What remarkable weather they have in Ettalong, Pearl beach and Patonga. I think the perfect blues of the day, the gold of sunset, the greens & yellows of water and shore, seem so different from Sydney. Maybe it just seems more so there.
We were exploring in this place on the Central Coast where for 15 summers, a decade ago, we spent so much time. Back then our children learned to ride bikes.No TV or phones, but with board games, plays created and performed, climbs to the waterfall, sitting on the beach after dark, and to fall asleep in the big front room with the fire burning firewood they’d collected, and where we adults laughed and sipped wine till late.
So much has changed but not changed. The kids are all grown up. Older buildings & homes have been smartened up, cafes now do real coffee not instant, greasy food is now more wraps and salads. Still plenty of your classic pie and cake shops though. Art galleries are now showing quality painters and less craft & bricabrac shops, but luckily enough to keep the village feeling. Pavements where grass once edged the road.
This was a brief visit to check details before the 3 day/2night Mini Sketch Trip in 3 weeks. The ‘butler’ and I stayed in a Studio apartment at Ettalong Mantra – where we will all stay – to make sure everything was just right. No hiccups wanted. We checked the rooms we’ll have, the gym and spa pool and found a beautiful place at the end of the heated pool for our morning tai chi sessions.
We tried the restaurant at the Beach Club next door. Mantra doesn’t do food, just accommodation. So a lunch and dinner were given the onceover. To our amazement prices are very low. A choice of 9 dishes on the ‘Specials’ menu and a free wine, beer or juice. $9.00!!! Excellent.
With limited time we did lots of exploring of our old haunts and were delighted with everything – in terms of sketching. So many wonderful subjects, from fishing boats and dinghies, ducks, pelicans and bush turkeys, old schoolhouses and hotels, beaches and lagoons, and always a unique cafe. I managed a few sketches too.
I think everyone will be pretty happy with our Trip and Milton and I can’t wait to enjoy a little step back in time but with all the mod cons we need.