As I sit here on my couch at home, contemplating the current state of the world and the madness still surrounding the pandemic – I have to admit I am struggling to get my mind to a state that’s ready to write and conclude the past month or so. The simple reason being, it’s hard to believe that we have had the freedom to enjoy a long weekend away at the Yarra Valley early December for our anniversary / my birthday and then again a full week of camping at Beechworth after Christmas. Lockdowns haven’t been re-imposed, after all the government PROMISED us that lockdowns will no longer be a thing, and that we’ve put all that behind us.. but with so many positive cases, and so many hospitality venues being forced to temporarily close due to staff shortages, this all feels worse than lockdown.
But, I am not here to ponder on the madness, nor am I here to indulge in sad vibes. Good vibes only. For now, we are still open. For now, we are still free to travel and go on vacations (even overseas) and dine in at restaurants (even though density limits have just been re-introduced yesterday). For now, we can still look forward to making plans to travel interstate, organizing gatherings and parties etc. Even with the alarmingly raising rate of infections across the country, the absolute shortage of rapid test kits, the long queues at testing sites, the drama surrounding a particular world tennis player… we still seemingly have access to “normal” experiences, for now. We all know too well by now that this can all change in a blink of an eye, so I wouldn’t really count on anything that’s planned further ahead than within the next few days. Just saying.
I guess I should begin by doing a wrap-up of our anniversary and birthday trip to the Yarra Valley. This post will only be dedicated to the accommodation place we stayed at, and then I will go into detailing the places we visited in subsequent posts. We came across this place called Chestnut Glade in Narbethong, Yarra Valley via booking.com. At the time of booking, which was sometime during our last lockdown and at least three months away from December – it seemed like one of the rare few places that was still available, and looked really good and still reasonably affordable at approx. $260 per night. We thought it was worth booking, even with the risk of lockdown being extended etc. Thankfully, booking.com offered Free Cancellation up to the week before the actual trip so we had the option to cancel if we had to.
It was a private property with 4 self-contained cottages nestled amongst chestnut trees. Location-wise, it was close enough to the popular Yarra Valley tourist town, Healesville (approx. 15 mins drive down the Black Spur) which we spent a couple of days wining and dining during our trip. On the other side of the Black Spur, about 10 mins away was Marysville. So the location wasn’t too far from civilisation. It felt very secluded and we had plenty of peace and quiet, but we were also close enough to visit some interesting shops and places for day time activities.
We stayed at Chestnut Glade’s “Nanking” cottage from the 9th – 12th December for three nights. The place is advertised as pet-friendly – and I did notice an outdoor gated fenced area with a kennel so I suppose it’s specifically, dog friendly. We stayed in a very comfortable one-bedroom cottage, with a fancy double spa in the bathroom overlooking a pretty little Japanese garden. This gorgeous Japanese-themed cottage is very clean and cosy, especially with the fireplace on, and has everything we need. By the time I started posting pictures of Instagram and friends have enquired on their availability, turns out they were all booked out until the end of March. Lucky we booked nice and early and got in!
On our last night here, we decided to stay in and order a food platter provided by the accommodation. So, we ordered the $120 BBQ platter for two and were truly spoilt by the amazingly generous portions and selection of goodies. We had more than enough meat and seafood for two, plus cheeses, bread, salad, snacks, condiments and dessert.
After the first couple of indulgent days of dining out and tastings, it was good to end our trip on a quiet note and staying in. More details on the places we visited around the area will be covered in the next few posts.