It would be so easy to start this tale with the obligatory; Millthorpe, what a gorgeous and charming village it is. With its heritage listing making it a stylishly historic gem, it is, in my opinion, one of the jewels in the Central West NSW crown. But I have to say after my midweek visit to this little beauty, it is the citizens that make it such an inviting and delightful part of Australia.
So, with that I would like to introduce to you some of the beautiful people that embraced me like I know they will embrace you, should you choose to drop in.
Let’s start with the matriarchs of Millthorpe, the absolutely divine Clark sisters, Ada and Ruby. These two delightful humans have called Millthorpe home since 1994 and at the tender ages of 87 and 90 show no signs of slowing down their stimulating lives.
I was welcomed into their home and treated not only to entertaining stories from their travels all around the globe, but some delicious home-made cake and freshly brewed tea. Ada has been sharing her artistic flair with the world for many years and although big sister Ruby takes a somewhat back seat she also holds an artistic ability – as well as a wicked sense of humour. Do not miss out on popping in to see the girls when you visit. Open house is every Saturday from 9am – 5pm, otherwise by appointment on 0412 663 114 or visit www.adaclark.com
Another couple of local identities would have to be Russell and Charlie, who are also happy to invite you in, if not to their home, then definitely their garden. The boys are proud of what they have created around their historic splendour and are a big part of the Millthorpe Garden Ramble, which takes place early November every year. Properties in and around town are opened up to the public to come and peruse, and the village itself comes alive with music, crafts and plenty of good food and wine for ravenous ramblers. Visit www.millthorpevillage.com.au
Then we have some of the occupants of Victoria Street. There’s Jules at Old Bowerbird Wares with its eclectic collection of antique and bucolic merchandise. It’s a really adorable little venue which is matched by Jules herself. Drop in and check it out, there may just be something that you have been hunting for and the Bowerbird herself may just have it hidden away. Oh, and I must add that unlike the calls of the Bowerbird, Jules has an amazing operatic voice and if you’re as lucky as I was she may be warming up those golden tonsils on your visit! Visit www.facebook.com/bowerbirdoldwares/
Just across the road from Jules is Joey and her scrumptious little venture called ‘Le Billet de Boucher’ (The Butchers Block). It’s a little taste of France right here in the Central West of NSW. French Café by day and restaurant by night, with fresher than fresh ingredients to be enjoyed in the charming rustic surrounds, with a lovely alfresco garden to relax in through the warmer months, and log fire to warm you on those cooler days. Visit www.facebook.com/LeBillotdeBoucher/
A short stroll from Joey and you must pop in for a tipple and maybe one of the enticing salumi plates at The Slow Wine Co. This is where I met Terrey and his delightful daughter Jen who were equally welcoming and producing some absolutely outstanding wines. Loved a little taste of the Riesling with a few of the above aforementioned joined me for a little afternoon delight. Visit www.slowwineco.com.au
Opposite Terrey you will find Pattie McKenna and Millthorpe Providores. This lovely lady just always seemed to be smiling and had such a positive vibe going on. I guess that’s why her store is always well frequented and the place itself has a friendly feel about it. It’s full of delicious looking treats and apparently the best coffee in the village. You can also get your paws on small-goods such as bacon from nearby Trunkey Creek, Bills Beans, freshly baked breads and Huntley Berry Farm jams. Visit www.facebook.com/MillthorpeProvidore/
At the top of town, you may like to visit another cellar door where they are also kicking goals when it comes to mastering the grape. Angullong Cellar door sits just behind the top pub and Cynthia will gladly guide you through a tasting, while imparting her knowledge of the wines and the region. Visit www.angullong.com.au
Lunch with John Mason, President Millthorpe Village Committee was a total treat – not only do the owners of The Old Mill Café where we dined turn on an absolutely divine meal, John also regaled me with his total knowledge of Millthorpe and its current day event's, and also its brilliant history. The combination of chef Darren Tracey’s brilliant creations from the kitchen and his partner Stacey Ewin’s mind-blowing desserts it was a lunch to remember. Visit www.theoldmillcafe.com.au
Another local treat was delivered at dinner with an amazing meal hosted by the renowned chef Tony Worland at Tonic. There is a good reason that Tonic has been regularly awarded chefs hats during his 14 years at the helm. The best of the best local seasonal produce delivered in an imaginative and inspiring way that had me from the first bite. Tony also is just a great fella and is happy to engage with his guests. I loved that. Visit www.tonicmillthorpe.com.au
My accommodation was split between the historic and the current day offerings of the village. Rosebank which is owned by Richard and Jenny is the old Bank of NSW and sits proudly at the top of town. Not only does it have charming rooms that have that old-world charisma, the property also doubles as a gallery and is filled with many an engaging piece. The gardens are also a delight. Visit www.rosebankmillthorpe.com
At the other end of town, I had a totally restful night at Pym 23. Mary has nailed it with her accommodation here. All the mod cons are at hand but at the same time the property seems to ooze that country allure. I think it’s the combination of its garden setting with the buildings corrugated iron finishing’s and the fact that Mary herself just radiates that good old-fashioned country friendliness. Visit www.stayz.com.au/accommodation/nsw/explorer-country/millthorpe/182601
Oh, I must add that you have to visit the towns Bowlo and its unbelievable offerings at their Japanese Restaurant. It is as good as any you get in the big smoke. Also, if you love a little history then The Golden Memories Museum is a must. It’s not a little history, it’s a lot – and it is really engaging.
Well that’s just a smattering of the lovely folk that will make a trip to Millthorpe so memorable. I suggest you take a little midweek break there. You will be more than welcome!
Scott McRae was a guest of Destination NSW
Scott McRae is the host of ‘A Taste of Travel’ on the TEN/WIN Networks www.scottmcrae.com.au