We trekked up to Goulburn to research for an upcoming Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) roadtrip.
Last year our chapter visited Braidwood. In the years to come perhaps we’ll go to Cooma, Gunning, Gundaroo, Murrambateman (nearby Crisp Galleries), Mittagong (antiques/crafts and I’m excited by veg*n places like nearby Berrima Health Vegetarian Café) or Crookwell (they have a Potato Festival! …need I say more?).
Our first stop was Grit café, which had been recommended for its vegan options. The food was nice (a modified big breakfast) but I’m sorry that I got a bit hangry with the lady at the counter, because she opened with the vegan options being salad. Regrettable.
My modified big breakfast was still enjoyable and they are able to veganise smoothies with soy or almond milk. Next time it would be better to call ahead, to see if they had any raw vegan desserts like the scrumptious-looking ones in their facebook albums.
I do feel bad about my poor manners, but it was also the disappointment of huge anticipation for their cakes and vegan-friendliness.
We enjoyed the toy shop in the main street which sells a projector painting set which claims “The children have it, with a color of the sky.” I remember having the sky when I was a kid. Less on the sliding scale of family-friendly was a painted sign in the pub’s window but sadly we weren’t there on a Wednesday.
Marilyn Psuchake’s 3 Poles were stunning, Here+Now was my favourite one, with the mosaics providing a preview of the local buildings. There is a great shot of them (as a group) by creakingbones. I should have been more organised and looked at the Art in public places brochure.
The Lilac City Markets were just wrapping up and were high on the chutney index, and it was intensely windy so all the petals were flying off the nearby rose garden. I can see why it’s called the City of Roses (but the next festival isn’t till March). Apparently the “go-to” markets are 3rd-Sunday-of-a-month at Riversdale Homestead and the 4th-Saturday-of-a-month Goulburn Brewery Craft Markets.
The Library was closed which was disappointing, but it helped us to find the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. These dogs (Amanda Stuart’s mongrel country (nil tenure), 2013) were guarding the outside. This image of another iteration of the sculptures out in the “wild”, which gives such a joyous and free feeling of bounding across open country.
The current exhibition is Rod McRae’s Wunderkammer, filling the gallery with installations focused on taxidermied animals (all ethically sourced), addressing environmental topics. It was confronting, but that’s what made it work – and I saw a sad connection with all the roadkill on the way back home.
We had a few misses with antique shops, because Glenholme Antiques and Collectables is now closed (the owner has retired). I consoled myself by looking at the hydrangeas. These were one of my childhood flowers and the colours are an interesting indicator of soil condition.
Café Book is also closed on weekends which was disappointing as I’d like to see their book stock. Other places that we should try next are Shaw’s Antiques, Michael’s Old Wares and Collectables, Accolade Antiques and Yarra Glen Pottery.
We tried to find Gallery on track but must have taken a wrong turn, in any case we were treated to a small informal graffiti show under the bridge.
We initially went to the old street address for The Argyle Book Emporium (don’t go to 176 Sloane Street, it’s now at 260 Sloane Street). We found them on the second go, and my goddess, it was astounding. Amazing. The building was previously the police station, and the strong holds are just full of books covering every surface, as though they’re melting Dali clocks draped everywhere. It was the highlight of our visit. They sell records too.
I had a great vegan dinner in June last year at 98 chairs, and they again made some custom menu options for us. The veganised roasted mushroom, garlic & Dutch cream potato soup was my favourite, then we had the vegetarian (for me, without cheese) combo dish (vegetable assiette, fresh spring rolls, kimchee, corn grain and miso salad, red cabbage, mushroom and leek pie). I liked the different elements on the dish but discovered I’m not evolved enough for kimchee. Mr Sonja loved the zucchini fritters too.
I have yet to try the other vegan-recommended places (Ban Thai and Gouburn Workers Club).
We stayed at Mandelson’s, an 1846 historic guesthouse. It was very beautiful, and had the feeling of Professor Xavier’s mansion. There are lots of sitting rooms, they used to have high teas which I can vividly imagine.
There is also an expansive quilting room which has lots of imported batik fabric (for sale!) and sewing detritus, which was why Claire (one of the owners) was keeping the door closed. The entryway has the original marble black-and-white checkerboard floor which would be suited to dramatic entrances (I wonder if the early Masonic presence in the town contributed to the choice of pattern? Pure speculation but could be an interesting theory!).
No roadtrip is complete without some #PatADay action. We met another visitor, the owners’ grandpuppy, Wataru, who was just cuteness overload and so soft. He is bilingual so he can woof in Japanese (wan-wan).
Previous guests (back in the day) include photographer George Barron Goodman, who advertised for people to sit for portraits at Mandelson’s, when he was visiting in February–March 1847 (Advertising. (1847, February 11). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.) and (Advertising. (1847, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.). He was making daguerrotypes, a precursor to the modern photograph.
Goodman also promoted his collection of views of Australia’s interior landscapes, which he employed as excellent embellished scenery for portrait backgrounds (Advertising. (1847, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1.). Perhaps Goulburn was added to this collection once he visited?
Someone on Tripadvisor said Mandelson’s was “a bit like Cluedo” and I can see why – it would be a fantastic setting for a Murder Mystery party or lots of other events.
On the way back, we didn’t visit the Big Merino (again) but here is a Merino butt pic.
I was sorely tempted by Collector and the new café on the way past, but we ran out of time. I used to really enjoy Lynwood Café, and I agree with theyellowhouseintheU, it is a big loss, but she says that Some Café is really worth a visit – see yellow’s post. You can still buy Lynwood jam, though. I fell asleep for most of the way home.
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