summer to autumn

silhouette

It’s late on Thursday evening. Six past eleven, to be exact. The world seems quiet; inky black except for the occasional headlight beam from the highway. The skyline, once illuminated by clouds of rich crimson, has become embedded in a dense cloud of onyx. The air is heavy, thick with the scent of grass and scorched eucalyptus.

Despite being thirteen days into autumn, it was hot today. Yesterday was even hotter, a humid 37 degrees Celsius, or 98 degrees Fahrenheit (if you’re from the northern hemisphere). Even now, I can hear garden cicadas droning a final ode to the sweet heat of Australian summer. They’re working in well with the ice-cube percussion from my depleting water glass.

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Despite our recent uncharacteristically warm autumn weather, I’ve dedicated this particular post to the ‘official’ last days of summer that occurred two weeks ago. We spent four days at the seaside village of Gracetown (above) enjoying warm sunsets, cooked breakfasts, wine tasting and dips in the pristine blue sea.

If you’re a regular reader of The Mess, you might remember some previous posts about Gracetown, Margaret River and the south west region over the past twelve months. You could say that I’m a little bit in love with the rolling fields, artisan produce, deep red wines and friendly country folk. The rest of this post simply contains photographs and notes from our end-of-summer trip; however, if you’d like a bit more background to the region itself, click on the three links below:

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Any south west adventure always starts with a visit to Yallingup Woodfired Bread, a traditional wood-fired bakery that creates certified biodynamic sourdough, rye and fruit loaves. Owner Gotthard Baue is a truly passionate man who takes pride in his work (take a look at this video for an introduction to Gotthard and the bread process itself).

During this trip, we bought two loaves of sourdough and a dense and sticky rye ‘rock’ loaf that was divine with cheese. Some of the best bread on the planet, I’m certain.

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Upon arriving at our house in Gracetown, we happened upon this little guy:

spidey

He’s an Australian wolf spider. After relocating him from the bathroom wall to the garden, we took some photographs like the one above. I think he’s cute.

Overseas friends: wolf spider bites are non-lethal despite often resulting in a mild case of nausea, headaches and localised pain. Don’t let stories of spiders scare you off visiting Australia and/or the south west region. morries

The restaurant above is Morries Anytime, where we stopped twice for coffee, cake and morning eats.

Manager-cum-barista Alex Brooks makes arguably the best flat white in the Margaret River region whilst head chef Rosie Griffiths serves up nourishing, creative cuisine that showcases the best of the south west’s fresh produce. Love this place.

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Right near Morries is the Margaret River Fudge Factory with its spinning wheel of chocolate goodness. Beware the taste test boxes. You may never leave.

choc

beef

Pictured above is the Margaret River Farmers’ Market, a beautiful one-stop location for fresh, organic local produce, artisan cheeses, biodynamic meats and a range of other wares in the heart of the town centre. Open every Saturday from 8am – 12pm, this market has fast become a fresh produce hub for locals and tourists alike.

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*For some reason I just had to take a picture of this ink-scrawled face.

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One of my favourite stalls was that of the Margaret River Bakery. I’m in love with their danish pastries, baguettes and cakes. They also have a fixed location at 89 Bussell Highway where you can sample their wonderful cooked breakfasts, snacks and coffee. Go there. Your stomach will thank you.

bakerystall

It’s tempting to end with a clichรฉ by saying that ‘all good things must come to an end’. But instead, I’ll just finish with a photograph of Gracetown as the sun dipped below the horizon.

We returned to Perth late on Monday evening after a stop-off for dinner with Elissa in Bunbury. A great end to a beautiful weekend.

harborGoodbye, Australian summer. Until we meet again.

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54 responses

  1. Margaret River, has to be one of my favourite places to visit! That bread looks amazing, in all the times I’ve been down that way iI have never tried it. I’m sure that will change next time. A beautiful way to end the summer, except for that spider… thats just creepy…

    • Matt! You need to try it, I’d drive all the way to Yallingup for the bread itself (with some Providore evoo and dukkah… heavenly). Oh, and the spider? He’s cute. Except when he jumped out of the box, that was a little too swift for my liking…

  2. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I love the way that you write. I can hear the cicadas singing and the gentle lap of the water on the shore. I’m ready to join you. I have a feeling that even in the winter, it’s not going to be quite like our winter, and I’d be ok with that. Enjoy your weekend. xx

    • Thanks so much Julie. Yes, you’re right… our winters are relatively mild, usually sunny with cold nights and occasional rain. We’re pretty lucky in that way (except for the skin cancer plague over here… argh. That’s our punishment!). Hope that you have a beautiful weekend too! xx

  3. Such a fun read! Sounds like a great place. We’re slowly (too slowly!) turning from winter into spring, so soon we’ll be experiencing that delightful heat. I like the cooler weather, but we’ve had enough this year, so I’m looking forward to the change. Super post — thanks.

    • Yes, you guys definitely deserve some reprieve after your long and cold winter! Hope that sunny days and balmy temperatures arrive soon :) Thanks for the kind words John, I appreciate it!

  4. Laura, what an utterly delightful post with great writing and amazing photography – I truly enjoy your outlook on all the things that you write about and take pictures off. I am quite partial to the wonderful picture of the loaves of bread. It has been unseasonally warm here all week and we have been enjoying the outdoors quite a bit too – flowers, markets and even the first white asparagus of the season.
    Take good care – again, what a wonderful post!

    • Oh, thanks so much for the lovely words. You are the sweetest! The bread was amazing… I haven’t found anything quite as good in the city. If it was an hour closer I’d drive to Yallingup each weekend just to buy bread! Glad that you’ve been enjoying some warmer weather, albeit unseasonally. It’s been very long since I’ve eaten white asparagus… delicious :) It’ll be some months before Australian asparagus season hits again, so I’ll have to enjoy it vicariously through your posts! Thanks again lovely xx

  5. Goodbye summer indeed! I love your homage to the end of warmer days and the lingering of time at Farmer’s Markets. There’s something so wonderful about seeing produce, direct from where it’s grown and straight to the people. As for WA, it’s definitely a place I need to get back too and the Margaret River is on my must list at that.

    • Oh, definitely come and visit Alice! Margaret River keeps getting more wonderful in terms of fresh produce, ‘foodie events’ and wine tours. It’s heavenly. And I definitely agree re buying directly from the farmer. It always feels like such a privilege to be able to chat to people who are passionate about what they do! xx

      • My in-laws visited a year to two ago and they had the most wonderful things to say. The furtherest I got was Broome where I worked on & of for over a year. it was incredible, true paradise at Cable beach etc, ;)

      • I’ve only been to Broome once… it’s such a stunning place! Incredible colour contrasts. Such a unique landscape. Let me know if you ever come this way again… we should do a Perth foodie tour, Ms Alice! x

  6. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful trip :) Apart from that there spiderrrr (shudder) I’m in love with everything here! Officially in love with Australia.
    Oh, and spinning wheels of chocolatey fudgey goodness? I would NEVER leave ;)

    • Aw, the poor little spider is just misunderstood (I’m sure you’d think differently after meeting him. Or not. Actually, possibly not… ahem, I’m not helping things am I). Yes, you should definitely come visit convict country!! I’d take you on a foodie tour! xx

  7. What a gorgeous vacation for y’all to officially “end” the summer, even though it’s still been quite hot in your neck of the woods! It looks like y’all had a beautiful time… and what fun that you brought your camera along to document the journey!

    Happy autumn to you, friend! You’re entering my favorite season. Cherish it!

    • Thanks so much lovely, I appreciate it! And yes, it’s been a nice autumn so far… much cooler in the evenings (I even pulled a blanket over myself last night!). Hope that you’re enjoying the warmer temperatures of spring! xx

      • You’re welcome! I’m so happy to hear that autumn has been nice so far and that the weather is cooling down, especially in the evenings. I’ve been trying to enjoy the warmer spring weather, and I hope it sticks around before turning to be too hot!

  8. Look like a great end to your summer. I love the first few days into autumn where the evenings get a bit nippy. We’re slowly transitioning into spring, but spring is erratic in the Rocky Mountain region; beautiful sunny days interspersed with thick wet snow. The photos of your farmers market and the green, does make me ready for summer….a little bit at least. I’m not a heat person at all.

    • I’m not a person who loves heat either. My favourite things about summer normally revolve around fresh produce, sunshine and balmy evenings that can be spent outdoors! I’m loving the cool change though. So much nicer when you can snuggle under a blanket at night. Glad that you’re getting a bit of warmth and sunshine Nazneen, the Rockies sound beautiful… I’d definitely love to visit your part of the world one day! x

  9. Laura I don’t recall that wolf spider from when I lived in Perth. Maybe the thought was so awful that I erased it from my mind?!? Ok it seems you like spiders, but I’m quite scared of them whether they are poisonous or not (sorry!). I love the photo after the spider and the one of the fudge factory. I’m also delighted to see these photos and know that my brother in Perth also lives through colours like these :) xx

    • Hahaa… they’re mostly in the country Sofia. I’ve seen many spiders in the city including the similar Huntsman spiders but never the wolf spider. And yes, I do love bugs of all kinds… I think they’re fascinating. I’d probably feel differently if a wolf spider jumped on my face, but for now… it’s cute! And thanks for the lovely words. Perth is a beautiful place xx

  10. It is hard to say goodbye to summer – eking out the best of the final days. Looks like you did just that! Now it’s time to think of all the comforting winter foods ahead!

    • Ohhhhh yes. That’s the best part of winter, slow-cooked goodness that warms up the house as it cooks! Cannot wait. Don’t suppose you two fine gentlemen want to come around for dinner? ;)

  11. Margaret looks like such a wonderful place to visit! If I didn’t have summer & farmer’s market fever already, I sure do now!! Winter is finally fading here (though the forecast tells me we’re yet to get more snow tonightโ€“ ugh! It was finally almost gone!). Our little farmer’s markets pale in comparison to what I see in your photos, but I’m still excited for them. :)

    That spider (ahh!!) may give me nightmares, but I’ll just start dreaming of that spinning wheel of chocolate, and all will be well.

    Take care, and enjoy your last bits of summer! xo

    • Hahaa, aw poor wolf spider! He was adorable. But then again, I tend to think that all creepy crawlies (other than cockroaches… I just can’t bring myself to like them) are cute. Glad that you’re finally getting some warmer weather lovely. Yay, farmer’s markets are wonderful! Sometimes the smaller ones are even better as you get to really know the farmers in your area :) We’re gradually getting cooler nights over here. It never snows, but I am definitely looking forward to snuggling under blankets in winter! xx

  12. Gracetown sounds like a lovely name, and the photographs of the city provide further testament – easy to see why you went to Morries Anytime 2x- looks like a great vibe :) and ah, that picture of the spider is perfect.

    • I am so glad you liked the spider picture Jen! I think he’s cute but I can understand why most people think he’s a bit terrifying! Hope you manage to make it over to Australia one day, I think you’d love it xx

  13. Laura, the picture of little Mr. Wolf Spider made my day, so awesome! And great job pausing to feel the moment that is the end of a day. I long for open windows and the sounds of nature, alas we’re not there yet. In the meantime I’m happy to live vicariously through you, this post was very welcome to my summer-starved self :)

    • Thanks Jon! Yay, I am so glad that you liked the picture of ‘Wolfie’ (I’ve just decided that he has a name!). I love bugs and creepy crawlies of all kinds, I find them fascinating… so much detail in a little creature. Hope that you get some warmer weather soon and that all is continuing to go smoothly with the newest member of the family! You’ll be in t-shirts enjoying the balmy days of summer in no time! :)

  14. Laura, Laura, Laura. Not that I’ve been officially designated but I think it safe to say that me and my fellow arachnophobes were a tad startled by your newly-relocated garden resident. That eight-legged menace aside, I think it’s great how often you guys go out and see more than must the town where you live. You’ve a beautiful country. Why not take advantage of it — and the sourdough bread?

    • Ah, I am so sorry John! Haha, I guess it’s totally unexpected to have images of rather big arachnids on a food blog! He was lovely though. So cute (but I’m speaking from the point of view of a ‘bug lover’ so I do hope that the spider didn’t inflict too much trauma!). Glad that you enjoyed the rest of the post. I do love our country and it’s always so enjoyable to take the car out on an extended weekend drive! Thanks for the lovely comment. Oh, and that bread! Heavenly!

  15. I love posts like this because I get a virtual tour of beautiful Australia! I always wanted to get over to Perth… definitely one day ;) I had to laugh at that wolf spider- my husband hates them, that species in particular. He is convinced that we have them in the backyard (which we don’t) and anytime he gets a bite, he blames it on the wolf. I can’t wait to show him this picture, just for kicks! Enjoy the changing of the seasons (cool nights, comfy pants & red wine!) it’s one of the best things to look forward to :) xx

    • Hahaa! Oh dear, poor little wolf spiders! I think they’re a bit misunderstood. I do get a bit antsy when they jump but otherwise I find them fascinating. Aaron’s dad is pretty much the spider whisperer (if he saw this spider he would’ve just swept it into his hand and put it outside. We’re not quite that brave!) so I think I’ve come to realize that they’re just big bugs with no particular interest in biting people unless we provoke them. Have fun with the photo ;p And yes, loving the change of season! I wore a long-sleeved shirt for the first time in months over the weekend. Yay for cooler nights and red wine xxx

  16. Laura, such a beautiful beautiful post! and you’ve described Gracetown so beautifully! Rolling fields, artisan produce, deep red wines and friendly country folk. Love it!!! I have to say all of your photographs are SO beautiful, especially the ones with people in them. I can photograph food ok but I am horrible with photographing people. . there are fabulous and each one tells a story. I love this! I hope your autumn is as glorious as your summer was!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely words Alice! You are so encouraging, I really appreciate it! Believe it or not, I used to hate photographing people. Mostly as I felt really intimidated (like I was being a nuisance and getting in their way). I’ve improved a lot though and now I’ve started to realize that most people either don’t mind or don’t even notice. Weirdly, I do struggle having people photograph ME though! I do hope that you get to visit my hometown one day. I love Australia and its wonderful people. Hope that you’re getting some glorious spring weather now! xx

      • Most of my pictures are taken using a Canon 70D (a few with a 600D body). Most of these shots were taken with the 18-55mm EFS, just a standard zoom lens for daylight. It has image stabilization which is great. The low light images were taken using the 50mm (my absolute favourite lens of the moment)

  17. Ahhh Laura I could read a whole book of your writing! I adore following blogs from around the world because it’s such a mindbend to realize that as we’re celebrating the coming of spring, you guys are just entering fall! I want to be right there with you, listening to the music of your ice cubes and eating all the delicious pastries you mentioned. And the chocolate, always the chocolate.

    And you almost sold me on getting on the next plane to Australia, except for that wolf spider. Give me your non-scaredy cat ways towards crawly things, please? Then I’ll be good :)

    • Aw, the spider looks much scarier than he actually is! Australians get used to seeing creepy crawlies because they’re common place over here. By ‘common place’ I mean that they’re in most backyards… don’t feel intimidated, on a general basis I’d see a big spider less than once per month! I would love it if you came over to visit… we would definitely have a grand old time! Don’t worry, I’d protect you from the spiders, snakes and other things… me and the bugs, we have an understanding ;) xx

  18. Surely a most beautiful way to spend the last days of summer! Even with hairy spiders in the house ;-). We are at the opposite point over here – spring is at the doors, trees are short before getting all green and the air starts to smell lovely with lots of tiny flowers… Although I can’t wait to have fresh spring and summer treats with asparagus and Italian tomatoes on our plates, I look forward a lot to your surely great ideas for the colder and darker season, dear Laura!

    • Oh, I hope that you’re enjoying the start of springtime Claudia!! Your description sounds beautiful… it’s so funny to think that we’re connected through the internet but in reality, we’re so far away from each other! The hairy spider wasn’t so bad. I thought he was pretty cute, actually! Thanks for the sweet comment my lovely friend xx

  19. Awesome post, Laura! The atmosphere, the food and the spider! Lol… I just did a post on bugs too, lol… Looks like you had heaps of fun. This makes me miss Melbourne (my children studied there and we moved back to Sg last year. No! We moved back in 2012, oh how time flies!) and the road trips we had in Queensland.

    • Haha… yay for bug posts on food blogs :) I just took a look at yours, amazing photos! I’ve never been to Qld but I have some friends from Brisbane who tell me wonderful stories about their road trips up the coast. I’d love to travel there one day. Sorry to hear that you miss Melbourne… ah, that’s the drawback of traveling. There’s always something you miss about the place that you leave behind. I do love reading about your Singapore adventures though. So much amazing food… so jealous! x

      • i have relatives from my in-laws living in Perth and we visited twice. if i’d knew you then it would be fun to do some scouting around together. i love Fremantle mkt and spend a couple of months there when my girlfriend rented a stall for business. so many artistic people there. i love Gino’s and would be there daily from breakfast till 4pm. That was in the 90s. how time flies!

      • Oh yes, time definitely flies! Ginos is definitely wonderful, I love Fremantle in general. Perth has changed a lot in the last five years though, so much wonderful foodie goodness!

  20. Creepy crawlers would not lessen my desire to visit your side of the globe. A visit isn’t in our near future but I’d like to start seriously thinking about it in the next few years. So much beauty and wonderful food… and I think lovely people as well. Hope we are still blogging when we make the trip:)

    • Oh, I definitely hope that you make it out this way Wendy! I’d love to show you around my hometown :) I think you’d love it… very relaxed, good weather, good food… we’d be lucky to have you! x

  21. Oh to come and spend a lazy weekend with you in the South West! Sourdough bread, gooey cheeses, full bodied reds, feasting on fabulous fresh produce from the region and wonderful company – of course the wonderful company – would there be time to breathe with all the talking and eating that is to be done. Love the plant wall at Morries Anytime – just the inspiration that I need to transform the ugly concrete wall at the black of our house. Time to search out some wooden pallets and get creative I think. :)

    • YES. I would love you to come over here one day. Failing that, if I can afford it I WILL come and visit Jordan. Ah, I just need some sort of rich benefactor to pay my air fares!! One day we’ll meet up and have grand times filled with gooey brie and red wine xxx

  22. Pingback: Brookwood Estate, Margaret River « Laura's Mess

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