Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The extraordinary Abbotsford Convent - a quick introduction

It's hard to describe how amazing the buildings of the historic Abbotsford Convent actually are (the photo above heads their website). The site is ENORMOUS. What an impression it makes. For some reason it reminds me of France. It stands so grandly in its grounds (saved from the developers by an extraordinary campaign over many years - hooray for the voice of the people) and we are so lucky to have it. This cultural precinct is now 'home' to artists, restaurants, a school, an outdoor cinema, function centres, galleries and much more.

Walking/Bike Path along the Yarra River

Abbotsford is the neighbouring suburb to Richmond and it really is a must see/must visit site. For me the best way to really 'see' the buildings is to approach along the 'mighty' Yarra River walking path (or speeding bikeway - so be careful!).If you do choose to walk to the Convent - which I recommend - then park the car at the eastern end of Gipps Street, Abbotsbord as close to the river as possible. (there is a huge Salvos store on the corner). Then walk towards the river but don't cross the footbridge (that's for another blog!). Walk to the right and down the stairs, turn left and walk along the river bank with the mighty (!) Yarra on your right. You'll think you are in the country and yet you are just 4 kilometres from the city centre. A 10 minute stroll will bring you to the convent - you won't miss it. Of course you can drive right to the door - but...
And suddenly there it is
I recommend you pick up a map and explore the grounds and buildings, take a tour, or just wander.
Unique one-off pieces to buy, commission or just feel
Walk though the grounds, visit the working artists studios (what talent we are producing), have a coffee or lunch at one of the cafes or take a picnic and relax on the lawns looking down to the river and across to Richmond.
Have a picnic under the trees

Enjoy an evening under the stars at the Shadow Electric Open Air Cinema. There are all sorts of Festivals held at the Convent including the Slow Food Festival. Just visit their website to find out what is on whilst you are staying in Melbourne.
Coffee anyone? Or fresh bread from the Bakery

Everywhere a reminder of its past

The sad history of the convent are for another time. In the meantime - take a wander and explore. This is now a happy, creative and rather special piece of Melbourne.
Farmers Market fresh produce

And it's right next door to the very special Collingwood Children's Farm (more later!) and the award winning Collingwood Farmers Market (more later!) which is held from 8-1 every second Saturday of the month.  Why not combine them all in a day long visit. Just a thought!

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