St Albans, a tiny village on the edge of the Macdonald River west of Sydney, is charming and steeped in history.
When my pineapple-loving-friend, Linda, was visiting, we did the Sunday drive. I had been told by a couple of people that St Albans was worth a visit, but had no concept of why. So, we took a punt and headed off.
The road follows the curves of the river and the ferry glides us across to the opposite bank.
I love ferry rides. They seem part of another era, slower, simpler. The river has more impact from a ferry. The car and the ferry become one as we slide through the river's pull.
Our plan is to lunch at St Albans in the Settlers' Arms Inn, convict built in 1836. Again we don't know what to expect. We hope it will be open and that the food will be a treat.
On the winding road we are accompanied by motor bike riders and veteran cars. A good omen. They usually know where there is a special Sunday meal. Like a disjointed caterpillar, we all head in the one direction. Winding around the river's bends. Eyeing off houses perched above the flood line and animals languishing in the autumn sun.
St Albans does not disappoint. It is beautiful.
The Settlers Arms Inn.
The river is nearby, flanked by towering eucalyptus trees.
The houses close to the Inn ooze character.
It is market day. A blacksmith plies his trade.
The stall holders are very friendly, but this one is eager to head home.
As we drive the river home, a very, very recently born calf rests in the grass beside mum.
Off the beaten track.
A warming fire.
I'm so glad we went.
A hidden treasure in Sydney's extreme west.
Have you been to St Albans?
Have you a favourite place for great pub fare?
What do you think … worth a visit?