Character... Ashrowan's inviting lounge room. Photo: Brian Brownstein
Brian Brownstein discovers the home fires are burning nicely at this classic country house in Berrima.
Mirrors and paintings fill the lounge-room walls; antique furniture, bowls and trinkets enliven the room. Peek around a bookshelf and you see the unexpected: a piano, an easel, a sculpture of a Buddha.
Ashrowan B&B has character. "It's a patchwork," says Sue, our host. She's far too modest. It's clear a lot of thought has gone into the room's decor and it's a warm, inviting space.
The view from outside. Photo: Brian Brownstein
Just a short walk from Berrima's village centre, Ashrowan is expansive, too. Our rooms are in a separate guest wing, the Gardener's Retreat, furnished as fabulously as the main house.
There's a multitude of lamps and exquisite bedside tables. The bathroom doors have antique handles. And the retreat ticks all the winter comfort boxes: central heating, a wall heater and electric blanket.
There's enough space to hang your clothes and the view from the verandah to Ashrowan's manicured gardens and the valley beyond is stunning.
The Gardener's retreat bedroom. Photo: Brian Brownstein
Our bedroom adjoins a private sitting room, a cosy space with a log fire. Sue's partner, Phil, tends to the flames should you go out. This service, along with gestures such as fresh flowers by the bed and wine in the fridge, make us feel at home - except this is better.
And then we ate like kings at breakfast. Ashrowan's breakfast menu includes stewed rhubarb and an incredibly fluffy omelet, smoked salmon and sauteed mushrooms.
Later, in the village, we had a scrumptious roast vegetable pie with pesto, and potato and leek soup from the Gumnut Patisserie.
At dinner, the delicious food and attentive service at Eschalot Restaurant was memorable.
The restaurant owners grow their own vegetables and offer a vegetarian menu. Try the twice-baked goat's cheese souffle.
The deal-maker Ashrowan's blissful silence at night and restful daytime surrounds.
You can doze in front of the fire, letting the day pass you by, or take a stroll to the banks of nearby Wingecarribee River to look for platypuses.
Stepping out Berrima is built for browsing and enjoying the artisan, the home-made and the local. The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop has a huge choice. And stepping in for a drink at the family-friendly Surveyor General Inn, established in 1834 (and Australia's oldest continuously licensed pub), is a must.
The son et lumiere (sound and light show) at Berrima Court House, depicting a trial from the days of the region's white settlers, is worth a look and an historic walking tour along the Quarry Path by the Wingecarribee, taking in the Holy Trinity Church, is enjoyable.
Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.
Ashrowan Bed & Breakfast
Address 8 Wilshire Street, Berrima.
The verdict A charming B&B that's great for couples seeking rest and relaxation.
Price From $550-$600 a couple a weekend (two-night minimum stay); $770-$825 a couple for a three-night weekend stay. Breakfast included.
Bookings Phone 4877 2004, see ashrowan.com.au.
Getting there Berrima is about a 90-minute drive south-west of Sydney's city centre. Take the M5 south-western freeway to Mittagong and turn onto the Old Hume Highway. Ashrowan is near the old Berrima court house.
Perfect for A peaceful weekend with lashings of comfort.
Wheelchair access No.
While you're there Visit wineries.