Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spending the weekend at The Milk House in Hankey

The Gamtoos Valley west of Port Elizabeth is often just seen as the entrance to the Baviaanskloof yet its a tranquil and very scenic farming area.  I visit the valley a couple of times a year to participate in the annual Gamtoos Tourism Adventure Drive, the Citrus festival and the Patensie Boere Basaar.  This also means that I spend a lot of time in the Patensie area so when Carol Pearson of The Milk House contacted me to invite us for a Shot Left weekend in Hankey I jumped at the opportunity.  Hankey is the oldest town in the Gamtoos Valley and was established in 1826 by the London Missionary Society.  The town has one of the best 9 hole golf courses in the Eastern Cape and it's attractions include the grave of Saartjie Baartman, the Phillips Tunnel (the oldest irrigation tunnel in South Africa) and the Bergvenster (berg window). 
 The Milk House has two components to it.  Firstly there is the Farmstyle Bar and then there is the accommodation in the old farmhouse.  The Farmstyle Bar started out as a bar and restaurant that was open every day except for Mondays, but a huge demand for function venues has led to them making a decision to use the venue for functions, corporate events, private dining and social gatherings exclusively.  This hasn't stopped the regulars from still stopping by and popping in for a drink and a chat.  The Farmstyle Bar is also open to patrons staying over at the Milk House's accommodation for dinners and drinks.  We choose a cold and wet weekend to visit Hankey and spent the first evening cozy by the fireplace with a couple of drinks while the KidZ were playing games.  They don't have an elaborate menu and that is the beauty of it. Food made with care.  We all opted for the home made burgers and hand cut chips while a couple of other visitors tucked into calamari and fish.  The thick home made patty was perfectly cooked and smothered with a mushroom sauce while hand cut chips beats shop chips hands down any day.  The thing that The Milk House is best know for is their Boozy Milkshakes.  "What is a boozy milkshake?" you ask.  Well, its a milkshake with a little something added to it.  Good even on a cold evening.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the accommodation before hand but was pleasantly surprised when we arrived.  The old farmhouse has been totally renovated and fitted out with everything you need.  It's kitted out for self catering and sleeps at least 10 people with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge and dining room.  The second evening we had a braai under the verandah and spent the evening under a blanket in the lounge with the fireplace (which had a good supply of dry wood available) going.  Chaos Boy brought his Play Station along and kept himself busy while Drama Princess was "cooking" marshmallows over the fire and nagging us because her brother didn't want to give her a turn.  The next morning the sun was out and I went for a walk around the farm, checking out the citrus orchards and the old farm buildings, contemplating climbing up the ladder of the old silo but chickening out before I did one step.  The accommodation can be booked by individuals but is ideal for families or groups of friends for a weekend's getaway or stay over before or after one of the many events that often takes place in the Gamtoos Valley. 

I have to be honest that The Milk House was the last thing I expected in Hankey and spending the weekend not only introduced me to this wonderful place but also opened my eyes to what there is to see and do around Hankey as well.

Disclosure: We stayed at The Milk House Guesthouse and had dinner in the Farmstyle Bar as guests of The Milk House Farmstyle Bar
Our travel and other expenses where for our own account.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a very nice place. Give me Amarula and chocolate shake please.