There is something special about the Red Feather Inn. It’s a feeling that can’t be truly expressed with words, a place that is beautiful in photos, but still, even they don’t do the justice of capturing that little je ne sais quoi that seems to ooze from the property. While a comfortable setting for one or shared amongst friends; it’s a place better shared with a partner, a person you love. It’s a place where romance seems to hang in the air, so it was no surprising to hear it’s a popular site for weddings, both local and domestically.
Only a short 15 minute drive outside of Launceston, go behind the scenery and discover Hadspen, a neighbouring town that offers easy access to the city while enjoying the peace and tranquility of being in the country. When I arrived it was past nightfall – car troubles holding me back – I quickly made my way walking through the dark grey painted gates, the patter of rain echoing on the shed roof nearby. I had to cross a lush garden to reach the warm amber lights of the sandstone reception building. Even as darkness blanketed the garden you could still tell that it was beautiful.
Key received and in hand, I opened the barn-style door to The Loft, my room for the night, and switched on the lights. On the ground floor, a large bathroom, with separate bath and shower atop golden sandstone floors. Walking up the wooden stairs to the loft a cosy space was settled before me.
A large bed dominated the space coloured with creams, soft browns and purples. A chandelier hung above the staircase, ornate, with tiny glass daisies hanging from beneath the lights. A tightly woven tribal patterned rug graced the floor, I knelt down to run my fingers over the tight weave. A bookshelf featured a few well thumbed titles above the ‘kitchen’ – a small mini bar, kettle and tea & coffee making implements. On the other side of the room, a dresser topped with jar of dried lavender sprigs sat proudly next to glossy coffee table books about Tasmania; I thumbed through one idly looking at the stunning vistas of what lay await for me to discover during my North-East coast road trip over the coming days.
Heading back downstairs to the reception building, also conveniently housing the restaurant and a number of the guest suites, I was ushered in with a smile and settled at a table. As I was bought a glass of wine, complimentary with the fixed three-course meal, I gazed around at the homey space the Red Feather Inn had created. Wooden tabled topped with tiny glass bottles holding fresh flowers from the garden, chunky water glasses found a home in woven baskets and a fireplace on the back wall. As I was read the evenings specials, I realised that I was starving, the anxiety of a flat battery earlier that afternoon had left me hungry.
In the corner of the restaurant a couple sat holding hands across the table. I later found out they’re both from Sydney and came down just for a few days to enjoy the food of Tasmania, the Red Feather Inn being highly recommended by friends – and they could understand why. Each time the wife tried a new dish the air was filled with sounds of delight as she traded thoughts on the food with her husband. The outcome always positive, though she seemed to particularly like the chocolate cake on the menu that night.
For dinner that night was a menu of locally sourced food, with vegetables grown – as much as possible – in the gardens of the Inn. I enjoyed the Cape Grim Beef Tartare served with potato wedges, the Wild Clover Lamb rump, delicately cooked and a beautiful rosy pink inside, on a potato mash with silverbeet & oven baked beef steak tomato and finally, for dessert I asked the chef to surprise me. Chef Lewis chose the Baked Apple Crumble with vanilla bean custard, which was undeniably the star of the show. Coming out of the kitchen at the end of the meal, Chef Lewis explained to me his inspirations, how he manages to grow tomatoes to such a big size (worm farming) and how he, a Brit, ended up in Tasmania – for love, of course!
Retreating back to The Loft, I settled comfortably into bed with my Surface2 tablet and checked emails while absently watching the small TV hanging in the corner of the room. If I had to pick at any part of my stay, it would have been the TV. At an odd angle from the bed, it was difficult to watch for an extended period of time, though I do understand it was probably put there due to the historic nature of the buildings – the Inn was built by convicts and some of the self-serviced houses for rent were where they slept. I didn’t have much time for TV though as the dried lavender, the smell that hung sweetly in the air, soon helped me drift into a sweet sleep, only stirring when the sun begin to rise behind the blinds.
The Red Feather Inn is a cosy romantic spot, perfect for a trip away with that special someone. If you’re unable to stay be sure to, at the very least, visit the restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night as the food served highlights some of the best fresh produce in the region. On site is also a cooking school that offers instruction in a number of fields, including French, Indian, Vegetarian and gluten free, Game cooking, Italian and Thai.
Have I got you curious? Have a look at the photos below to discover more about the Red Feather Inn.
From the Kitchen
Inside some of the Rooms
Into the Garden
The Cooking School
Now it’s over to you:
Where is the most romantic place you’ve stayed?
Red Feather Inn
42 Main St
Phone: +61 (03) 6393 6506
Rooms start at AU$250/GBP£139/€168
Cooking classes start at AU$195/GBP£108/€131
My trip to Tasmania was arranged by Tourism Tasmania,
part of their Go Behind the Scenery campaign.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.