I promised to tell you more about our visit to the tiny coastal town of Thirroul where we dined at Flanagans Dining Room. DH Lawrence stayed in the town of Thirroul while writing his novel, Kangaroo and the following quote is taken from the book’s opening chapters and describes the town as it was back in the 1920’s.
‘The town trailed down from the foot of this mountain towards the railway, a huddle of grey and red painted iron roofs. Then over the railway, towards the sea, it began again in a scattered, spasmodic fashion, rather forlorn bungalows and new ‘stores’ and fields with rail fences and more bungalows above the fields and more still running down to the creek shallows toward the hollow sea…’ DH Lawrence.
What we love about Thirroul is that if DH Lawrence was to return today, he probably wouldn’t find things were all that different. I love going to places that have somehow side-stepped the progression of time.
Our accommodation had been booked into a B&B and when we arrived at Glen Ayr Coastal Retreat the rain was so harsh there were rivers of water running down the street and so we parked outside the house and waited for it to ease up before trying to run for shelter with our luggage.
Finally the downpour relented (marginally) and so in between downpours we pulled our bags out of the car and headed into the Glen Ayr Coast Retreat.
Donna runs the Glen Ayr Coastal Retreat that is situated in the most desirable part of the town; the stretch that runs between the railway line and the beach. The house itself is over 100 years old and has been in her family since 1942. It was where her grandparents brought up eight children and in 1988 Donna purchased the property and has recently opened the B&B.
The self-contained and separate accommodation is situated at the rear of the property and is relatively new but has been built sympathetically to blend with the existing home.
The accommodation is spacious, comfortable and adequate. This is not an architectural or interior decorating masterpiece, instead what stands out are the homely touches, the freshness and cleanliness. I did find the interior wall colour a little overpowering and thought perhaps a more neutral colour would be less startling and give a greater feeling of space.
Listing the homely touches there were little boxes of homemade ANZAC biscuits, (Carl ate all of his before we’d even unpacked), a welcome fruit basket, a pantry stocked with every conceivable condiment and a complimentary bottle of wine. The room rate includes breakfast which consists of seasonal fruit, homemade granola or cereal, a jug of juice, excellent organic sourdough fruit loaf and inside the fridge there are eggs and bacon to make a hot breakfast.
However, after our dinner at Flanagans we certainly didn’t drink the complimentary wine and we were still too full the next morning to take cook ourselves an enormous breakfast with all the generous items provided.
Glen Ayr Coastal Retreat is in a very peaceful and serene setting with the room opening onto a private deck where you can sit and enjoy your breakfast or a glass of wine (later in the day).
What is lovely about staying in a B&B is that often the owners are happy to go to great lengths to ensure you enjoy your stay. When Donna heard we were dining at Flanagans Dining Room she very quickly offered to give us a lift. The B&B is so centrally located it is only a 3-4 minute completely level walk to the restaurant but due to the rain, we accepted Donna’s kind offer. Fortunately, by the time we left Flanagans the rain had eased and we were able to walk back to the B&B. We found the short stroll back just what we needed after the seven-course degustation meal.
Glen Ayr Costal Retreat is perfectly positioned for you to enjoy all that Thirroul has to offer. It is walking distance from the train station, you can walk to the local shops, walk to the beach, Olympic pool, park and playground and of course, Flanagans Dining Room.
For around $130/night including complimentary wine and breakfast, we found this to be extremely good value. For anyone wanting to dine at Flanagans but not drive home, I would recommend staying the night at Glen Ayr.
Glen Ayr Coastal Retreat: 19 Station Street, Thirroul NSW
Ph: 0402 507 985
Hotly Spiced stayed at Glen Ayr Coastal Retreat as a guest of the owners.
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