There’s an apocryphal story about a neighbour who wasn’t too happy with his new German neighbours on the Wortelgat Road outside Stanford. But the German neighbours invited him nonetheless when they opened their new restaurant… and he accepted.
During the long lunch at Springfontein Eats, he had a phone call from his daughter, concerned about the rising level of the Klein River which passed right in front of his home. He told her he couldn’t worry about it now, he was enjoying the meal too much.
His daughter called again half an hour later to say that the water was at the door. Again, he said the meal was too good to leave. Her next call was to let him know that the water was up to knee height in the house. He told her not to worry, the house was insured and the meal was truly exceptional.
Yes, Springfontein Eats is that good. And although it opened five years ago, it’s still producing some of the most memorable gastronomic experiences you’ll get anywhere.
There are always unusual things coming out of Stanford. Like the gygpsey caravans Howard Dunbar builds.
He’s built about 16 caravans over the past four years, mainly in two sizes — 5.4 metres and 3.6 metres. A fully kitted caravan — with complete solar power system, pumps, fridge, fitted kitchen and bathroom — costs between R135,000 and R175,000.
Howard Dunbar and his 5.4 metre gypsey caravan
Sleeping and living area
The kitchen area
Bathroom with shower, basin and composting toilet
Two smaller 3.6 metre caravans — a Vardo with vertical sides and a traditional Bowtop behind it.
Stanford Hills Estate has become the de facto community hub of Stanford. It’s child-friendly… and has one of the best kids’ playgrounds anywhere. It’s also pet-friendly and dog walkers from the village take to its hills every day. If you don’t have a dog to walk, one or both of Peter & Jami Kastner’s Ridgebacks will happily take you for a walk. And you might come across the weekly art classes, the weddings and other functions… and the music events. It’s a friendly, unpretentious and… to use a word Peter and Jami use often… rustic place to relax, stay, play and and enjoy good wine and food. Peter and Jami really do enjoy people enjoying the place and they make an effort to make sure that locals feel part of it.
Jami & Peter Kastner
Stanford Hills has grown organically. Unlike many wine estates, there was no corporate budget to support the farm. It grew as and when finance became available.
Peter and Jami never set out to be farmers. Peter had a restaurant in Hermanus and Jami a flower exporting business when they bought portion of the old Weltevrede Farm, which they bought for its flowers.
Then one self-catering cottage became two, AfriCamps was added with five luxury “tents”, and the Manor House was converted to cater for larger groups.
“It was originally a general dealer, then a men’s bar, a wine bar, a place to buy picnics, a function space — but it never quite worked. Then it occurred to me that Stanford didn’t have a museum — so I turned it back into a general dealer — as a museum.”
A compulsive collector since the early 1990s, Penny van der Berg, owner of the Stanford Hotel, has had so much fun with this corner-store museum, sourcing goodies from across the country and describing it as, “A little bit Selfridges, a little bit Stuttafords, using my own poetic licence.” Continue reading →