Christmas in July at The Robertson Hotel
30 July 2019 / Words by Tonia Ciacchi, Photos by Senia & Bob Gaunson and Bill Short
Everybody loves Christmas, so why not take the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in July! On Sunday, 28th July 2019, we decided to do just that. I was up early eagerly checking on the weather, and was really pleased to see it was going to be a perfect top down day.
Arriving early at Haywards Bay, Paul and I thought we’d be the first to arrive, but as we drove into the carpark we could see a few MX-5s already there. There seemed to be some confusion over the correct meeting time, but that didn’t matter, it just gave us more time to sit and chat over a morning coffee. Once the rest of the group arrived and everyone had said their hellos, event organiser, Jeff Rowe, gave us a quick rundown on the day’s events, before leading us out for the drive up to Robertson.
Although this was a route taken many times before, this time instead of going left via Albion Park, we went right and headed up Yallah Road. From there we turned onto Marshall Mount Road, which was a good plan with such a large contingent of cars, since there were no traffic lights to split the group. It also provided some picturesque scenery along the way, before cutting down through the new housing estate of Calderwood Valley.
From there we were back onto the Illawarra Highway and one of my favourite MX-5 roads in the area, up through the winding Macquarie Pass. Just what our little MX-5s love! Thankfully on this day, there was only the odd one or two slower cars breaking up the group, and an obligatory motor bike tearing up the mountain.
But on a perfectly sunny Winter’s day mother nature didn’t disappoint, with streams of sunlight shining through the beautiful rainforest canopy. Add to that the sounds of these cool little cars powering up the Pass … awesome!
Finally, we arrived at our destination, the historic Robertson Hotel. Built in 1925, the Robertson Hotel is steeped in history, and was the perfect location for a traditional Christmas in July lunch. As we walked into the foyer adorned with tinsel, baubles, and Christmas trees, we certainly felt the warmth of the Christmas spirit … and the multiple log fires burning around the hotel.
After a quick re-group in the Lounge Room it was time to go to the Dining Room. There we needed no direction to our table, as our large group took up almost half the Dining Room with two long tables by the windows. Although it was a tight squeeze between tables, the young wait staff did a wonderful job of navigating the narrows without upsetting any diners.
First course was a delicious Roast Butternut Pumpkin Soup, but after Paul and I cracked our Christmas crackers across the table, my trinket ended up in the soup, and I realised … we really should’ve done that before the soup was served!
As we shared our Christmas feast we were treated to the melodious sounds of a skilful young man playing the harp, and as I drank my glass of deliciously warm mulled wine, I was transported back to my youth. My Mum used to make mulled wine and burn out the alcohol, so us youngsters could drink it, and there was nothing better to warm you up on a freezing cold night.
Savouring our main course of sumptuous roasted turkey, ham, and chicken, the Dining Room was abuzz with the sounds of old and new friends making new memories, and the occasional crazy dad joke … compliments of our Christmas crackers and always good for a laugh!
But suddenly our attention was drawn to the sound of bagpipes being played by the same skilful young man who was earlier playing the harp, and heralding the arrival of Santa Clause. For our final course I was glad when a plate of Eton Mess was placed in front of me, because I didn’t think I’d win a swap with Paul, for a classic Christmas Pudding.
Lunch over and tummies full, it was time to retreat the Lounge for a final relaxing drink. We found the perfect spot on a comfy Chesterfield lounge in front of the fireplace, with a bowl of yummy marshmallows nearby just begging to be toasted. But one should remember after picking up a marshmallow, that the next thing you touch … like your wife’s black jacket … will be white! Oh boy!
In attendance at the lunch were 58 members from Illawarra, Sydney, and RPM Chapters, and our thanks go out to Jeff and Pam Rowe for organising an enjoyable day out.
The weather was perfect and the drive was fun, the lunch was delicious and the staff at The Robertson Hotel were great, and most importantly, the company was terrific. We look forward Christmas in July 2020!