Photo: Historic Stays.
Harvest Home is a unique heritage boutique hotel, nestled in the historic township of Avenel, which was a popular stopover point for drovers on their journey from Melbourne to Albury. Originally built circa 1870, the building has a rich history, with second storey added in the early 1900s. Harvest Home has been a hotel, a private residence, served as the town’s general store for many years; and in the 1980s, was a well-known destination for Melbourne’s elite. However by 2018, this grand dame was in need of significant repair when owner & host Samantha Lewis took a tour of the property. She instantly fell in love with building’s period charm and enduring sense of opulence – and knew then & there she wanted to bring Harvest Home back to life.
With the help of her family, a full restoration ensued, involving careful preservation of the charming period details throughout, including turned wood staircase, original floorboards, doors and windows, pressed metal ceilings, and multiple open fireplaces, with several in use. In the cosy bar area is a stunning coloured leadlight window featuring the hotel’s name, Harvest Home Hotel, and radial fanlight in the side entry door with three ‘H’ initials in ruby glass. The wide, shady wraparound verandahs with cast iron fretwork still remain, loved by guests for long lunches, sunset drinks, and to sit quietly with a coffee watching the sun rise over the town.
Each boutique suite has been designed to celebrate their unique heritage features, whilst providing modern comforts. Upstairs are four individually-decorated suites in the original hotel building. The grandest suite, The Overlander, features a king size bed and second room with double bed. A further two suites are downstairs, with access to the adjacent kitchen garden. In total, the hotel sleeps 14 guests, and cots and trundle beds can be supplied upon request.
All suites have their own heating & cooling, and coffee and tea making facilities, including Harvest Home’s own herbal tea blends, created in partnership with The Cottage Herbalist in Victoria’s Central Highlands. Ensuite bathrooms are equipped with shower or clawfoot bath, and complimentary Australia-made Ena Products made with pure essential oils.
A delicious continental breakfast is included in your stay, including gourmet granola and yoghurt, artisan sourdough and homemade preserves. On weekends when the hotel restaurant is open, Harvest Home’s chef can also whip up guest favourites including Avenel mushrooms, shakshuka (baked eggs), and giant pancakes.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, dine in the hotel’s intimate restaurant by candlelight and crackling open fireplaces. Menus by chef Martin Golding feature modern Australian fare with fresh produce from the on-site kitchen garden, accompanied by a bespoke drinks list featuring local award-winning wineries and distilleries. Should you choose to stay midweek, your hosts are happy to organise evening meals so you can still enjoy dinner in, along with a quieter ambience throughout the hotel.
There are several lounge areas throughout the hotel where guests are free to relax, play a board game, or toast marshmallows by the fire. Upstairs, you’ll also find a large terrace with seating and festoon lights, that’s perfectly positioned to take in breathtaking sunsets overlooking the pool and gardens.
Oozing French countryside charm, the garden is a hidden oasis – walk through the hotel gates where the fragrance of old roses hangs upon the air, dine under the glorious weeping Elm or in the picturesque gazebo. The expansive grounds, courtyard surrounding the pool, and romantic cottage gardens create an old world, European feel. Adorned in wisteria, the Pavilion, a conservatory-style outdoor function space, is the perfect setting for weddings and celebrations.
And if you’d like to take a little piece of Harvest Home away with you, next door you’ll find Oh Hay Babe, with a curated selection of local handmade produce, bath & body products and homewares available for purchase.
by Historic Stays