Photo: Kate Shanasy.
It‘s four years today since collecting keys and embarking on the hugely challenging yet greatly rewarding mission that has been reviving Harvest Home.
The original 1870’s darling had been sitting empty when we discovered her in a state of great despair 2018. A couple of decades prior she was a playground for the rich and connected. Celebrity chefs featured, helicopters landed in the paddocks next door and people would party for days. Harvest Home put Avenel on the map and she was known far and wide across the lands!
I’ll never forget the day I first met her. My father and I were out the front unloading his ute as he’s brought a few things to town for me for a community event I was running the next day. The owner happened to be there and he offered to show us around.
I had no idea what to expect and to say I was blown away would be an understatement. The ornate ceilings, grand fireplaces, my jaw hit the floor as I entered the first room and I must have eaten dust the whole way around the building as I don’t think it closed! My poor Dad. I think with every discovery of each new detail, he knew what monster this tour was creating. He knows me too well to not have known what would come next. It looked so impossible, which is why it just had to be done. This incredible building, with all its charm, was just sitting here, unloved and falling apart, locked up and hidden away from the world, sad and lonely. She deserved more. I simply just couldn’t leave her there. Not now that I’d discovered her. We were supposed to be there that day, we were supposed to find her. It was to be my obligation to bring her back to life.
And now, four years on, two years riddled by lockdowns followed by severe staff shortages and then illness outbreaks, we feel lucky to still be here. We’ve survived, only just, but we’ve survived!
The support, kindness and enthusiasm from our customers, and the passion and loyalty from our staff have meant everything and are the only reason we’re still standing.
I just want to say a huge thank you to the extended HH family. We love you all, we love serving you, we love seeing your smiling faces and hearing your stories. Thank you.
Since the darling old girl missed out on her 150th birthday party due to covid pooing all over 2020, we’re throwing her a big bash in October. The Orlando Combo Jazz Band will be providing outstanding entertainment and we’re very excited to get dressed up, eat, drink, dance and celebrate Harvest Home with all her friends!
Harvest Home Avenel
A little bit about us…
Just off the Hume Highway in north central Victoria, less than an hour and a half from Melbourne lies the historic township of Avenel. Best associated with old Ned Kelly tales, the quaint town has a few new stories to tell now.
In the centre of town, on the corner opposite the old railway station you will find Harvest Home Avenel, a regional oasis – boutique hotel, restaurant and garden – disguised as an “old pub on the corner”.
Beyond the heritage exterior lay stunning manicured gardens surrounding a swimming pool with an abundance of separate private and unique dining spaces. As you walk through the front door you are greeted with a welcoming smile, grand fireplaces, ornate ceilings and original creaky floorboards, each room with its own character and tales to tell. The charming boutique accommodation breathes old world charm and integrity, having been renovated and decorated with love and respect for the building’s history. Antique windows, curated collections, fine linens and cosy textures will all lull you into a peaceful repose.
The dining menu by Chef Martin Golding features modern Australian fare accompanied by a spectacular bespoke drinks list stacked with wine, beer and spirits from award-winning wineries and distilleries, all of them local. Sustainably minded, many dishes comprise of home-grown ingredients from the kitchen garden or from selected ethical local suppliers. Kitchen scraps go to a local winemaker’s beloved chooks, and the favour is returned in the form of beautiful eggs.
Avenel sits in the centre of a largely untapped wine region and for too long has been left off the tourism map. With many reasons to visit, Harvest Home Avenel is the regional escape that has it all, accommodation, restaurant, café and regular themed events. Come up on a Friday night and slot in with the locals for the gin and whisky club, or settle in by the fire, wine in hand. Discover what the surrounding community has to offer and let the country hospitality warm your heart.