Philda at word
Some text obviously came from our website, but whoever wrote this definitely had to have stayed here - I wonder who?
Built in 1861, Fairview Historic Homestead has been sympathetically restored to its original Cape Georgian splendour, and invites guests to experience elegant accommodation in the heart of the Garden Route.
On arrival, the gardens make a spectacular first impression and are undoubtedly the showpiece of the property. Lovingly curated into a fairy-tale expanse of arches, flowerbeds, flowing lawns, water features and clipped hedges, this magnificent space will steal the hearts of all guests, whether they have an appreciation for gardening or not. The striking Georgian house fits beautifully into this pretty scene and has been furnished with a collection of antiques and artwork that, together with the high ceilings and wooden floors, perfectly capture the grace of old.
Coming in different shapes and sizes, the guest rooms add contemporary touches to this antique feel, and are fitted with modern comforts such as free wireless internet, fans or air conditioning, heaters safes, bar fridges, tea/coffee facilities and flatscreen televisions with DVD players. Plump mattresses, dressed with cotton percale linen, mohair blankets and soft unicurl duvets, ensure that sleep comes easily.
Two of the luxury rooms, both of which open onto a fragrant lavender garden, have the comforting bonus of a fireplace. One of these rooms features a full en-suite bathroom, while the other has a wheelchair-friendly shower and can accommodate an extra child on a single bed. The other two luxury rooms- one with a full bathroom and the other with a shower- are situated upstairs. A smaller upstairs room is available for solo travellers who only need a bathtub, and can accommodate a second guest at a pinch. This is also the case with the economy room, which has been converted from a storeroom into a cosy guest room with an en-suite shower. Due to limited storage space, the economy room is best suited for overnighters.
Equipped with a kitchen and lounge, the self-catering annex is a sleekly modern two-bedroom unit which provides full access to the main garden and swimming pool, while also having the privacy of a back verandah overlooking its own pretty little garden. On sunny days, braais can be enjoyed here in absolute solitude.
For guests staying in the rest of the rooms, breakfast is certainly a highlight, incorporating fresh produce straight from the garden. The meal kicks off with unique fruit entrées and cereal, yoghurt and baked fruit compote, while in winter, warming maize porridge is standard fare. This is followed up by a mouth-watering main course during which guests can enjoy everything from eggs benedict, to omelettes, French toast and waffles, all cooked to order. A wide range of preserves, also prepared with produce from the garden, can be smothered onto fresh French bread from the local patisserie.
After this satisfying start to the day, guests can discover the beautiful sights and smells of the garden or lounge around the saltwater pool. Trips to various other gardens in the area can be arranged, and the staff will gladly assist with making dinner reservations or recommendations on some of the Garden Route’s wealth of attractions. To end the day in delicious style, a hearty dinner can be prepared for you at the guest house, either served in the dining room or delivered straight to your room.
Stander House/Fairview up for auction in 1978; 2 years after Mr Swallows bought the historic home from the estate of Blanche and Ethel Stander
In The Oudtshoorn Courant and Het Suid-Western on Wednesday, September 27, 1978, Brenda Hartdegen reported:
GEORGE: A magnificent leather-bound 260-year-old Bible was sold for R535 after brisk bidding at an auction of mostly antique furniture. The Bible was bought by a Cape Town dealer, Mr. H A Lammers, who flew to George especially to attend the sale. And he is confident that he will sell it immediately to one of several Dutch dealers who are out in South Africa from Holland to buy up all the Dutch antiques they can find.
Antiques in Holland have become very scarce and the dealers have now turned their attention to South Arica which is still regarded as a rich field for many Dutch antiques.
Mr. Lammers flew to George mainly to buy paintings that were to be sold at the auction. "But I found the painting very disappointing and not of a high quality and then I saw the Bible and I knew my trip to George had not been wasted. The only thing that worried me was that the auction was going so slow to start with that they'd never get around to putting the Bible up before I had to catch my plane."
The Bible, a Staten Bijbel, was printed in Dordrecht Amsterdam in 1719. It is printed in scroll print on hand-made paper. It is bound in leather with brass hasps and corner supports.
"What makes this particular Bible highly negotiable to an overseas dealer is that it is not a family Bible with limited South African connotations," Mr. Lammers said. "By that I mean the record of the family who owned it is not written in it."
But slipped inside the front of the Bible is a handprinted and painted certificate in Dutch stating that Sophia Anna van Straatenwas born on 5 December 1811, and baptised in the Cape Colony on 1 January 1812.
Bidding against Mr. Lammers Towards the end was Mr. Harold Groombridge of Knysna, owner of the famous genuine gypsy caravan that used to be parked alongside the national road at the Garden Of Eden.
Mr. Lammers said that he would have been prepared to bid up to R600 for the Bible. "I must be able to recover the cost of my trip to George and make a small profit when I sell it," he said.
The Bible belonged to Mr. E Swallow. Most of the goods on the auction sale were owned by him and were bought from the estate of the Stander twins, Blanche and Ethel. In 1976 Mr. Swallow also bought their historic home in Stander Street, built before 1890, for R33 000. He bought most of the furniture in the house at a later auction sale.
The house was also up for sale at the auction The highest bid was R25 000 but it is not known whether this bid was accepted.
Hundreds of people attended the auction which started at 9 am and lasted for most of the rest of the day. Another high bid was R850 for a beautiful old piano
Weekend Getaway: A historic homestead in George. Sunday Times Live April 2012 Article by Paul Ash:
"I'M tired of boxy hotels, and I've had enough of drek little B&Bs owned by poxy, unhelpful pinch-faced landlords and stuffed with décor from hell. There, I've said it.
Running a B&B should require a licence, where applicants are subjected to the same vigorous scrutiny as those who wish to own automatic weapons. Sadly, that is not the case, which means I spend an inordinate amount of time sifting through the dross.
George, as you may well imagine, is overstocked with B&Bs. The town has more accommodation options than Jo'burg has Tuscan palazzos, so I was well pleased, on my very first troll of the web, to stumble across Fairview Homestead, a former farmhouse, built some time after 1864 and sold to one Koos Stander in 1894. The family farmed apples and cattle until 1974, fending off the urban creep. Today, the homestead is an island of beauty in the middle of George's spreading metropolis.
I wanted, in short order, an airport pick-up, a good home-cooked dinner, a really decent bed - and character. Lots of character. Fairview has the latter in spades - you can see that from the website. But how about the airport pick-up - 20km is a long way to walk - and what about dinner?
The owners, Philda and Desmond Benkenstein, were away, and apart from their locum, Richard, who provided a cheerful airport taxi service, I had the place to myself, along with a Boxer puppy and a wandering cat. It's not every day one can play lord of the manor in a rambling Cape-Georgian mansion, and roam the rose garden like it's yours.
The Outeniqua mountains were lit by the last of the sun as the Boxer and I prowled the garden, crunching happily along the gravel paths, feeling the heat seep out of the day. I watched the mountain flanks turn red then fade into darkness as the night rose up; the Boxer uncovered a stiff, dead mole and its joy was unconfined.
Richard, meanwhile, made dinner. Bangers and mash with a salad sourced entirely from the garden. Fairview's vegetable garden is famous. As he served dinner, Richard noted - with some regret, I felt - that the only things that didn't come from the garden were the sausages and the bottle of red wine.
Eating food as fresh as that, there is a glorious stirring of the senses, and it is useful to be reminded of the fact that, once upon a time, we ate like that all the time and were probably better for it, despite constant anxiety about hungry sabre-tooth cats and competition from other gangs of foraging hominids . so no change there, then.
I retired to a Victorian bedroom with antique iron four-poster bed and chaise longue in front of the fireplace, a whirring fan by the bed and heavy wooden shutters to keep the night out, and slept the sleep of the just.
True to form - me wishing that perhaps the service wasn't quite so, well, obliging - there was a gentle knock on the door before dawn. Time to go to Mossel Bay to catch a freight train. But that's another story.
WHERE IT IS: On the eastern edge of George, 20km from the airport and 8km from Victoria Bay.
WHY GO THERE: The house is a classic Cape-Georgian mansion with a big enough rose garden for you to lose yourself in. Although the farm has been swallowed by development, the quiet and expansive grounds mean you are hardly aware that you are, in fact, in a sizeable town.
WHAT IT HAS: Two lovely big double rooms in the main house and an outside studio that also sleeps two. Breakfast is included and dinners are available on request. The famous garden - a good place to hide from the world for a while - is an attraction in its own right. Apart from the veggies, there is a formal lavender and rose garden and enough indigenous plants to keep local greenies happy.
WHAT IT'S LIKE: Impeccably clean, beautiful to look at, quiet and relaxing.
AND THE FOOD: Richard cooked an excellent dinner of bangers and mash. The salad ingredients had been growing minutes before reaching my plate. It really doesn't get better than that.
RATES: Superior room starts at R440 per person sharing, R390 per person in the luxury double. Single rates start at R490. There is a discount for longer stays.
GETTING THERE: Turn left out of the airport, then first right onto the R102, the pretty little country road that will take you into George and right across the bottom. It's much easier and nicer than using the N2.
CONTACT: 36 Stander Street, George, phone 082 226 9466, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, GPS co-ordinates -33.957083, 22.476804.
WHAT THERE IS TO SEE ON THE WAY:If you're staying for a while, check out the Outeniqua Railway Museum (2 Mission Road, George, phone 0448018288, open Monday-Saturday). The museum houses a collection of restored steam locomotives - many in working condition - and railway coaches from the country's golden age of rail travel. There is also a collection of historic vehicles, including a rare Brill SA Railways bus.
The museum is also the departure point for the Outeniqua Power Van, a converted railway inspection trolley, which runs up the beautiful Montagu railway pass that clambers over the Outeniqua mountains from George. The van makes day trips up the pass, stopping at various places for the passengers to alight and take in the view and learn something about the history of the pass. E-mail email@example.com or phone 044 801 8239 for bookings."
About the blog
This is the story of our house, lovingly restored and shared with guests and family since 1995.