Magical McGregor – A Highlanders Paradiseby Roseanna McBain on 12 June 2015
The sun slipping from a golden-hued valley, rose-ringed wine farms, organic goods made with love, and tangible local pride are all characteristics of the town of McGregor, found just off of the popular wine route of Route 62.
McGregor is a place outside of time where jazz, dance, arts and culture thrive and are celebrated, and cosy blankets and fireside chats are the norm. It’s a place where you feel like an old family friend wherever you go; be it leaving a shop, overnighting at an accommodation, or having a quick meal at a restaurant.
This barely scratches the surface of the magic McGregor weaves over its visitors – but I can guarantee that once you set foot in the valley, you’ll find it very hard to leave. Invited by Mira Weiner of McGregor Country Getaways to spend a weekend exploring, Ankia Wolfe from LekkeSlaap.co.za and I set off on a country adventure.
Eat, drink and be merry
For what looks to be a small town when you drive through it, there are numerous places to choose between in order to get your caffeine fix, sniff and sip some great wine vintages, eat like royalty at restaurants, taste tapas and carry home takeaways.
From Frangipani and Green Gables in the heart of McGregor right through to the country kitchen at Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary on the outskirts, you’re guaranteed to find good coffee and a hearty breakfast served with local flair (and roses).
Wine farms like Esona the One, Arendsig, Lords Wines and Van Loveren each provide an exclusive experience, divine vintages and tastings, while Tanagra Wine and Guest Farm offers a very unique Grappa tasting. Those after a non-alcoholic ‘wine’ tasting can visit Villagers and stop in at the Rhebokskraal Farm Stall where you can sip Merlot and Cabernet juices as you indulge in an organic olive tasting – a treat the whole family can enjoy!
If you’re interested in experiencing local culture, the morning market on Saturdays is a place to be! Here you can kit yourself out with lovingly knitted woollen items, purchase organic produce such as parsley pesto (which is a vitamin C power food), handmade soaps and quiches, right through to the ever-popular Brakkies Happies (organic and hand-made dog treats). In fact, the lady who creates the brakkies happies is easy to spot, as she’s the center of attention, love and affection from all the dogs in McGregor.
Things to Do
When in McGregor it’s hard to pick where to go and what to do first as there’s just so much to do! A few suggestions include:
– A visit to the Wahnfried Cultural Center to take a peek into class and culture – it’s where classic movies are played and venue of choice for visiting artists and international celebrities when in town.
– Ride the wooden Noddy Bus and explore McGregor, country style, come rain or shine.
– The Edna Fourie Art Gallery is an uplifting experience not to miss, while the local band and dance group are phenomenal to watch.
– A visit to the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary is a must-see – spending time with the gentle natured rescue donkeys is incredibly moving.
Country stays with luxurious amenities
Regardless of your group size or budget, there’s an accommodation in McGregor that’s bound to suit you – from stunning self-catering stays offered by McGregor Country Getaways at Lemon Tree Cottage and Kite House, to B&B board at the beautiful retreat of Temenos and GuBas de Hoek, right through to luxurious Scottish-themed rooms at Lords Guest Lodge.
As there are another post or two heading your way, detailing each tasty mouthful supped on and each art gallery and cultural icon seen, the above was a teaser snippet of what to keep an eye out for when you visit McGregor.
Let us know what you love most about McGregor!