Off The Beaten Path

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Once Upon A Time In Richmond

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The consequence of taking a slightly different path often erupts in extra-ordinary surprise. Somewhat out of context: Like a side glance of White Rabbit — late, according to his pocket watch, and in scurry to escape someone’s too vivid imagination.

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Travel offers real life fantasy around every corner if you only stand still for the moment; and like a quiet adaptation set in the English countryside, there is Richmond…Tasmania that is.

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Unless you fly direct to the state’s capital Hobart or enter from majestic sea surrounds, reaching Tasmania counts amid the final of approximately 12 flights on a typical cross-continental circuit there and back again; taking in all the high — and low points that comprise and compromise the Australian terrain.

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Without much warning, the Richmond personal perspective is an early morning diversion – when Hobart rooms are not ready, down a village road from the airport while a driver flaunts his hometown ties.

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Sleepy (and cranky) from all the side-steps of time and place “Explore Australia” mandates, the thought of detour is not amusing. Light rain…Again. Though last viewed adding color to Uluru’s outback, here rain seems routine and distinctively British amid this island green space near the end of the world.

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As we drive towards this destination I begin to notice how beautiful the place is, emerging through raindrops that pattern a window’s glaze. And I begin to soften, and remain so throughout the Richmond stay. We had an hour to rest, refresh and explore, not necessarily in that order. I thought this doable in the timeframe allotted as there was obviously nothing here.

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I might as well have dropped a house in Oz then slowly opened the door from B&W to Technicolor. Once out the coach the transition to an English countryside was complete. Through the mist “quaint” is immediately apparent, making this a local favorite in light of its contrast to the island’s prevailing city and coastal environments.

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Other words like romantic, picturesque and once upon a time are profoundly relevant. Everything but the Tasmania you came for, a place of unique and disappearing wildlife and last vestige of Southern Hemisphere before an Antarctic’s cold.

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Historic Richmond village is known for its Georgian style and other historic aspects that include the oldest Gaol (or jail) in the state, and complemented by St. John’s, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia. However Aussies feel about their British heritage at any given moment, Richmond can surely serve as a pleasant reminder of homeland past.

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The Richmond Bridge, still functional from an 1823 build, still captures the heart and imagination, particularly when viewed between a hillside and a Monet pond there beneath. Having a particular fascination with bridges, I have seen many but none quite as storybook as this Richmond Bridge and its countryside surrounds.

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A hill up, and a traverse past an assortment of ducks…Or geese, constituting still life on the move, are shops adorned in antique stone; a perfect place for respite and a bit of interface with folk who call this tranquil country environment home. Wine from fertile soil and homespun Arts and Crafts further compliment the tranquil scenario. With homey smells that greet head-on, there is an implicit invitation to sample baked goods over tea to further soothe from rain — now history, in the wake of a warming mid-morning sun.

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There are reminders of simpler days around every corner and pleasant experiences to soothe the most irritable traveler, nicely suited for a moment’s time or a well-placed future holiday.

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All photographic images (non-video) are © Pamela Kelly Phillips,
PK Phillips Photography, 2010

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