Our other visitors guides
Lots to do now that the weather is reasonable! Perfect for walking are the Hills District Walks -- our favourite is Heritage Park the site of the former Convict Farm established in 1801 and scene of the Rebellion of 1804. A children’s playground, vast open space, interpretive signage about the park’s historical past, seating and a barbecue make Heritage Park perfect for all ages.
Dahlias in Mount Tomah's Botanic Gardens
As leaves begin to turn, a day trip to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah is the ticket. Dahlias, now in bloom through late April are considered one of the most spectacular garden flowers because of their unbelievable variety. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah has a dazzling collection in full bloom until the end of April.
On a mountain trip, we always plan a stop at the Bilpin Cellar Door (2369 Bells Line of Road which is open daily (10am-4pm) where tasting are de rigueur and coffee is always available. 02 4567 0704
Set in a young apple orchard, Bilpin Cider Cellar Door steps back to earlier day where weekends were for families, car trips, blankets and hampers of tasty treats.
Set in the small historic village of Bilpin, the ambience of this open-air tasting room is that of farming at the turn of the 19th century. Large and small farming tools are on display alongside locally produced honey from Bilpin Bush honey and seasonal fruit from Pine Crest Orchard. When available fruit and vegetables grown on the farm of Bilpin Cider.
Standing outside on the tasting room deck, our eye is drawn to huge leafy trees each with a massive canopy, each providing perfect shelter from the sun. A large swathe of green lawn, open for as far as the eye can see, is perfect for seating and enjoying a family hamper. Bilpin Cider will provide a gourmet picnic and a blanket at a moment's notice, or if you are the 'organised type,' please call ahead.
Children can wander through the farm, engage with the animals (sheep and alpaca). A jumping castle was on back order when we visited, and we heard rumours that a badminton court was soon to appear.
We have talked about the ambience and the perks, but we must not overlook the succulent Bilpin ciders available for tasting (and purchase): Archibald Cloudy Apple, Blush Pink Lady, Pear and Original Cider. For you 'designated drivers,' Bilpin Non-Alcoholic made from Granny Smiths, Pink Lady and Red Delicious is a treat!
Four alcoholic varieties and one without fermentation are available for tasting and, of course, for purchase. The Bilpin Original Cider (non-alcoholic) is a winner. As the 'designated driver' of our group, we are allowed only the non-alcoholic tasting. We attest to its perfect balance — neither too sweet nor too dry — perfect for our palate!
Sample the flagship product, Bilpin Original Cider. Taste the sweet Bilpin Blush or dry Bilpin Archibald Cloudy Apple and you have sampled the primary product line.
However, if your palate tends toward dry, the Bilpin Pear is drier rather than sweeter and is 4.5%ABV. Moving up the alcohol content, the Bilpin Archibald Extra Brut is 9% ABV and sold in a 750ml bottled — dry and 'with a kick like a camel'(or the alpaca above) the Bilpin Brut is perfect to share at that next party.
A day in The Hawkesbury or The Hills is a terrific way to relax in the company of Mother Nature. These outings should be at the top of your 'to do' list!
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A Farm and a Gallery have something in common -- the best of local. Our story on the Ferry Artists Gallery doesn't have a happy ending. . . well, not at this point. The Gallery must move from its current location in Wisemans Ferry Centre in less than 30 days. . . it is a matter of dollars and space. The space has enough room for 2 shops and the owner has graciously underwritten the rent rate for a couple of years. We understand the need from an owner's perspective, yet, we mourn the fate of a lovely art gallery that represents and exhibits the best of local artists and artisans. We hope a different solution is possible.
Without art, music, poetry and love, what remains? a void or a vacuum.
Rouse Hill Farm Autumn Festival
We're biased, we admit but this is our favourite food festival throughout Western Sydney. The artisans and growers bring the best of the best and the setting can't be beat -- it's a Farm! The event is well organized, even when rain has visited the night before and yes, even just an hour before opening at 9 am. Hobbling with a torn minisus a couple of years back, didn't stop us from attending. Golf cart transportation 'carted' us to the top of the hill where we sipped fabulous hot coffee while sitting on bales of hay and listened to several artisan lectures.
Food choices were numerous and delicious -- we seem to recall the organizers provided an ATM for those of us without cash! Jams, jellies, oils and vinegards were among the packaged items for purchase. But it was the fresh veggies and cheeses that captured our attention. Best to come early as these are quickly grabbed up.
From the Media Release:"With over 20 stalls from jams to relishes, shrubs and ciders, fresh produce, cured meats, artisan breads and delicious cheeses, visitors can meet the producers and hear about their quest to produce the very best handcrafted, locally grown foods through embracing sustainable practices and reviving traditional preparation and preserving methods."
For kids: entertainment includes butter making classes in the 1888 schoolhouse and gardening workshops at the potting shed, a range of craft activities inspired by items from Sydney Living Museums collection as well as the opportunity to help our farmer feed the cows at the Windsor Road paddock.
FOR LOVERS OF ART: WISEMANS FERRY ARTIST GALLERY OPENS WITH ITS AUTUMN EXHIBITION ON SATURDAY, 23 MARCH, 5-7pm at the Gallery in Wisemans Ferry.
In charming Wisemans Ferry village
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