I’m a big believer in exploring your own backyard – whether it be a new restaurant in your suburb, long weekends away or a full scale cross country road trip. I hope to inspire more weekends away for my fellow Cape Townians and prove how affordable weekend escaping can be. I have found the Robertson Wine Valley which includes Robertson, Ashton, Bonnievale and McGregor to be great value for money. A quick google search in McGregor had us finding Francolin cottage! Next thing was organising the friends, co-ordinating the food and we were good to go!
Where to Stay for your weekend in McGregor
Definitely Francolin cottage! Our charming little cottage was so wonderful! We paid R3,600 for six people for two nights. That makes it R300 per person per night- what a steal! Our cottage was based in the heart of sleepy McGregor with lovely bedrooms, a big social space with a fireplace and free wifi. Here’s the link to the accommodation if you’re interested. It is still priced at R1,800 a night and could make for a fantastic Spring weekend away.
We love booking self catering cottages with groups of friends as it really helps stretch the budget! We have stayed at gorgeous self catering spots in Paternoster, Riebeek Kasteel and Hemel En Aarde. I have a Toomuchloveliness Guide to Paternoster up and I am working hard on creating more!
The best thing about sharing a self catering cottage is that you can cook at home! Jono was in charge of a full English fry up, Karen did a gorgeous pancake breakfast, I made a giant chicken pie for lunch and it was all hands on deck for both nights of braai’ing. To keep costs down I planned the menu and bought food for the group. I find this is really helpful to prevent duplicates, food waste and forgetting something! Also everyone tends to feel this is the most fair way of doing things as we’re all eating and spending the same thing! Just don’t forget to pack lots of WINE!
What to Eat
We arrived around lunch time and headed straight to Flora’s Eating House. As this was a budget friendly weekend we kept the eating out to a minimal. With this group of friends we always try and squeeze in one restaurant treat! Flora’s is a true country gem with a focus on fresh, seasonal and local ingredients to create a small menu and an ever changing daily special. If you’re vegetarian or vegan you will be well catered for at Flora’s Eating House. However, don’t worry if you’re mostly carnivorous- Jono ordered a beef burger with no shame!
Flora’s doesn’t have a liquor license which is actually a huge budgeting plus as you can bring your own wine and there is no corkage! For lunch I had a fantastic veggie burger with sweet potato wedges and a great glass of rosé packed with ice! It was such a delicious lunch in a lovely little courtyard and helped us feel like we were on holiday immediately. I can’t remember exact prices but I remember it being a little pricey for a veggie burger but pretty standard by Cape Town pricing. However, with no corkage and no drinks on the bill a sneaky lunch is no big deal!
I can’t quite get over how beautiful the restaurant is. So please don’t mind the millions of photos! In fact… this blog post is a little image heavy because the weekend was so lovely!
What to Drink
Don’t forget that you’re in wine country and there is plenty of drinking to do! When we pick weekend destinations it is always a bonus to have a wine farm nearby. Wine tasting is actually a pretty affordable way to spend an afternoon if you don’t leave with cases of wine! I have written a post before on a few wine tasting spots I enjoyed in the Robertson Wine Valley.
Lord’s Wine Farm
Our first farm of the weekend was purely by accident. We were in the car going for a little drive around. We were undecided about whether we wanted to drink wine or nap at the house. I love these real life problems ;)! We drove passed Lord’s farm which immediately twisted our rubber arms. We were warmly welcomed and a plan was arranged to find us somewhere to sit despite there being no space. I asked when they were closing- and the response was “in an hour or two? There’s no rush.”
We ended up drinking plenty of wine, cuddling all the dogs, watching the sunset and heading home with a few bottles each. We loved our experience with Lord’s and their warm hospitality. They have some lovely affordable wines like their unwooded pinot noir which was a first for me and definitely worth a try. They also have some more serious wines which we have cellared and looking forward to drinking again in a few years.
I love Arendsig wines. We have many bottles of Arendsig wine at different stages of aging. Lourens is the owner and winemaker of Arendsig and is an absolute gentleman. Tastings are by appointment but are definitely worth the little extra effort to spend time with Lorens and hear about his wines. Arendsig is definitely a more premium wine farm and a fantastic experience for the geekier wine drinkers. The wine is made from single vineyard blocks and is terroir driven which means you really are get a taste of the Robertson Wine Valley when trying these wines.
Since joining Robertson Slow I have a host of new favourite wine farms! Don’t miss the incredible chardonnays from Mont Blois, wine blending and clemengold gin with Zandvliet, the sensational chenin and tannat from Kranskop and the flag ship chardonnays from De Wetshof! All the details in our Robertson Slow blog post!
What to Do
Visit the goats of McGregor. Or it could be sheep? This is very embarrassing. Like the absolute tourists that we are we pulled up to the farm animals on the side of the road and started recording boomerangs… Once the perfect video was captured we looked up and said…. is that a goat or a sheep? We even messaged my mother back home for another opinion. Jury is still out… Let me know your opinion?
Go for a walk around McGregor and dream of having a little holiday house here. I love the idea of a holiday house and often pick a home that fits the bill. My wonderful friend Kate and I strolled around the town picking our dream home and sharing our big dreams. It’s lovely to be able to walk around a town not worrying about cars or safety.
I just loved these homes!
Have a wonderful through their nature reserves. Full honesty, we may have walked in the nature reserves. I certainly thought so but we climbed a fence to start our walk and I don’t think that’s the typical game plan. The internet recommends Krans and Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve and whilst I can neither confirm or deny we were there… they both look lovely!