Last weekend, Francis and I went to stay at Forest Haven which is an all Vegan, Eco-Friendly Bed & Breakfast situated two hours out of Melbourne in the heart of the beautiful Pyrenees Region. It was such a peaceful and relaxing way to celebrate our anniversary/my birthday.
It was comforting knowing we were going to a place that would provide us with healthy, vegan meals and that we could just relax in nature, detaching from all the bright lights, sounds and stresses of city life. We made sure we took plenty of yummy snacks on the drive down!
When we arrived, we were greeted by the owner Jo, who had previously worked as the chef at Las Vegan in Melbourne for two years before moving to Beaufort with her partner Corey and establishing Forest Haven. Before the property was bought by Jo and Corey, it was owned by another couple who were also vegan and did not permit any animal products on their land. Jo and Corey have adopted the same principles and have been animal rights activists for years with a strong passion for the environment.
Forest Haven functions off the grid and uses solar power to run. We were educated in ways to save water, reduce our usage of electricity and conserve Earth’s precious resources that help keep our lives sustainable and ethical at the same time.
Francis and I stayed in Gumnut Cottage which provided a beautiful view of the garden and bird life. It was such a wonderful experience falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of nature rather than cars speeding up and down outside our apartment. We did not have a heater which made it a little bit cold but we were able to light a fire within the cottage and snuggle up with plenty of blankets.
At exactly 5:30 each evening and 8:30 each morning, Jo would bring our meals plus desserts to our door and set them on our dining table. Needless to say the food was the highlight of the trip!
Friday evening: I ate the Enchiladas with V Cheese, Salad, Corn Chips and a type of Chipotle Dip. Francis ate the Roast Veggie Pizza with V Cheese. Our dessert was a delicious Raspberry and Coconut Panacotta with Pistachios on top.
On the Saturday, we woke to the sound of birds chirping and a peaceful stillness you just don’t get in the city. For breakfast I ate a Tofu Scramble with Mushrooms, Onions, Tomato, Spinach and two pieces of Multigrain Toast with Avocado and V Butter. Francis ate the Mushroom and Spinach Pancake which was also accompanied by two pieces of Multigrain Toast. We washed it all down with freshly squeezed Orange Juice! We spent the morning exploring the gorgeous property which is currently being developed to one day host a sanctuary for rescued animals. It was nice seeing Jo’s very friendly dogs running around with plenty of room to play and explore. After a brisk walk through the brush, we jumped in the car and drove to the town of Beaufort which is gorgeous in Autumn; sporting reds, browns, oranges and yellows at every turn. The lady at the Information Kiosk provided us with maps to Mt Buangor which was only a 30 minute drive from the town and we made our way to Ferntree Falls which was completely isolated and enchanting. The water was so clean, fresh and pure. We spent most of the morning hiking through the forest, taking pictures and marvelling at the beauty that is in our own very backyard.
I would highly recommend visiting Mt Buangor and exploring their many walking tracks once you’ve made a stop at the Falls first!
Afterwards, we drove back to the town and ate lunch at the Beaufort Park Café which has a Vegan Coconut and Rice Dahl Curry. It was delicious and not too filling! The town was so peaceful and quiet. It was filled with antique stores, old-fashioned buildings and friendly people.
That evening, Francis and I ate the same dinner just in reverse! So I got to try the Pizza and he had the Enchiladas. She served Francis a slice of a Raw Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cheesecake and for me, a rich Pear & Rice Pudding. By the end we were incredibly full and satisfied!
We got our little fire going and stepped onto the deck to gaze at the night. Never in all my life have I seen so many stars blanketed across the sky. Even though it was freezing, we didn’t want to leave. It made me yearn to live in the country and always be exposed to fresh air and a natural environment that hasn’t been tainted by light pollution.
On our last day, Francis and I ate our breakfasts again in reverse. So this time, I ate the Pancake and he had the Tofu Scramble. We packed our things and expressed our heartfelt gratitude for Jo and her wonderful hospitality.
Even if you aren’t a vegan, I would highly recommend staying at Forest Haven just for the opportunity to connect with nature and leave your busy life behind for a few days. It really makes you appreciate the wonderful world we live in and inspire you further to preserve it along with its beautiful creatures.
Click this link below to explore the Forest Haven website – Jo has provided recipes to many of her delicious, cruelty-free dishes! http://foresthavenbnb.com.au/ Peace and Love Xoxox