When I was a child we didn’t do many family holidays, partly due to finances but also due to illness – and it’s probably one of the things in my life that I wish would have been different…. alas we can’t go back, only forwards. Which is exactly the very reason why I am so passionate about family travel – be they quick weekend outings or longer family holidays – I’m all for them and will jump at every chance I get to pack our bags.
And I’m really not fussy what type of holiday it is to be honest. I will happily sign up for a camping holiday in a tent or a 5-star luxury lodge with all the trimmings. If it means we as a family are out and about discovering a new part of the country (or world!!) or even revisiting an old favorite, I’m happy.
The hope is that one day my kids will look back and appreciate the amazing experiences and opportunities that have come there way…. the hard truth is that they probably won’t! Only once you haven’t had something do you really appreciate it when you do. Probably the very reason why I’m the biggest instigator of family fun in our house. I’m making up for lost time!
One of our very favourite family holidays is a visit down the Garden Route and over the past 5 years I’ve tried to make this an annual experience. The main argument for annual holidays in the same place is that research has revealed that kids best memories are of the things and places they repeatedly did or visited which is why traditions like this are so important. They words “we always used to… ” have the most nostalgia and positive thoughts around them!
Anyway on every trip down the Garden Route there is one magical place that is firmly at the top of our “To Do” list. And this trip was no exception. In fact a visit to Nature’s Way Farmstall and Dairy was the very first thing we did after checking in at Hog Hollow in The Crags.
The main reason for this was that we were only in the area for 2 nights and with a fun-filled day of adventure activities happening the next day we didn’t want to miss out on the milking time – Ben’s best thing to do is to head into the shed from 3pm and help out the farm hands with their milking duties. He gets really stuck in. Opening the shoots for the next cow to come in, closing another, filling up their food troughs, even attaching the milking machines to their udders.
We usually join him for about 10 mins and then head back to the farmstall for a cup of their hot chocolate served with fresh milk straight from the dairy. Then we stock up on a few of our favourite cheeses plus some extras in the shop and then then just soak up the sun on the patio while enjoying one of our favourite views. And all the while Ben is STILL in the milking shed and gets bitterly disappointed if we want to leave before all the cows are finished – 2 hours later!! Did someone say future farmer? Well, I don’t think you would be half wrong… We have been visiting for the past 5 years and the novelty still hasn’t worn off!
During this visit Abi helped in the shed for a bit – in her sparkly #FashionAbi style – and then when the smell became too much for her, decided that catching bunnies in the grass, watching the goats and feeding baby calves their milk bottles was a far nicer idea….
Me? Well I just soaked in the serene scene and relished the fact that my kids were getting a farm education, albeit for an afternoon!
2,5km on R102 to Natures Valley
Tel: 044 534 8849
Cell: 082 875 7044
Images: Kathryn Rossiter