I am a mum of two and Primary School teacher whose aim is to never be home during the midday movie. I believe that I am only ever a car trip away from an adventure.
Published November 11th 2013
Enjoy the charm of a storybook village
Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges was originally known as Sassafras Gully named after the Sassafras trees that covered the area. By the 1900's it became a growing town and quickly turned into a popular tourist destination for those from the city looking for a getaway from the big smoke without having to travel too far.
Situated only 45kms out of Melbourne it's still a highly sought after destination by tourist with numbers increasing constantly. It's no surprise really, Sassafras is a beautiful, bushy gem with a gorgeous village worth exploring and a community feel you will enjoy immersing yourself in. Just south of Olinda and surrounded by the Dandenong Ranges and Sherwood Forest this is a quaint and charming place to embrace cafes, shops, antiques, crafts and ofcourse nature.
There are many spots you wont want to miss when you visit Sassafras and every one is worth a look in. However there are a few places that are real highlights and will give you a true feel for this delightful and serene village aswell as a good appreciation for what's on offer.
First off is the iconic Miss Marple's Tearooms. A beautiful two story, old English tea house that draws a crowd from the time it opens til the time it closes. Renowned for decadent scones the size of a bread loaf and heavenly desserts like Trifle and Bread and Butter Pudding, this place is a must. But be warned, as no bookings are taken you may find yourself at the end of a very long line or an even longer waiting list. Get in early or come much later in the afternoon would be my tip, lunch time is not ideal.
Inspired and named after the delightful detective created by Agatha Christie. Lots of memorabilia inside.
However don't despair if you can't get into the Agatha Christies inspired tearooms or if your looking for a more modern or classic setting try Fortnums which is a delightful, crisp and bright restaurant serving lovely fare including breakfast, lunch (you simply must try the Ploughmans Lunch) and Devonshire Tea with a smile. Great for fanilies and is perfect for weddings too. Sit out on the patio on warm days or try for a window seat on cooler days and enjoy watching the crowds pass by or the beautiful King parrots feed from the bird feeder.
The beautiful bay windows allow light to flow over the clean and bright rooms of Fortnums
If your more of an old school sweet tooth then you must factor in a stop at Sassafras Sweet Co. Full to overflowing with bright colours, tempting aromas and loads of international goodies and candy from your childhood, this place is a winner for all ages and all tastes. From jellies to chocolates to novelty inspired candy your eyes will be racing. Don't even try to resist just dive right in and find all your favourites to enjoy on the car trip home.
Like a kid in a lolly factory only better cause this kid has a credit card!
If the lolly shop has you feeling a little like a kid again or if infact you have a kid with you then Gepetto's Workshop is a must. It's a beautiful old fashioned toy shop that stocks a huge variety of unique items your unlikely to find at commercial and big name establishments. Think wooden toys, kaleidoscopes, collectible figurines, beautiful dolls, the MamAmor range are really charming and ofcourse puppets of all types including marionettes. This is a very busy hotspot and always full of big and little kids admiring the lovely toys. Make sure you look up and enjoy the beautiful mobiles flying above your head aswell.
Unique toys and gifts made with old world charm
Another favourite of mine is the tea shop, Tea Leaves which is located next to the craziness of Miss Marple's. This is a tea totters heaven. Anything and everything that has or could have to do with tea, making it, tasting it, drinking it or simply decorating the home with it you will find here.Teapots, tea cosies, teacups, strainers, tea towels and even some delectable treats to go with a hot cup are all available at Tea Leaves. Not to mention a massive variety of every type of tea you could possibly dream of. Whether your into black tea, Oolong, herbal or just an every day Earl Grey you're sure to find something for yourself or as a special gift. There's not a lot of room inside and many eye catching and easy to reach breakable so I suggest little kids and prams wait outside for your own peace of mind and enjoyment.
What's your preference? Black French Earl Grey or China Pearls Buddha's Tears?
If you prefer a little more hunt with your shopping and perhaps finding that unusual or one off item then Smits and Bits will please you. Some days you can even toast a complimentary marshmallow in their big iron tub. Lots of fabulous homewares and gardenwares around here covering the inside and outside of the building. Enjoy a moment picking your way through them and be inspired by coloured bottles hanging from tree branches and a fully decked out miniature dollhouse.
Toast a marshmallow over the big iron drum
For a touch of pampering and perhaps a little romance stop by Bluestone Candles and enjoy the warmth and blissful aromas of incense and scented candles. The staff are super helpful and friendly and will assist you in finding the perfect flavour, fragrance or design just for you. Perhaps you prefer a soy jar, a tall pillar or are in need of a reed diffuser or maybe a water scented candle and a candle snuffer are more your style. Whatever it may be a visit to Sassafras should always include a stop at Bluestone.
Find your perfect smell, fragrance or design at Bluestone Candles
Finally I would encourage you to head out of the indoors and start enjoying the beautiful outdoors all around you. While the Village is a wonderful thoroughfare and a relaxing and enjoyable accompaniment to a visit to Sassafras the real beauty and magic is in the greenery, forests and State Parks that make this small town a perfect city escape.