Pic­ture per­fect fam­ily break

AMITA JOSHI and fam­ily find ful­fil­ment on the Cor­nish coast

Harefield Gazette - - LEISURE -

LET’S get the stereo­types out of the way. Cor­nish pasties were par­celled bun­dles of sheer joy. Cor­nish cream tea did made me re­alise how lit­tle I care about my sugar in­take, and proudly so.

And min­ing his­tory was ev­ery bit as cu­ri­ous as we were told and took us to weird and won­der­ful sites.

Speak­ing of min­ing, be­fore our fam­ily of four (five if you in­clude Simba the dog) set off for our break, I’d been do­ing a bit of dig­ging my­self into peo­ple’s trips to the pop­u­lar spot.

Corn­wall evokes an avalanche of mem­o­ries for vis­i­tors, but the snip­pets cap­tured by dif­fer­ent peo­ple don’t al­ways knit to­gether to make one pic­ture of the place.

A cou­ple at work spoke ten­derly of beau­ti­ful coastal walks and na­tional trust sites.

On the other hand, one friend re­called his hos­pi­tal trip af­ter a night of in­dul­gence at a surf­ing party. An­other re­mem­bered her first sip of boxed wine on a Newquay camp­ing trip, early teens.

Clearly it does “some­thing for ev­ery­one” well, but how about when all those ages come to­gether and hol­i­day to­gether? Be­fore set­ting off for the Bri­tish beauty that is Corn­wall, I col­lected a com­pre­hen­sive guide from those who fre­quent those coastal bays.

The usual, where to go what to eat, what we can’t miss. Two days into the hol­i­day, we glanced at the list ev­ery­one had so lov­ingly con­trib­uted to.

Be­cause – and I’m only slightly ashamed of this – we hadn’t re­ally ven­tured out that much just yet. And the rea­son for that was our lodge.

For four days, we were stay­ing at Gwel-an-Mor re­sorts in Portreath, a lit­tle fish­ing port on the north coast of the county.

As our tyres ground to a halt on Thurs­day evening af­ter a long driv­ing stint, all we wanted was to un­wind. Of course, that meant en­tirely dif­fer­ent things to each of us.

I wanted to curl up with a book, fa­ther Joshi would fi­nally get a chance to catch up on The Archers af­ter fail­ing that at­tempt in the car, mother Joshi sim­ply wanted to get as far away from a kitchen as pos­si­ble and my teen brother wanted noth­ing more than to feed his Youtube ad­dic­tion and hop onto the near­est wifi.

But we were en­tirely dis­tracted when I turned the keys and stepped into Mi­nack lodge.

It was a warm, beau­ti­ful open spaced wooden in­te­rior, not dis­sim­i­lar to a ski lodge.

The floor we came into was di­vided into three vast rooms, each sleep­ing two, choco­lates on pil­low, dress­ing gowns on the beds and wel­come note on ta­ble. Nat­u­rally mother Joshi shot­gunned the mas­ter bed­room with the out­door pa­tio, where the sound of a hot tub bub­bled invit­ingly.

Ven­tur­ing up­stairs, a large open-plan kitchen, fire place, bal­cony and liv­ing room awaited.

A pile of board games were stacked on the ta­ble, be­side some Enid Bly­ton clas­sics.

A bot­tle of Healey’s Cor­nish Cy­der farm ap­ple juice lay next to a slab of Cor­nish but­ter and home­made jam.

There were even Cor­nish baked dog treats (gone in a mat­ter of sec­onds). This was not the place for our usual reclu­sive an­tics.

This was a place where pic­ture per­fect fam­i­lies who shop at Har­vey Ni­chols took a break from their per­fect lives to ex­pe­ri­ence a per­fect stay­ca­tion. So that’s what we did. We played per­fect for the next four days. And per­fect it was. I started Fri­day morn­ing with a spa treat­ment and af­ter feel­ing thor­oughly re­plen­ished post full body mud mask, took the day to ex­plore our new home. We had cof­fee on the bal­cony and watched the waves change from indigo to aqua.

We lis­tened to the chick­ens and the goats, part of the site’s Feadon Farm. The evening was spent bub­bling away in the hot tub as we en­joyed the clear skies and the si­lence of Portreath, punc­tu­ated only by the ther­a­peu­tic sounds of farm an­i­mals.

The coastal view was sheer, breath­tak­ing es­capism, and there was a feel­ing of be­ing truly sat­is­fied.

That night, we dined at the on-site restau­rant The Ter­race. Four veg­e­tar­i­ans hoped for the best as we or­dered warm olive bread with bal­samic and olive oil, mush­room risotto, and three sweet potato pies.

I’ve al­ways been sus­pi­cious of food which comes out too fast, but our pies, a huge por­tion of steaming whole­some flavours of lentils, caramelised onion, cour­gettes and with a base of Gor­gonzola ar­rived af­ter a good time.

De­li­ciously creamy, the pie wasn’t a veg­gie afterthought and af­ter a gen­er­ous help­ing of Cor­nish vanilla ice cream, four very con­tent Joshi’s wad­dled back to Mi­naks.

On Satur­day morn­ing, wellies and sun­glasses were donned and we met Gary Zam­mit who runs the wildlife cen­tre next to the lodges.

We fed goats (named af­ter the re­sort’s staff mem­bers), tended to chick­ens, stroked rein­deers, stretched out our arms for the ele­gant Sly, the barn owl, laughed as he curled up a lit­tle white fer­ret into his arms and cooed as he showed us the baby mice. And hes­i­tantly touched an adder.

But most re­mark­ably of all, we fed four foxes who were res­cued by the cen­tre and since looked af­ter by Gary and his wife.

They were mag­nif­i­cent in their fiery or­ange glory, step­ping up to my hand as I pat­ted them on the head.

Gary made us laugh through­out, ev­i­dently knew ev­ery­thing there was to know about the cen­tre they so lov­ingly nur­tured, and we left feel­ing like it was the best way to start a fam­ily morn­ing, for young or older.

Af­ter, we fol­lowed “To the Beach” signs, walked com­pan­ion­ably for 20 min­utes, where af­ter we ended up at Portreath bay, unas­sum­ing and beau­ti­ful with a white light­house to com­plete the pic­ture per­fect scene. Simba was thrilled, crash­ing against the waves with his tongue lolling out as he eyed other dogs play­ing in the dis­tance.

Gwel an Mor, per­haps un­ex­pect­edly, bought seren­ity and con­tent­ment to a fam­ily whose ideal hol­i­day would mean dif­fer­ent things for each per­son. The lo­ca­tion, the lodge and the views was just the break we needed. And Simba fully ap­proved, mak­ing it a full house of happy hol­i­day­ers.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Gwel an Mor visit www.gwe­lan­mor.com/

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