Having recently returned back from a weekend away in Barrydale with my mom, (not forgetting our two Yorkshire terriers that accompanied us) I thought I would share some of Barrydale’s best stops. Barrydale is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cape Town. Its a small farming village situated between the Overberg region and the Klein Karoo. Its not a very big town in comparison to other “dorps” we have been too. However the scenery of the mountains certainly creates a tranquil setting. A perfect way to settle into the weekend.
Mom & I took a leisurely drive through from Cape Town, exploring all the farm stalls en route, a tradition I seem to have to do whenever I do road trips. I simply can’t help myself! We went through the Tradouw Pass (which means Women’s Path in the old Khoi language) before entering Barrydale. This 17 kilometer drive through an altitude range of 219 meters meanders through some of the most beautiful & rugged mountain scenery on offer in the Langeberg. This pass is undoubtedly in the Top 20 tarred passes in the Western Cape on an overall rating. The pass joins the towns of Barrydale and Swellendam and was originally built by Thomas Bain. Shortly after exiting this beautiful pass we arrived at our accommodation for the weekend, Sandy’s Place (http://www.sandysplace.co.za/). It is pet friendly which of course was our main concern since we were traveling with our dogs Jack & Zoe. It has pleasant rooms with nice” braaiing” facilities outside as well as an adjacent garden which Zoe & Jack could wonder through. Hosts Johan & Sterna van Eeden do their utmost in making sure your stay is a great one & are very hospitable and welcoming. It was pouring with rain upon our arrival, so our plan of having a braai quickly changed & turned into dining out at the Karoo Art Hotel, 1km away from where we were staying. It is a very quirky, modern and art filled hotel (https://karooarthotel.co.za/). Their award-winning restaurant Karoo Grill certainly proved to us why it has won so many awards over the years. Their food simply delicious. A perfect setting especially for mom as she is an avid lover of painting & art herself. The art made for great dinner conversations in the restaurant as we heard various tables chatting about the beautiful art that surrounded them. The emphasis in this restaurant is very much on South African traditional food, particularly on Karoo dishes. I definitely could recommend this as a great dining stop!
On Saturday morning the clouds had cleared and the beaming sun was out. We were smiling. So we browsed around the main street, which I may add isn’t a very long street at all! All the shops were dog friendly and loved Jack & Zoe popping in. One of the interesting shops we stopped in at was Barrydale weavers. Where they make all sorts of items from hand towel, to bath towels & mats. What took my fascination was the lady pictured below who was clearly making a mat & how skilled she was at working the line of thread behind her with the turning of the weaving rack. (She worked on this piece the entire time while we were in Barrydale).
It was a very chilled day & I think we were just enjoying the sunshine along with the fact that it wasn’t raining. Absolute bliss! Once we had browsed the shops that were open we decided to drive a little bit out of Barrydale heading toward Montagu direction. As you leave Barrydale you pass Barrydale Cellars which we stopped in at very briefly. They are very much brandy oriented, very lovely, however Mom was looking for some wines to take home & sample.
A fantastic winery with not only great clean tasting wines but it is also beautifully laid out & decorated is Joubert – Tradouw Vineyards (http://www.joubert-tradauw.com/) which in my opinion is a definite stop even if you do not buy anything, just to experience a taste of what wine making is about, seeing the barrels in dark cool rooms simply made my experience there a very personal & real one! After tasting & buying a few wine bottles at the various wineries along this route, we decided that it would be a good idea to turn around & head back before we literally end up in Montagu.
Magpie Art Collection (http://magpieartcollective.com/) is another interesting stop not only if you are interested in art but if you like to see items being reused & recycled. As this is exactly what the artists at Magpie do, they take the residents trash & simply turn it into art, whether it be light fitting decorations, chandeliers, bird mobiles & chairs just to name a few. You immediately feel immersed in the huge amounts of creativity that flow through their exhibition room. It really is fantastic to see what you able to do with a little bit of creativity and flair.
The final stop on my brief Barrydale weekend with you would have to be the much talked about Diesel & Creme (http://dieselandcreme.co.za/). Boy O’ Boy was it a delicious treat for Mom & I, certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry that is for sure. We had walked everywhere the entire day to make sure our tummies were empty for the tasty surprise that awaited us as Diesel & Creme. Mom ordered “Morning Glory” (coffee & espresso milkshake) while I ordered Peppermint Crisp for a change as being a creature of habit I generally always go for something chocolate. Surrounded by a fabulous atmosphere we were silent whilst sipping away at our milkshakes!
The decor certainly keeps you entertained with a mix of old & new, it almost takes you right back to your childhood. Only happy memories at Diesel & Creme. A great way to end the weekend.
Bye for now ….Fiona
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