Sometimes you just need to take a break and give your soul what it needs. My soul recently longed for beautiful vistas, fresh air, and a reprieve from our COVID-blotched reality. I found all of that, and so much more, at Plum Tree Cottage in McGregor.
Most of us had to celebrate birthdays, milestones and anniversaries during lock-down this year. We had to adjust, reimagine and implement new ways of celebrating, with or without our loved ones. Luckily, by the time my birthday came around, we were allowed to travel for leisure purposes, and I took a dear friend up on a generously long-standing invitation to visit McGregor.
Having stared at the charming images of Plum Tree Cottage on the internet way too often during my lunch breaks, my wanderlust could not be contained anymore. I craved the tranquility, the peace and the serenity that Plum Tree Cottage promised in abundance, and my birthday road trip couldn’t come a day too soon.
McGregor Country Getaways
McGregor Country Getaways offers an affordable and personal tourism marketing, property management and accommodation booking service. It’s the perfect place to plan your getaway in the countryside. Discover, explore, experience and enjoy what McGregor and the surrounding Langeberg towns of Robertson, Bonnievale, Ashton and Montagu have to offer. Make your dream getaway in our magnificent countryside a reality with our assistance (https://www.mcgregor-accommodation.co.za/).
A country escape
I have an unquenchable thirst for tiny towns with dusty roads flanked by horse paddocks, with overgrown cerise bougainvillea’s and tall cacti lining the wide, easy lanes. I want ancient trees standing guard over the main road, casting its shade on porched houses, their cool embrace beckoning you in against the afternoon heat. I want to smell the veld and the soil; I want to carefully browse the little farm shop for homemade treats. I want to spend time walking the tiny grid roads of houses, past the stately church, saying hello to resident dogs and filling my ears with bird song.
It might sound all a bit romantic and scripted (forgive my delicate dreamer soul), but I almost managed to describe McGregor in its purest form. The only thing I still can’t quite capture in words, is its otherworldly charm.
We found our way to the edge of the town, a narrow gravel road separating Plum Tree Cottage from the unspoilt veld. Even though were were only a few hundred meters from the main road, we felt suitably removed from reality as we pushed open the gate to the spacious surrounds of the cottage.
Immaculately enveloped in green lawns and gardens reminiscent of the English countryside, Plum Tree Cottage immediately felt like “den.” Remember when you used to play chasing games as a kid, and “den” was the safe place where nobody could touch you? That is how I felt as we unlocked the front door, the scent of warm lavender and rosemary following us into this cool escape from the world.
There’s a certain allure about a thatched cottage. A moment caught in time; a reminiscence of days gone by. Plum Tree Cottage’s white-washed charm is simply undeniable.
With a spacious bedroom, a full bathroom, a country kitchen to make you swoon and a lounge area that invites you to settle down with a book and a glass of wine in front of the fire place, I had to squeal in pure delight at first glance. Beautifully exposed wooden beams frame the cool insides of the cottage, and the openness of the living area begs for long hours of cooking, laughing, relaxing and togetherness.
I opened the french doors onto a vine-shaded porch, which extended into a lush lawn, a braai area and a tiered garden filled with fruit trees and flowers. The mountains were so close I could almost reach out and touch the patches of wildflowers blooming at its feet. And possibly the best of all? Plum Tree Cottage is pet-friendly and completely enclosed to keep inquisitive puppers safe. Finally – repose, with everything and everyone I love right around me.
If you want to, like me, share this country charm with more than just your partner, Plum Tree Cottage offers a deliciously rustic wooden chalet tucked between the expanse of gardens, suitable for a second couple or kids. There’s also a sleeper couch in the lounge of the main cottage, suitable for young children.
As we settled into Plum Tree Cottage for the weekend, I started noticing the generosity of the cottage. Equipped for absolute comfort and relaxation, every item has been placed with your uninterrupted enjoyment in mind.
From the plush, oversized couches in front of the hearth, to the secret pull-out spice rack, filled with every spice and herb a keen foodie like me could ever wish for. From the abundant selection of salad bowls, tupperwares, oven dishes and wine glasses, to a variety of dog beds and bowls for happy pets. It was all considerately thought out, and made for an incredibly restful stay, knowing that even the smallest of details have been taken care of.
Another thoughtful touch to ensure maximum recreation, is the addition of two bookshelves in the bedroom stacked with a wide variety of books, in case you forgot to pack yours, or feel like a change of pace. We whiled away quite a few tranquil hours reading inside or out, depending on the time of day and the intensity of the heat.
When we weren’t reading, taking slow walks with the dogs or lapping up the pure stillness of the surrounds, we gathered around the kitchen table to open wine bottles, eat birthday cake or prepare meals. I was constantly reminded of the privilege of uninterrupted space – such a coveted commodity, and which Plum Tree Cottage has plenty of. I could feel my soul stretch out and take up a bit more space inside my chest as I breathed in the indulgences of this humble home away from home.
The simple pleasures
I absolutely adored the ease of it all; with contactless check-in available, it almost felt like we were returning to our own holiday home for a weekend, except we’ve never been. I could feel the hypothetical weight lift from my shoulders from the moment we arrived in McGregor, and by the time we had to leave, I could breathe freely again. Plum Tree Cottage is the perfect place to catch your breath, to unwind, to align your body to soul again. To fully reconnect; not only with each other, but also with nature, as the cottage looks out over some of the most pristine panoramas I’ve seen in a long COVID-restricted while.
We particularly enjoyed and appreciated the braai. I know it sounds silly, but it was a return to simple pleasures. Perched on the edge of the lawn, we started the fire in the lull of the afternoon, surrounded by bird song and the fragrant smell of fynbos. By the time the coals were simmering low, we could look up into the nigh sky and try to remember when last we’ve seen so many stars so clearly, so unblemished. With glasses of moody red wine in hand, our heads between the stars and the dogs sleeping at our feet, life was perfect in that exact moment.
I’ve often felt a feeling of longing for a place, even whilst I was still there. I was sad to leave Plum Tree Cottage long before I started packing my bags to return home. The weekend in McGregor was so much more than just a country breakaway. It was a reminder to always seek out the beauty, the untouched, the little flames that feed your fire. Plum Tree Cottage was the catalyst for this reignition in my soul. I desperately needed a reminder that the search for true contentment is a journey and does not lie in the destination.
And what I now know without a shadow of a doubt, is that the road to McGregor is paved with my happiness. Thank you, Plum Tree Cottage, for offering us the perfect place to celebrate little flames and gentle reminders.
The fine print
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Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.