Alison enjoys writing about all the great attractions Melbourne has to offer, and writing for her blog www.notforblokes.wordpress.com
Published September 22nd 2011
Mornington Penisula delights
I love the Mornington Peninsula. What's not to love? There is a plethora of choice for places to stay, things to do, or ways to indulge and relax.
Safe bay beaches to swim with little kiddies, or wild and woolly ocean "back" beaches. Rolling hills from which to enjoy stunning views of the picturesque countryside, dotted with vineyards from which many a tasty vino can be enjoyed.
There are a number of towns and villages to choose from as your base, and each has its unique feel and flavour. From the obvious wealth of Portsea, the crowed Dromana beaches and shops, to laid back towns like Flinders and Somers.
Recently I had the opportunity to combine two of my favourite pastimes spending time with my girlfriends and visiting the Peninsula.
For our 48 hours of escape from being wives, mothers and general domestic goddesses (or slaves, depending upon the day), we set up camp at a lovely four bedroom house in St Andrews Beach.
St Andrews Beach is basically the ocean beach of Rye. We choose the house not so much for the location although it proved to be an excellent location for our needs but for the value and add-ons that came with the house.
I found the house on stayz.com.au Agave Beach House. Not only did the relaxed yet tasteful look of the house appeal to us, but the price was great value and made the house hard to look past. For two nights, including a late checkout of 4pm on the Sunday (available during winter), we paid the princely sum of $127 each.
But while the price was certainly a winning feature, what really sold us on this house was the tantalising offer of having our own personal chef prepare and serve a meal to us on arrival at the house.
As three busy mothers going away for the first time in two years, we found we could not pass up the opportunity to be pampered in this way. And so after a few phone calls and emails with Megan of "Home Judies", the arrangements were made.
Megan confirmed whether we had any dietary preferences or requests. We didn't we were just happy to be cooked for. Then when we arrived at Agave around 8pm on a cold, wet Friday night, Megan was there waiting for us.
She had the house brightly lit and welcoming, and a fire blazing in the wood fire. The table was already laid out with a delicious, Greek inspired table of nibbles. Megan's motherin-law is Greek, and so we were treated to special family recipe delights such as feta and dolmades.
While we set about choosing our rooms and decided which of the bottles of French champagne we should put in the ice bucket first, Megan unpacked our groceries for us.
After a few final adjustments to our main meal, Megan left us with strict instructions on how long to cook our main course for, as well as instructions for the dessert.
We feasted on fish parcels of flake and prawns fresh from the Victorian market, wrapped in filo pastry and accompanied by a hollandaise sauce. Crispy wedges and a bacon, avocado and spinach salad were our side dishes.
For dessert, a home cooked steam self-saucing pudding and custard. Which we could not eat till the following night, so sated were we from the first two courses.
The next morning despite the wind and chill in the air, the sun was out and so we braved a walk on St Andrews Beach. The swell was enormous and a little frightening and we were the only other people on the beach during our hour-long walk.
But the scene was magnificent, and my English friend remarked on how you would never see such an open space in Europe. As we trudged along the sand bracing against the wind, we felt alive and all the cobwebs were blown away.
After all that activity, we felt some relaxation was in order. So we headed over to a favourite spot - Merricks General Store for some lunch. The drive was only about 15 minutes, along what can only be described as breath taking coast.
At Merricks, we settled on relatively light lunches so we could also enjoy some of the delicious sweet treats. So we feasted on mussels, tarte tatin of locally produced goat's cheese and tomatoes, and French fries with aioli.
Merricks General Store
Choosing a sweet treat took some time, but eventually we consumed a range of treats. The treats were so delicious, we also bought some slices to eat during our later DVD festival.
Of the chocolate brownie, lumberjack, caramel and ricotta/pistachio slices we enjoyed, our pick would be the ricotta slice as it was a light, unusual but lovely combination.
At Merricks we also indulged in wine tasting at the store. The store provides wines from a number of local vineyards to taste, and not only did we enjoy glasses over lunch we also took home a (shared) case of Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.
On our return drive we stopped at the ever-growing village of Flinders for some supplies. While we were there, we unexpectedly discovered a great shop for clothes The Flinders Shed.
We spent a frenzied and decidedly happy half an hour or so trying from a surprising amount of great options, despite the small size of the shop. All of us came out with a new dress expecting calls any moment from our husbands who had seen the purchases on the bank statements.
On Sunday morning we again braved the weather for a walk on St Andrews Beach, this time competing not only with the wind but rain as well. Once again though, the trade off was worth the effort as the walk really did make us feel invigorated.
We took that energy and did some more relaxing. First a light brunch in Rye, followed by one of the highlights of the weekend pampering at the Moonah Links Endota Day Spa.
The location of the Spa at the renowned golf course is a little intimidating, especially for women who do not play golf. This is obviously a course for serious golfers, and we felt out of place not only as we were in our trackies but also were females.
But once safely ensconced in the spa, all of this faded quickly away. The spa is laid out in muted tones with an enormous couch begging you to ease yourself onto it. Within a minute of arriving, we were on said couch with a cup of our preferred herbal brew on hand.
Two and a half hours of "layabout' followed. We had a footbath, followed by a sea salt scrub. The feel of the salt as it was sprinkled onto your skin and then exfoliated, was divine.
Next we were covered in warm clay all over, and then wrapped snugly in a bed of towels. While the clay went to work on our skin, the therapists went to work giving us a facial. My facial deprived skin glowed for days afterwards.
After a shower in the huge spa under the "rain head' showerhead, it was back to the treatment room for an hour long massage.
At the end of the treatment, we met back on the couch to slowly reacclimatise to the real world. The general consensus was, we had all enjoyed a blissful experience and we were reluctant to go home.
But home we did go, thoroughly relaxed and ready to take on the world. Or at least, our naughty children.
So if you have the chance or the need, I highly recommend you head away for a weekend with your gal pals to the Mornington Peninsula and enjoy some of the delights we experienced.
Only be warned make sure you have padded your wallet before you go. It is all too easy to spend money on the Peninsula. And that is without visiting the wineries.
This all sounds heavenly and will hopefully convince my partner the Mornington Peninsula is a worthwhile weekend getaway. Thanks!
By kphil - reader Thursday, 29th of September @ 04:06 am
Wow, that weekend sounded fabo. Love the idea of your own cook waiting at your house, with a meal ready. I hate arriving somewhere after a long drive in the dark and rain, fiddling with keys and luggage and then having to think about dinner! Will certainly follow up!!
By Anonymous Friday, 30th of September @ 04:37 am
Sounds great - how much did Megan charge for her supper service? I believe she does baby-sitting too?