gravestones - Chinese miners
There were also some great retail shops on offer including Beechworth Honey, interesting homewares shops in Frances Pilley (also in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and Daylesford) which sells French Syrian Tade soaps, Divine Linen and Ikoleji.  If your budget allows, Dalcheri and Ardent Alpaca sell beautiful, but expensive, knitwear which is a must if you live somewhere that gets as cold as Beechworth at night and during winter.  There was also a great little vintage shop near the Brewery on the corner of the lane way and a couple of antique shops off the main streets which were worth a fossick.
Chinese Burning Towers - Beechworth Public Cemetery
Beechworth is a former gold mining town and while time, and the age of my boys, didn't really allow for any tours of the historic cultural precinct full of beautiful buildings built from granite (which looked like sandstone) - we did manage a ride on horse and cart as well as a walk through both the Beechworth Public Cemetery (where 2000 Chinese are buried and where the majestic Chinese Burning Towers are also located) and the more recently built (along Feng Shui principles!) Chinese Gardens near the cycling trail.  We also took the car along the Gorge Scenic Drive which made for some pretty spectacular scenery from the peak.
Beechworth rail trail
The final highlight was attending the Beechworth Farmers Market located high on the hill at the Christ Church on Ford Street - armed with takeaway coffees from Blynzz cafe, we were entertained by the ukulele band and talked to the many friendly locals buying chickens, ducks, flowers, fruit and vegetables, gourmet food and hand-made toys.  We didn't want to leave!  And I have a feeling we'll be back for more at some future stage.  For the moment, it's back to life here in leafy Rosanna.

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