I am still very relaxed from my week spent in the Midlands (long may it last) and I was very blessed to be able to return to Midlands Saddle & Trout again this year. Last year I had a wonderful time with my Mother and Sister exploring new places along the Midlands Meander. You can read about our 2017 adventures here and here. Unfortunately my Sister could not join us this year due to family commitments.
We drove up on Monday 4 June and made a stop in Hilton to look at the Hilton SPCA and then to have coffee at Ground Coffee House. We always try to stop over at the Hilton SPCA when driving to the Midlands or Drakensberg. I was very pleased to discover a pile of Ideas magazines for my sister but didn’t find anything for myself this time. I follow Ground Coffee House on Instagram and I have had their coffee through the Discover Great Coffee Club, but this was the first time I had visited the shop. Such a lovely little shop and it was busy! People popping in for takeaway coffee, people having meetings, people working on laptops and people just sitting and enjoying the sun with a cup of coffee (Mom and I). We enjoyed cappuccinos and freshly made lemon poppy seed muffins (divine). I bought two bags of coffee beans, their Cerrado and Mutana beans. It was so relaxing drinking coffee whilst enjoying the warm Winter sun.
After Ground Coffee House we stopped in Merrivale to look at Stanley’s Trading Co. (I found a beautiful Corningware dish here before) and then visited the Merrivale SPCA. Nothing to buy this time so we got back on the freeway to Mooi River.
It was just after 3pm when we arrived at Midlands Saddle & Trout. After a quick check in we had a delicious cup of butternut soup that was available for guests at reception. We then drove to our unit and unpacked our food and clothes. The units are all self-catering but there is a restaurant on site if you don’t feel like cooking. I also placed the wood in the fire place so that it was ready for the evening fire.
After wrapping up warmly we took a walk to the restaurant so that we could have a cappuccino. Midlands Saddle & Trout restaurant is supplied by Skyline Coffee. We relaxed on comfortable chairs in the corner of the room and slowly sipped our cappuccinos.
We then made our way back to our unit and had a relaxing evening watching TV and enjoying the warmth of the fire.
The best thing about staying at Midlands Saddle & Trout are the glorious sunrises. Sitting outside on the veranda wrapped in a warm blanket and clutching a mug of coffee while waiting for the sun to appear on the horizon is magical. Tuesday’s sunrise was over a valley completely covered in mist.
We had to wait for the mist to clear before we could drive through Mooi River and then onto Nottingham Road. First visit of Tuesday was to The Collective, which is a fascinating second hand/vintage store come coffee shop at the Junction in Nottingham Road. We spent at least a half an hour looking at all the furniture and other bric a brac. I bought a Consol glass jar filled with coffee beans before we left.
Then we drove down to Steampunk coffee in Lion’s River. My husband’s request was for a large bag of their coffee beans. I bought 1,5kg of their Zephyr blend and two cappuccinos which we enjoyed drinking whilst people watching.
Then it was a short drive to Piggly Wiggly. I bought 2 x room sprays from The Lavender Co., 2 x bottles of chilli sauce (for husband) from The Pantry, a humerous book from Huddy’s Books and then went to collect the leather knife roll that I won through Cookin about a month ago. If you have never visited Piggly Wiggly before, you must add them to your list for the Midlands Meander.
By this time we were feeling rather hungry and our choice for lunch was at the Bistro at the beautiful Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. It was so hard trying to decide what we would like to eat. I was in a pasta mood so I finally decided on Pulled Lamb Tagliatelle and Mom was in a fish mood and she decided to order the Fish of the Day which was Sole. As always the dishes were beautifully presented and we expressed our appreciation of the flavours with lots of oohs and aahs. Decisions, decisions for dessert…….. Trio of Homemade Ice Cream for Mom and Coconut Tuile with Banana Mousse for me – DIVINE!
It was now late afternoon so we headed back to our cosy unit at Midlands Saddle & Trout. We managed to get back before the sun set, so we took a walk down to the stables to see the horses.
Wednesday morning sunrise – only half the valley was misty.
After waiting for the mist to clear from the valley we again drove the back route to reach Nottingham Road. First on our list was a visit to the newly opened Midlands branch of Craig Charity’s Lineage Coffee. What a fabulous building and sweet little centre with some very interesting shops. The centre has been there for many years but the Lineage Coffee building is new and the centre has been rebranded as Coffee & Life. I was surprised to find Craig there and it was great to have a short chat with him. We found a comfortable couch and enjoyed our superb cappuccinos made by Mfana who is now based at the new shop.
We took a walk around the centre after our coffee and looked in Lime & Roses and then a stationery shop called Stationery 4u. I bought some foldback clips that I needed for my Midoris.
I only planned for us to have coffee and blueberry cheesecake (signature dish) at Blueberry Cafe but by the time we reached the cafe we were feeling very hungry. We were both very keen to have the soup but were extremely disappointed to find that the menu had been changed and there was no more soup! We settled on toasted chicken & mayonnaise sandwiches and they were delicious. The blueberry cheesecake was divine as always and the cafe is such a lovely place to sit and enjoy the scenery.
I have always driven past Fordoun Hotel & Spa, but not this time. We decided to to go have a look before heading back to Midlands Saddle & Trout. The property used to be a Dairy – the reception and restaurant was the managers house and the dairy itself was converted into an indoor heated swimming pool. We were also given a guided tour of their incredible looking Spa. All the buildings have beautiful stonework. Fordoun is so tranquil and peaceful and I just love the avenue of trees when you enter and exit the property.
Thursday morning sunrise with no mist but a lot of frost.
We decided to spend the day at Midlands Saddle & Trout and we walked over to the shop just before 10am so that I could pay for a horse ride for 12pm. After paying we went over to the restaurant for tea/coffee and biscuits. So relaxing to sit outside in the warm Winter sun. Then back to the unit so that I could change for riding. I was given a beautiful big horse called Commando to ride. He was big because he was a Thoroughbred x Clydesdale. My guide was Nathi and he told me that the resort has 42 horses and they even train horses for other resorts. Definitely the best looking horses that I have ever seen at any resort.
Our final sunrise on Friday morning. No mist again but there was a bit of frost.
We packed up, checked out (very sadly) and got straight on the freeway, as we had a few more stops to make before heading home. We took the Curry’s Post turn off and drove past Terbodore and then parked outside the little church of St. Paul’s.
After taking a walk around the church (hoping one day that we can see inside) we drove just down the road to the Old Halliwell Country Inn. Mom had never visited before but I had been there on a snow day with the family a few years ago. We sat on the veranda and enjoyed divine scones with jam and cream, a cappuccino (for me) and Earl Grey tea (for Mom).
So ended our fabulous 2018 Midlands Meander. Hopefully there will be another one in 2019.