Any envious readers out there (“I’m so jealous of your Australian life!”) will be happy to know that even in Sydney, there is such a thing as going stir-crazy. The Winter months are still beautiful, many days sunny and mild, but Australia definitely does Summer best. Everyone is well-versed at al fresco dining and beach going, whereas during the colder months, there is an underlying anxiousness for the nonsense to end and for Summer to arrive again.
This Winter, I found myself feeling somewhat baffled about how to fill the colder weekends. Do I go Christmas shopping? No, because it’s July. Do I sit by a wood burning fire? No, because they are few and far between. Do I watch American football and eat chilli? No, for obvious reasons.
Instead of escaping North to the sun, Brian and I found ourselves craving a proper Winter’s day. We dressed in our warmest wool jumpers and boots and set out for Bowral, in the Southern Highlands, which offered the perfect Winter day trip to ease our stir-crazy blues.
While I am typically an itinerary-driven, snack-prepared traveler, this trip was much more spontaneous. With only a few recommended highlights to hit, our few expectations were far exceeded.
Midway through the trip, it was apparent that we were basically journeying through the Virginia of Australia. Besides the steering wheel being on the right (i.e. “wrong”) side, I felt as if I was driving down familiar highways complete with rolling farmland and blue mountains in the distance. I already liked what I saw!
Our first stop was Bespoke Letterpress, a cafe and couture paper company whose interior decor is as yummy as their pastries, which are as beautiful as their custom stationery. After snapping a few shameless Instagram photos (I had already posted the forbidden selfie, what did I have to lose), we were off to Dirty Jane’s.
If anyone has ever been to Black Dog Salvage in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, think of Dirty Jane’s as a close cousin. The grounds are just as eye catching as the inside, with beautiful greenery and potted trees surrounding the entrance. It was the perfect reminder that plants bring so much life and vibrancy to a home, whether inside or out.
Whenever I go antiquing, I like to highlight my favorite finds for readers. I think it’s helpful to others to see that these enormous warehouses are full of lovely treasures, and while sometimes overwhelming to navigate, the rewards are bountiful!
After nearly breaking a sweat pacing through the plethora of antique stands, it was time for lunch. Thank you thank you Venetia Farley for recommending perhaps my new favorite restaurant on the planet, Harry’s. Not only did Harry’s offer delicious dishes and a quaint setting, it had a WOOD. BURNING. FIREPLACE. My heart, that so craved the feeling of “true Winter,” jumped for joy. The smell took me back to lazy days at home curled up by a fire with a favorite book. The vibe oozed comfort and warmth and it couldn’t have been a better destination for our purpose of finding a taste of Virginia on this side of the world.
The epitome of cozy, classy, comfortable cafe.
Newly re-energized after that mound of gnocchi, we went back to hit the stands to collect our favorite finds. Living in a stark white modern apartment, we were long overdue for some gallery-wall style love. We ended up buying a few pieces that to this day make me happy every time I look at them!
Admittedly, Australia is a wonderful place to live year-round; I love the people, landscape, beaches, birds, markets, restaurants, galleries, shops, and overall lifestyle But this one quintessential Winter’s day was just what I needed to warm my Virginia-rooted soul. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a roaring fire, hearty meal, and good antiques to make you feel right at home!