Whyte & Whitlock sell Terminus in favour of Yarra Glen Grand

Very sad news. The owners of The Terminus have sold, and have bought the Yarra Glen Grand from a guy who was born in it, and whose family has been running it for 77 years. Judging by the photo of the Grand, the pair must have grown up, and done well out of The Terminus too. They should give the Healesville Hotel a run for its money. If you haven’t been to the Terminus’s restaurant, better go this month, as I heard that the new peoples were moving in this month. It is a splendid restaurant, and one of its dishes made it into John Lethlean’s top 10 dining moments in the Melbourne Magazine recently. Previous posts about The Terminus are here. Continue reading “Whyte & Whitlock sell Terminus in favour of Yarra Glen Grand”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; tales of the outback

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and warn you that this post has nothing to do with Abbotsford; it just explains the absence of blogging recently. I went to Broken Hill and Mildura from Boxing Day for a few days (and, on the way between the two, to Dareton, where I snapped the pictured marvel). How we thought we could fit in a 5 course dinner at Stefano’s the day after Christmas Day (and two days after my mother’s Christmas Eve dinner) is a mystery. But the food was superb while I could still fit it in.

In Broken Hill, I went to Bell’s Milk Bar, twice, and the second time was able to have an apricot fizz. That involved apricot syrup manufactured on the premises to a secret recipe from the 1950s, vanilla ice cream, soda water, and ice. It was good, in the Hemingway usage of that expression. I convinced the dreadlocked vixen formerly of Ballarat behind the counter to sell us some ice cream to have with the quandong pie we bought at the Silverton Tea Rooms. She said that after two years, she was still regarded by the locals as being “from away”. Continue reading “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; tales of the outback”

Staying in country pubs (I knew the discipline would slip sooner or later)

Henceforth, this is no longer a blog about Abbotsford as I choose to define Abbotsford. It is about that and country pubs, in particular those with old fashioned accommodation still operational (endangered species). There is a Flickr group on the subject (a future project of mine) but precious little else. If you know any other than Jeparit’s Hindmarsh Hotel, Dimboola’s Victoria Hotel, and Queenscliff’s Royal Hotel where you might enthuse about staying, let me know. (I bought Country Pubs of Victoria at Grub St Bookshop yesterday before heading over to the John Wren exhibition at the Racing Museum in Federation Square, of which much more anon.)

I went to Beechworth today and took the Canondale for a spin on the rail trail, discovering in the process the Commercial Hotel, just shy of 150 years old, and apparently in good hands. It is pictured, 3 times (the fourth is a gorgeous house in Beechworth). The pub’s proprietor fellow told me that I wouldn’t find too many hotels in Victoria in as original a condition as this one, and I believed him. It is a beautiful place — Ned Kelly used to drink there — and you can get a smallish simple clean rennovated double room containing a washbasin and a new bed — nothing else — for $65 a night (3 nights for the price of two) or bed, breakfast and 2 course dinner and champagne for $85 a couple, a bloody good deal.

Abbotsford House, Sir Walter Scott’s place in Scotland

I assume without quite knowing that Abbotsford was named after this place, Sir Walter Scott’s last home, Abbotsford House, in Scotland. Other Abbotsfords are to be found in Sydney, Dunedin, Johanasburg, British Columbia, and Wisconsin. That great hotel, the Rob Roy, may take its name from Scott’s novel of the same name. I just discovered the Rob Roy does accommodation from $25 a night with half-priced meals from the kitchen thrown in.

I went for a drive to Jeparit

It is true that this post has nothing to do with Abbotsford, except that while I was sitting in Horsham’s Cafe Bagdad a suspected Canadian climber was extolling the virtues of our suburb to his mate, but I went for a drive to Jeparit via Nhill, Dimboola, Mt Arapiles and Horsham. Sadly, our energy flagged before we got to Antwerp or Rainbow. The idea was to get beyond the trappings of suburbia which in my book ends around Avoca and into the “real country” which I was sure was out there, back in the comforting world of plump bakery girls making up white bread salad sandwiches and willingly buttering your coffee scroll, with butter (tick), monuments to the Great War (tick), corellas (tick), proper gum trees (tick), quaint botanical gardens (tick), characterful country pubs with genial cockies propping up the bar (see below) serving up pots of Carlton Draught for $1.65 (nope, $3) and, most importantly in this crazy world of $100 a night motel rooms, charming simple clean upstairs accommodation for $35 a night (see below). The photos of many details of countrytownness are here. Continue reading “I went for a drive to Jeparit”

how to find accommodation

Here is a helpful tip. It has nothing to do with Abbotsford, so let me tell you this first. A Rough Guide author I met at a party told me that the Abbotsford Inn (now the City Edge Motel) in Langridge St, far too close to Hoddle St and our only non-pub accommodation as far as I know, was one of the worst hotels he had ever stayed in. He had just finished a guide on a South East Asian country. The internet, where he got onto the accommodation, suggests they charge $145 a night on weekends.

Ah the hazards of choosing hotels from afar. You go with the place that sounds brilliant in the 18 month old Lonely Planet only to find them resting heavily on their laurels, or to find that you are at a squat with a check-in desk also named the Original Old Yogi Inn which pays the rickshaw twice the commission of the original Original Old Yogi Inn: the Lonely Planet Effect. So you turn to the internet in search of that overlooked little gem. Continue reading “how to find accommodation”