Kicking my heels up in North-East Victoria
The first time I visited North-East Victoria, I called The Future Husband and told him that we were going to move there (he was bemused, to say the least).
I visited again this long weekend and the relationship has been consumated. I am head-over-heels in love … giddy, ‘look at the birds and the sky and the flowers,’ stupid in lurrrrve.
Rather than boring you all to death by telling you every single thing I did for the past 72 hours, I am going to hit you with the highlights:
1. Red Ramia Trading, Myrtleford
I don’t really like shopping in Australia because there’s no thrill to it. I love that feeling of finding something totally wacked-out that you can only get in some far distant corner of the world (ie not at Target). After all, who doesn’t need some traditional hair pom-poms for married Uros tribeswomen?
The good news for fellow sufferers of exotic shopping disease is that Red Ramia in Myrtleford has all the curios you could possibly ever want at very reasonable prices. Vintage kimonos, Moroccan ceramics, Indian and Chinese antiquities… hell, there’s even a woven camel wool yurt!
I was very lucky to escape financially solvent.
And when you’re all tuckered out from admiring beautiful objects, you can slump in the cafe for a traditional Lebanese feast, sip on a Frou-Frou Fruit Cordial spritzer and wallow in the bliss that accompanies a truly interesting shopping experience.
2. Benalla Gold Cup Races, Benalla
Country races have all the amusing elements of city races (aka girls in vajayjay-lenth dresses tottering around like drunken flamingos) but without the crowds. The bar was serving delicious Sam Miranda wine (and the line was blessedly short), the sun was shining and the horses? Well, my horses were losing but due to points a and b, I wasn’t really fussed about c.
3. Brown Brothers, Milawa
I was lucky enough to be invited to a ladies’ lunch with two of my favourite work/play friends, Michelle and Rachel at Brown Brothers in Milawa. In between plotting and scheming about how to rule the world, we enjoyed a flight of Brown Brothers Chardonnays, a Tempranillo, a Crouchen Riesling, a Prosecco and lots of share plates of yummy local produce like mixed olives, Milawa Chevre on a beetroot and ruby grapefruit salad, duck prosciutto and fennel salad, a chicken pithivier (small pie) and proscuitto-wrapped prawns on pumpkin, erm, fluffy stuff?
Dericiously good times in the company of two of the most delightful PR babes ever to walk the earth.
4. Wangaratta Gateway, Wangaratta (aka Wang)
While I didn’t stay here on this visit, I owe the Wangaratta Gateway a long overdue honourable mention from my last visit. Recently refurbished, this hotel has gargantuan rooms sporting luxurious linen, sexy bathrooms and cushy couches. The Atrium Restaurant has a wine list that makes most Sydney’s eateries look lazy and food is both sophisticated and hearty. I particularly loved the steak with a sturdy glass of Rutherglen Durif.
5. Essentials Magazine, Benalla
The whole reason I got to go to North East Victoria was to do some writing for my darling friend and Editor, Jamie Durrant of Essentials Magazine, a publication that I have read ardently for five years.
And guess what else? While Jamie and I were pulling dandelions out of his front lawn, we decided that in 2011 I would come on board as the Editor, with Jamie as my Managing Editor and Publisher.
So thank you Jamie and thank you Universe. You are making my dreams come true.
Now, can I please have a pet unicorn?