On Thursday night we took a picnic to the Hunter Valley Gardens. Though don't try and take it right onto their grounds because you will be told by the officious counter girl that though she is terribly sorry (as she grins from ear to ear) it is private property and you can't take your own food in. But naturally there is food on site that you can purchase. Of course there is. Don't ask too many questions because her reason will frustratingly evolve from private property to their insurance not covering you if you have an anaphylactic shock (from eating something you prepared yourself as opposed to something they've prepared from who knows what). Riiiight.
No worries then, we'll just pop over there and have our tea on the lawn first then, shall we. So our group of 12 shuffles out to find a spot to gulp down our tea and get back inside for kids' Christmas concert...oh, and more thing, she'll also forget what's going on and put you through another few paces when you try and re-enter sans picnic with the printed docket she gave you for re-entry. As she puzzles over the docket, something to the tune of "but you've already been here today" (only if you're counting the 3 steps and breaths we took before being apprehended by you), "...and now you want to get back in?", "I don't understand". Genius.
All of that being said it really was the most fantastic evening. The lights were spectacular, the atmosphere was wonderful and the entertainment lovely - a little concert, piped music through the gardens, carolers and an impromptu visit from the pretty amazing Jonathan who was funny in that layered way Pixar movies are where there's something there for the adults too. The kids loved it, the grown-ups loved it and a good night was had by all. Absolutely worth a visit if you're up this way, I certainly plan to go back again before the season is over, I just won't pack a picnic.
The Storybook Garden.