Read our writer's views on this property below
Bruce Elder is perfectly positioned for exploration at a retreat in the wild region beyond the Blue Mountains.
'Bed and breakfast" has become a wonderfully imprecise term. Once upon a time it was literally a bed in someone's home, usually in a spare room or one vacated by absent family members, accompanied by breakfast with the family - a very cheap accommodation option.
Today it can be anything from that old style of family intimacy to upmarket detached accommodation with the ingredients for breakfast left in the fridge.
Mt Haven B&B, owned and run by Gloria and Garry Summers, tends towards the old-style bed- and-breakfast arrangement. Located at Meadow Flat, between Lithgow and Bathurst, their establishment has three guest rooms, each with en suite, that are part of the family home.
The guest rooms share a private lounge room, and a substantial Aussie breakfast is served in a large, communal lounge-dining room located between the Summers's residential area and the guest wing.
Although the house was built as recently as 2001, it has a faux sandstone facade that gives it a historical feel. The rooms are spacious, cool and elegant with iron-post queen-sized beds and large en suites with antique basins and particularly large showers. The adjoining lounge area has a relaxed feel with a floral couch, large television and access to a patio where breakfast can be enjoyed in fine weather.
While guests have their own private space, the shared lounge-television area makes the place attractive for two couples planning a weekend together. The lounge and bedroom area can be closed off from the rest of the house; the breakfast area and the kitchen are used by the hosts and their guests.
In strategic spots in the home's extensive gardens are examples of Gloria's work: tile-mosaic tables, a tile-mosaic ball perched on top of a tree stump, statues beneath gum trees and a beautiful wall-glass mosaic of a mermaid. They contribute to the ambience of a place that is far enough from main roads so all you hear are the sounds of the bush birds and nearby farmyard animals.
Set on two hectares, Mount Haven makes a virtue of its rural setting, offering accommodation for dogs, horses and their owners. The B&B has a fully fenced 4000-square-metre garden, dedicated horse paddocks and a number of riding and cycling trails close by. However, they don't have horses for hire.
Having settled in, we ask Garry where we can get an evening meal. He suggests the old Tarana Hotel, located in the village of the same name, about a 10-minute drive away. It's a typical country pub with a typical country-pub menu: "fish, chips & salad", "seafood basket, chips & salad", "prawn cutlets, chips & salad", "chicken schnitzel, chips & salad", "fillet, chips & salad", "rump, chips & salad" and "T-bone" with, no prizes for guessing, "chips & salad", though there are "vegetables available after 6pm".
The surrounding area is ripe for exploration. Bathurst is only 28 kilometres to the west and has fine dining at 9inety 2wo and Cobblestone Lane - both are listed in this year's Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. There's an excellent Cobb & Co display, including a restored Cobb & Co coach, at the city's impressive visitor information centre and easy access to the charming, historical towns of Rockley and Millthorpe.
The Jenolan Caves are 60 kilometres away via the small town of Oberon. Kanangra Walls, with views across to such magically named places as Mount High and Mighty, Mount Stormbreaker and Mount Cloudmaker (surely the finest views anywhere in the Blue Mountains), is 72 kilometres away, also via Oberon.
To the north is the Wolgan Valley and the shale-oil ghost town of Newnes, the sandstone cliffs of the Garden of Stone National Park and the new, five-star Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, which is an easy, if winding, 70-kilometre drive.
The beauty of Mt Haven B&B is its location at the centre of the wild region beyond Lithgow, Bathurst and Oberon.
These are the options: simply relax in the home's covered courtyard and absorb the peaceful seclusion of the bush, take extended bushwalks, go cycling or riding (if you can BYO horse) or spend a week at the bed and breakfast and each day head in a different direction - to caves, sheer sandstone cliffs, mountains and towns full of history and character.
Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.
Mt Haven B&B
Address 41 Mt Haven Way, Meadow Flat.
The verdict A peaceful retreat in quiet bushland just beyond the Blue Mountains.
Price Rooms from $90 for a single and $120 for a double, which includes a substantial breakfast.
Bookings Phone 6359 5269 or 0418 267 054; see mthavenretreat.com.
Getting there About 2 1/2 to three hours' drive from Sydney CBD. On the Great Western Highway, pass through Lithgow and 31 kilometres further west (that's 172 kilometres from Sydney) turn left into Diamond Swamp Road. Continue for 3½ kilometres, turn right into Mt Haven Way and the B&B is clearly signposted.
Perfect for Those wanting to get away and ride a horse, listen to the birds, explore the land west of the Blue Mountains, walk the dog or cycle along quiet country roads.
Wheelchair access Yes.
While you're there Enjoy the peaceful setting.