Read our writer's views on this property below
Elspeth Callender is drawn into life in Beechworth.
People continue to be drawn to the historic town of Beechworth in Victoria's High Country like prospectors to a gold rush because, for starters, the place is downright gorgeous. In every direction from the gloriously well-preserved main drag of Ford Street are wide, leafy roads lined with charming heritage cottages. Belmont at Beechworth is one such cottage and situated less than two blocks back from Ford.
This single-storey 1895 miner's cottage has an exterior of painted blue timber decorated with white wrought-iron trim. The front porch overlooks a neat garden, the side is gravelled for off-street parking and the back deck and barbecue are fully open to the sun. Inside, original features such as sash windows, timber ceilings and wooden floorboards are preserved while all traces of pokiness have been renovated away. The back section of the house is an open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining area with antique and vintage furniture of wood and leather arranged on pale granite tiles.
My queen bedroom at the front of the house is identical to the one across the hall. The palette is mainly white with suspended down lights and glass shelving. The bed's plush pillow-top mattress is dressed in 1200-thread-count cotton sheets. Chocolates and port beside the bed are a very nice touch. The room's private bathroom has a double shower as well as a free-standing cast iron bath positioned beneath a chandelier. Hair and body lotions are provided, as are a hairdryer and hair straightener. Both the bathroom and bedroom have an open fireplace and flat-screen TV and there's climate control throughout the house. I hang out in a Belmont bathrobe while making use of the brand new washing machine and dryer, having come away without enough clean clothes.
It's a quiet neighbourhood that certainly doesn't make you feel unwelcome. The cottage encourages you to move in and put your feet up and I make good use of the wicker wingback on the front porch. On the first evening, I run a bath and finish a book as the sun goes down. It's too warm for a fire, but they're set and ready to light from April to November with supplies always available in case of a cold snap.
Belmont's kitchen is fully equipped with utensils, crockery, Miele appliances and basic cooking supplies, and there are herbs in the garden. Local coffee and instructions for the espresso machine are supplied, or there's a plunger. Buy some groceries at Goldfields (61 Ford Street) and cook up a storm. If a weekend away means a break from the kitchen wander up to the Provenance in the old bank building (theprovenance.com.au) or Gigi's for something more casual (gigisofbeechworth.com). Or arrange for local catering business North East Feast to deliver superb meals prepared with locally sourced produce to the cottage door (northeastfeast.com.au).
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
You'll never be bored in Beechworth. Along with the offerings of Ford Street, there's a farmers' market on the first Saturday of every month, nearby wineries, and festivals to co-ordinate your visit with. Belmont supplies bicycles, and riding around Beechworth really makes you feel like you're on holiday.
Private and inviting, Belmont draws you straight into the local lifestyle.
HOW TO GET THERE
Beechworth is about a three-hour drive north-east from Melbourne. Take the Hume Freeway (M31) and turn east onto Great Alpine Road (B500) at Wangaratta. After 7km, at Tarrawingee, take the Beechworth Wangaratta Road (C315).
Belmont at Beechworth, 7 Williams Street, Beechworth, is fully self-contained and accommodates up to four adults in two bedrooms; priced at $290 a bedroom a night Mon-Thurs with minimum one-night stay, and $320 a bedroom a night Fri-Sun with minimum two-night stay; pet friendly; not wheelchair accessible. Phone 0417 457 744, see belmontbeechworth.com.
The writer was a guest of Belmont at Beechworth.