Bright: 6 Great Moments

The stems of the Himalayan cherry glow like a shiny copper pipe. Beautiful – and, according to Chinese legend, lucky . It must be true.  We rubbed those shiny stems in a garden in Bright and had a perfect weather, glorious scenery and a great fun group. Here are a few of my highlights.

1. Those leaves!

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The trees were magnificent. Along the roads and rivers, in the parks and in the gardens, red, gold, crimson and orange leaves glowed, the colours intensified by the long dry season. The view here is across Les and Fran Butler’s garden from underneath an arbour of wisteria, which is supported by an old Hills Hoist. The Butlers have an informal, woodland-style garden, packed with fascinating plants, including that lucky Himalayan cherry.  Les told us he and Fran had moved to Bright for a bit more peace when the crowds and traffic in Orange became too much. Those of us from Sydney were a bit surprised by the idea of Orange being part of the ratrace, but like Les we too fell for the serenity of Bright.

2. Breakfast at Ginger Baker

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Photo: Robin Powell

Our days were bright and warm and so sunny the leaves lit up as if they had their own internal power source. Mornings were brisk, and just once, misty. I loved our early morning wander  in that fresh air, over Morses Creek to breakfast at Ginger Baker. This very cool cafe seems to have been transported straight from the hip laneways of Melbourne to the riverside at Bright.  Everything on the menu looked good – the blueberry hotcakes, corn fitters with avocado salsa, poached pears with yoghurt and homemade baked beans. I thought two mornings would give me two options but my scrambled eggs with baked beans on the side were so delicious I lined up for exactly the same the next day.

3. The spirit of the Bright Autumn Festival

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Photo: Robin Powell

What’s not to love! Youth ambassadors beaming and waving from the top of open convertibles, a brass band in silly hats, a bagpipe band in kilts, the local doctors and nurses acting out a medical spoof on the flat back of a truck and school floats packed with kids thrilled to have an audience cheering them down the main street.

4. Lunch at Waddingtons

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Photo: Robin Powell

Jan Waddington’s restaurant looks out over the beautiful Kiewa valley. The whole valley is heritage listed so there are no overhead power lines and no pine plantations marring the views of lush dairy country and towering mountains. I thought we’d take a drive by Gundowring farm, home of the country’s multi-award-winning ice cream, which I remembered as being just across the road from Waddingtons. Turns out it’s just across the valley not across the road, so we had a lovely drive through spectacular country, missed the farm, but did taste its famous product, served with red wine-poached pear and a spiced tuile for dessert. But first there was this – lamb loin and sweet potato crisps piled on a spinach and fetta tart. Delicious.

5. Morning tea in Avenel

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Photo: Robin Powell

Homemade sponges and oven-fresh scones filled with strawberries and cream: morning tea at Harvest Home Hotel in Avenel.  We’d said goodbye to the luxury of Lindenwarrah, farewelled one of our party, Marie, at Benalla and were on our way home – but there was one last treat.  And it was a beauty. Our hosts Damien and Sonia are doing a lovely job of restoring the 1870 house and its garden. They have great bones to work with  – a lovely big fireplace, gorgeous pressed tin ceilings in the bar and the building’s history as private home, inn, and general store. And if Sonia’s sponge is anything to go by, the project will be a great success.

6. The people

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Photo: Robin Powell

 It was the people we met – both in the group and with the group – that made our few days so special. Here we all are in the garden of Nola Woods. That’s Nola in the front with the envelope, and her fellow Bright Garden Club members in the background, working on the Club’s float for the parade.

These are a few of my favourite moments. (And yes, when I cast my eye back over what I have written, I’m struck by how much food gets mentioned!)

What about you? Add a comment and tell us what stories you’re sharing with your friends and family.

 

Comments (5)

  1. And I didn’t even mention the drinks! My favourites: all the King Valley proseccos I tried; the pale ale at Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth; and Woody’s Amontillado sherry, which Elizabeth Morris introduced us to when she led us through a guided sherry tasting at Pennyweight Winery. Yum.

  2. Congratulations Robin for a fantastic autumn tour through the magnificent region of Bright and Beechworth. We are so thrilled to have you on our Ross Tours Team. Wish I could have been there with you to enjoy the horticultural and culinary delights of this glorious corner of Australia.

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