We were lucky enough to spend a weekend away in Creswick last month. We had actually travelled to Creswick last year, but we spent most of our time in the surrounding towns. This time, we spent a day getting intimate with Creswick so I could research for a new article and snap loads of photos. Before heading back home, we decided to steal a few hours meandering through Daylesford.
Daylesford originally emerged as a gold-mining town in 1852 and early miners and immigrants in the area soon became fans of the area’s natural, holistic mineral springs. Now, Daylesford is a popular hotspot for weekenders seeking spa time and relaxation; only a 90-minute drive north-west from Melbourne. Period heritage charm can be found in this vibrant town, and local artists bring to life Daylesford’s forest surrounds.
Our plan was simple – park the car and walk! So, it wasn’t long before were stumbling across little shops, galleries and cafés. We were greeted to Daylesford early by a friendly Labrador named Sara, who rushed out from The Secret Garden nursery for belly rubs and pats. This quaint little nursery was stocked to the brim with succulents, potted colour, herbs and eclectic outdoor art.
After strolling further along, we discovered Red Pepper Gallery in Vincent Street. The gallery is one of two in the town – its sister Stony Creek Gallery is located further afield in Stony Creek Road. Red Pepper is an affordable art gallery that hosts an edgy selection of paintings, jewellery, sculpture and glassware. Individual pieces hung from the ceiling and against white-washed walls, or stood tall in crannies along the gallery’s floorboards. I could’ve spent hours in this shop gazing at each and every piece!
Nearby, a tiny alleyway wall was plastered with a small sign signalling us away from the main street and through to the back of shops. What we found was Sister George Productions – a converted period house decked out by locally created knits, scarves, hats and wall hangings, all illuminated by fairy lights. Each room of the house was crammed with a rainbow of pieces created by local women. The house also hosts an artists’ studio for a rotating roster of artists.
Our tummies started to grumble so we stopped for a quick bite and coffee at The Food Gallery – an alfresco styled café drenched in sunshine from overhead sky-lights. I love an all-day breakfast and I love a menu featuring local organic produce just as much. I opted for poached eggs on toast with sautéed mushrooms and spinach while Mr C devoured a roasted vegetable focaccia. The waitress was all too happy to help him with his vegan requests.
Moving further along, we stumbled into The Chocolate Lover in The Rex Arcade. This hole in the wall is a chocoholic’s oasis filled with hand-made chocolates of all different shapes, flavours and textures. It’s run by a French expat who graces his customers with French greetings and flair. We found every timber table top adorned with cake stands cradling designer chocolates. Little cellophane gift-bags tied with ribbon added to the transportable ease at which these sweeties can be bought and gobbled up.
As we reached the far-flung end of Vincent Street, Mr C was entranced by an old, rusty car sitting in a side-street ear-marking Hill Antiques. We eavesdropped on one well-versed local walking by: “It’s always there!” We squeezed our way through Hill Antiques' treasure trove of yesterday’s kitchen appliances and utensils, crockery, furniture and old records and posters. I spent a bit of cash when Mr C found a small shelf layered with preloved books. I bundled up my purchases into a shopping bag before we bailed out of this colonial terrace building and headed on home.