Arcadia country is just
for this hideaway, writes Clara laccarino.
It's all in the finer details.
Minutes from the Galston village shops and just off the M2 -
a speedy 40-minute delivery to the Hills District from Sydney
- Arcadia is a country whisper and Lauders Loft Bed & Breakfast
is its charming hideaway
The country trimmings, homemade chutneys and
jams on the windowsill, a wheelbarrow overflowing with greenery,
blinds made from train station destination signs, and stained-
glass windows that usher in the morning light from across
Opposite a homestead selling bags
of manure for $2, the Loft sits behind the Lauder family's
There's undercover parking beside Jim's shed, where the cats
and dogs howl and muster at feeding time.
A pebbled path takes you into the rooms, each one with a
chalkboard and welcome note for the guests
staying that night.
The kitchenette redefines self- sufficiency There's a toaster,
sandwich press, bar fridge, cutlery, beer mugs and a pig-shaped
cutting board. There
are transport lanterns for lights, fly- screened sideboards
and corrugated iron walls in the bathrooms.
The country charisma is apparent, but bales of hay and field
mice are nowhere to be seen. It's rustic, but polished. It's
a great romantic getaway, but there's also plenty of room
for the whole family, or two couples. Upstairs the open-plan
loft is ideal for two, but downstairs there are two king single
beds in the back room, a day bed and queen in the front.
Keen to show off the district
Allison Lauder arranged Sunday lunch at Berowra
Waters Inn, a beautiful restaurant only accessible by water.
On the river bank beside homes with pontoons and water access
only, your eyes glaze over as residents putt past in their
tinnies and fish skim the surface of the Hawkesbury River
Peaceful is an understatement, and the French-Australian
cuisine is complemented by fine wine and witty asides from
the Spanish maitre d'.
There's not much room for dinner, but Allison recommends
a few localspots from pizzerias to fish 'n chip shops and
Sinking into the sea of pillows that night, falling asleep
to the tunes on a CD player borrowed from the main manor,
I'm wrapped in pure Arcadian contentment. Daylight saving
has ended and the darkness is all- encompassing. I can't see
my hand in front of my face, but the night sounds soon lull
me to sleep.
The birds wake first, but I'm not far behind as sunlight
fills the kitchenette and trickles through the stained-glass
windows of the bathrooms. I brew a pot of coffee and before
long there's a knock at the door and Jim Lauder presents a
tray of breakfast goodies.
Out the back there's a porch overlooking the grassy acreage.
I tuck into my scrambled eggs and fruit, munching on the quiche-like
breakfast tarts - a variation on the standard bacon-and-eggs
formula - as the morning stretches through
the clouds. A car loaded with schoolchildren drives past on
the unpaved road, the youngsters wave
out of the window.
It's Monday morning and I'm less than an hour from the CBD
crush,the rural pace is divine.
The open space and clean air are blissful. I'm not sure
I could commute but weekend retreats could well become commonplace.
• The writer was a guest of Lauders Loft.