As part of celebrating the anniversary of the very first time we went out to dinner (19 November 1994), we always pay a visit for a couple of hours to Berkeleouw’s Book Barn at Berrima.
Susan and I are bookworms and there is nothing better for bookworms than visiting a bookshop. Although the Book Barn has some new books, it predominantly has used books, which is part of what keeps us coming back.
This visit saw me purchase the following books:
I always seem to come away with at least one Poetry book, and in the last few years the Poetry books have outnumbered the Art-related books, but not this year.
The two Chinese Art-related books jumped out at me as next weekend, I am attending a workshop that is being run by Jo Wong Artist, who is also the new President of the Macarthur Art Group that will be joining shortly.
‘Poetry Now’ is actually a book of Poems where the authors were born within the first 30-40 years of the 20th Century and /Great Artists Explained’ was simply too good a book to leave on the shelf!
I look forward in the coming weeks to grab a cuppa and sit down and investigate all these books more.
Today, Susan and I went down to Berrima, which is about 1 hour’s drive South of where we live, to celebrate 28 years since we went out to dinner for the first time way back on 19 November 1994. We were a week late in celebrating as we were moving house last week.
After all that has been happening in the last 4-5 months, it was delightful to get away for the day and relax.
As is normal, the first stop is Berkeleouw’s Book Barn which houses approximately 100,000 books. It used to be, however, the help the business survive, they kept a reduced amount of books and added Wedding Receptions, a cafe/restaurant, accommodation, and wine tasting to the business.
We spent just under two hours there and (in a separate post) I’ll talk about the books I purchased.
After Berkeleouws, we had a delicious lunch at Josh’s Cafe and Restaurant which is located in the actual town of Berrima. We have been eating there for many years and are always delighted with the food, service, and atmosphere.
From there, we ventured into a few shops (as we normally do), including ‘Mrs. OldBucks’ (jams, sauces, honey, teas, etc), ‘Six Impossible Things’ (various boutique items including writing materials, dip pens, ink, journals, books, and other tourist-inspired goodies). Our last stop was ‘Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium which consists of a number of smaller antique sellers within a larger shop.
All-in-all a very relaxing day that helped us celebrate one of the most special days in our lives!
Yesterday, we embarked on our annual pilgrimage to Berrima which is a small village in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. It is approx. 1 hour South of where we live. We drive down there on this weekend every year, sometimes for the weekend, sometimes to spend the day there like we did this year.
Why Berrima? It is the place that my (now) Wife, Susan finally said ‘Yes’ to me asking her out to dinner, after declining me 5 times back in 1994. We were down there as friends collecting some items for a Christmas party that a Dog Club (that Susan was the Social Secretary of) was holding.
We had lunch at The White Horse Inn and it had such a romantic feel that I felt compelled to ask her out ‘just one more time…’. I did and she said yes! 🙂 After that we visited some of the shops (which are tourist orientated) and then went off to Berkelouw’s Book Barn at Berrima, which, back then held about 250,000 books. Unfortunately, the White Horse Inn has not been open for a number of years now.
Fast forward to this weekend, we have to do it in reverse these days as Berkelouw’s had to change to economically survive by reducing the amount of books (to about 100,000) and diversifying into a Wedding Reception venue, a restaurant/cafe and a wine-tasting venue. They close at 3.00pm each day for functions, hence the earlier visiting time. This was a shorter visit for us this time as we both found 6 books each within 1 1/4 hours. Normally it takes us longer.
After that, we took off to one of our favourite ‘Vintage-ware’ shops called “Sticky Beaks.’ We love visiting shops like these as they bring back a multitude of memories of things that were used in the past and one can pick up interesting curios, as we did again today.
Susan managed to pick up a tray that converts into a Grazing platter. Functional and artistic, I’m sure we will pit it to good use.
From there we set off to our lunch booking at Josh’s Cafe & Restaurant for a sumptious meal of Grilled Barramundi (a highly recommended fish in Australia), salad and then we shared a couple of desserts, ‘Pear and Rhubarb Crumble’ and Hot Chocolate Fondant, mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to have. 🙂 Deliciously decadent!
From there we visited Mrs Oldbucks Jam & Food shop and several other shops including a relatively new Berrima shop called, ‘Six Impossible Things’, the name coming from a Lewis Carroll story. It is set in an old Colonial cottage down a short pathway.
It was there that I purchased a glass Inkwell and some Calligraphy Ink. I had been looking for one of these for about 18 months. 🙂
It was a tremendous way to celebrate 27 years since we went out to dinner and for us there is no better place to celebrate it than where Susan said ‘Yes’ all those years ago.
On the weekend closest to the 19 November we head down to Berrima as it is the anniversary of us ‘going out to dinner for the 1st time.’ We have done this every year since 1994.
Why Berrima (as we actually went out to dinner to the River Canyon restaurant in Parramatta 19.11.94)?
Berrima was the place where Susan & I went on a day trip (as Friends) and she (finally) said ‘Yes’ to going out to dinner with me (having previously said ‘No’ 5 times…).
We did our usual stop at Berkelouw’s Book Barn and came away with some more ‘treasure’; had morning tea at The Courthouse Cafe; browsed some more shops then had lunch at Josh’s Cafe & Restaurant before discovering more shopping treasure at an antique shop.
Here are a few images from another wonderful day spent celebrating our, ‘Other Anniversary!’
Last month, it marked 25 years since Susan and I went out to dinner for the first time. Every year since, we’ve celebrated the occasion by spending either the weekend or the day on or close to the day in November. We’ve been married now for over 22 years.
We normally celebrate it in Berrima, NSW as it was in Berrima that Susan finally said yes to going out with me (after saying no, 5 times). What changed, you might ask? There’s a little more to it but that’s a story for another day.
Berrima, as ‘Aussie Towns’ states is ‘a historic village driven by tourism and handicrafts surrounded by farming and grazing, coal mining and cement manufacture.’
We always have a meal or two down there and although the order of things has changed over the years, there are shops/places within the town that we always visit and others that ‘come and go.’
One such place we used to love was ’Sprinkles’, a Christmas shop with all manner of decorations for sale including those charming musical and voice or movement-activated decorations. It was such a treat and we used to by a special decoration there each year. Sadly, the owner retired a couple of years ago and closed it down.
Another special place is Berkeleouw’s Book Barn which used to have 300,000 second-hand books. It now only holds 200,000 as the owners diversified (to stay afloat). It now has a Wedding Reception Centre, a Wine-Tasting facility and a coffee alcove and a restaurant where the eating space can be enlarged as some of the sturdy bookshelves are on wheels, thus can be wheeled towards the other bookshelves that line the walls to create more room for tables.
As a bookshop it has a different charm now to what it used to have. Not better, just different and we still enjoy ‘unearthing book treasure there!’ It’s great that they also retained the grand, old fireplace which is surely needed in the colder months in the Southern Highlands.
There are many other shops, including ‘Mrs Old Bucks Pantry’, ’Six Impossible Things’,’The Bay Tree Gallery’ (that has a wide variety of Artistic endeavours on display/sale’, ’Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium’ (which is like 10 shops in one), ’The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop’, ‘The Brown Shutter’ but to name a few.
As you can see, we love our trips to Berrima. It’s a special time for us and our visits there have added so many more special memories along the way.
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month