I keep finding excuses to visit the Blue Mountains. Maybe it's all the lush greenery. Perhaps its the clean cool air. Pretty sure it has something to do with the escape from the hustle and bustle of Kingston without feeling like I'm too far away from civilization. Whatever it is, finally got me to stay overnight for the first time.
The 17 mile post is a trio of businesses located, you guessed it, 17 miles away from Kingston in the Blue Mountains. The father-daughter owned property is home to an organic farm, a cafe and a guest house where I spent my first night ever in the Blue Mountains.
Food Basket Farm
Their organic farm produces vegetables, herbs and ground provisions. On Mondays and Fridays they do a salad lunch box that you can get delivered in Kingston but if you're like me and prefer to make your own salads, you can purchase the salad greens from them to last for the week. I don't get to visit as often as I'd like so I was happy to discover that their premium mixed greens (lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, mustard greens) are available at the Loshusan Supermarket in Barbican.
This second part of the 17 mile post is a regular stop over for me on the way to Holywell National Park (fave!) so I've had breakfast on the way up and lunch on the way down. Up to the writing of this blog post, I've yet to experience dinner there but it's definitely on my foodie bucket list. The cafe is farm to table which means the ingredients they cook with are grown right there on the farm. Even the water is bottled on site...pretty sure the bacon and flour are store bought though.
If you've had enough of brunching and dim-sum in Kingston, take a drive up to the 17 mile post for some delicious food in the fresh mountain air. No matter the meal, I never skip the mint lemonade and neither should you. Just be sure to use your paper straw to muddle the mint a bit so you get the full effect of the flavor.
Mount Edge Guest House
Some trips are meant to be enjoyed with your favourite person because there's no way you can sufficiently describe the experience for them to really get it and the pictures just don't do it justice. A stay at the Mount Edge Guest House is such a trip. Whether its a best friend or a significant other, an overnighter at the 17 mile post is better as a shared experience.
I went too late for dinner and as it was already dark, I abandoned my original plan of hiking from Red Light, the last little district before arriving at the 17 mile post, and called a taxi instead.
Express Taxi Service charged $4,000.00 one way
This was from my home in Barbican directly to the Guest House. The road is smooth (except for about 50ft right before you get to the 17 mile post), the road is winding, the road has a few hairpin curves so if driving up for the first time, be alert. If prone to motion sickness like myself, I recommend driving with the windows down and resisting the urge to be on your phone because holding your head down to read anything at all will make it worse. The whole journey up took about 35 minutes.
What to pack
By the time I got to the 17 mile post, it was freezing outside and I could have kicked myself for being so forgetful. The higher up you go the colder it gets, basic general knowledge. Unfortunately, in my haste to leave home I ignored the first rule of engagement with higher altitudes
Bring an extra layer.
Not one hoodie, shawl or cardigan could be found in my bag. Know what I had though? Flip flops. I left the warmth and brought beachy foot wear. Sigh.
I ended up layering t-shirts but it wasn't the same as being inside my pullover. Pack warm clothing and long pants whether it's denim or active wear, you'll be grateful for the coverage. Sneakers or some other type of walking shoes are a must if you plan to go outside at all.
Luckily, the interior of the small cottage I booked was well insulated against the elements and had hot water for me to chase away the chill.
Things to do
There is WiFi on property so catching up on a little Netflix is always a good idea. Breakfast isn't served until around 9:00 am so when I got up at 7:30, I took the opportunity to hike up the road a bit.
To pass the time, you can make use of the nice little meeting space right below the restaurant with instruments including a piano and an acoustic guitar, books and magazines. There's also a series of nude photos in black and white that you will find hanging on the walls in there as well as in the restaurant and the roadside restroom. Look out for them if you ever visit. I find them more artistic than pornographic which seemed to be the photographer's intent. Very amusing, at least, I think so.
The best thing to do at Mount Edge is relax.
I spent most of my morning before check out just sitting outside reading with nothing but the sound of the river below and the rapid fanning of humming bird wings to break the silence.
Speaking of wildlife...If you're afraid of lizards, this may not be the place for you. They are all over the property doing what they usually do which is avoid humans and get on with their lives but I've seen someone trip and fall because of a lizard on an opposite wall 10 feet away so I figured I'd give you readers a heads up.
In total, I spent about $9,000.00 JMD on this trip. After paying the $4,000.00 to get up there, I stayed in the Gong cabin which cost about $3,900.00 for the night (Prices vary per cabin so call them for a quote) and breakfast was about $800.00. I know I said I don't believe in staying anywhere that doesn't feed me the next morning but it was too good a deal to pass up. When I was ready to leave, I hiked for about two and a half hours downhill to Cafe Blue. I meant to stop and buy lunch but the bus for Papine got there at the same time I did so I hopped on and paid my $130.00 JMD fare. Then $100.00 from Papine to home.