I am a fussy person when it comes to food, staying somewhere other than my own house, and generally not always comfortable in certain places. But with Farm Lodge and the owners Steve Biggs and Maureen Jonas (not forgetting Katie the dog) they make it perfect for that getaway from busy work life, and busy home life.
I recently did a surprise staycation on St Helena, at Farm Lodge. The occasion? Well my girlfriend’s lucky birthday – Boy was she lucky, a 5 course meal and a night at Farm Lodge and a morning tour of the grounds. It really was a holiday without even leaving the island.
The lodge itself
Farm Lodge has a massive amount of grounds to it, it features farmland with sheep, laying hens (around 38 eggs a day), Banana Trees, Coffee Plantation, a Bore hole to supply water and even the world’s most remote Rolls Royce Car – Still in excellent condition. Boy it sucks fuel though.
Staying there was a breeze, nothing was too much trouble for Maureen and Steve. I know both through family for a number of years. But having a chat over a “cuppa” tea was what made it more brilliant.
But there is something amiss here though on St Helena, and places such as Farm Lodge and other guest houses on the island. They’re not getting the guest from away like the used too. It’s sad really because places like Farm Lodge and others have so much potential. I won’t dwell on that too much, this is more of a “Good News” post.
Friday evening surprise dinner.
The dinner consisted of a 5 course meal. When Maureen told me five courses, I almost choked on nothing. I didn’t think I could get through five courses of food.
But they were good sized portions and the service was impeccable. Reminds me of the service on the RMS St Helena. Both Maureen and Steve used to work on the RMS ST Helena in the past, I think that’s where they met.
Upon asking Maureen about if she enjoys what she does, her reply was “YES” she does enjoy it. It brings a sense of joy to me to know that there are people in the tourist industry on the island that really do enjoy what they do, not just for a living but for the enjoyment of it. Maureen, from what I know, has worked in this type of industry for a very, very long time. So it shows through in her personality and work ethic, at Farm Lodge.
After the meal, we retired to the lounge. Fire place lit and burning, radiators pumping and the whole place felt so comfortable and were littered with old style furniture, framed photographs of Napoleon Bonaparte, and more. It has a sense of warmth to it.
After retiring to the lounge my girlfriend, her parents and I were given a “Tour” (Tour was a disguise for what was to come next) of the bedrooms within Farm Lodge.
All the rooms where clean, tidy and comfortable looking. Steve showed us around, giving us the description of each room, a bit of history behind Farm Lodge and various objects in the rooms or hallway. Upstairs there are three rooms. The first two were rooms with two single beds, the third room had a double bed, en-suite bathroom and toilet and three windows overlooking the farm and gut with lush trees and vegetation.
Then came the words “I believe madam this is where you’ll be staying this evening”….so calm, collected and professional the way Steve uttered these words. This was his way of telling her I had booked a night to stay at Farm Lodge.
Her reaction??? Speechless! She couldn’t believe what he had said or even couldn’t believe that she heard what she heard. It was the way Steve said it that I think caught her of guard. It wasn’t until I had collected her belongings from the boot of the car later, which she believed what was happening. Even more so I couldn’t believe if forgot the tooth brushes and tooth paste.
But….to my disbelieve Maureen and Steve came to the rescue and had spare toothpaste and brush. Again, 5 star service in my opinion.
That night we spent a few more minutes looking around downstairs and out on the veranda, looking around, admiring the place and its surroundings. This place has so much potential and all of this is through hard work, dedication and splendid service from both Steve and Maureen.
The following morning, breakfast was served at 9am but we were told its flexible and to come down when we wanted to. I made my way down, had a cup of tea whilst waiting on breakfast went back to the room with it. We both made our way down and breakfast was even more filling. Fruit, cereals, eggs, beans and toast. I thought I was going to pop.
Guided Tour around the grounds
After breakfast we were given a tour around the lodge’s grounds, from viewing the vegetable garden, hen’s coups and their eggs, to the famous Rolls Royce. We made our way to the Coffee Plantation and an explanation on that was given as well as the grazing pattern he has for the sheep. After this we were taken around to the bore whole, and given an explanation on how that worked, and then on to the “gut” where some banana trees grew, the pond, and then the mini forest with various plants and vegetation grew. This part was almost like being in a magical garden somewhere in a movie. It was unbelievable this was on St Helena.
After this we witnessed Katie (the dog) chase of a cat up a tree and she ran around the tree barking. It was quite funning but a good end to the morning tour.
I cannot thank Steve and Maureen enough for the weekend that we stayed at Farm Lodge, all I can say is that they are what the island needs more off. There are a few more here on island like them but we need everyone to be like that. The product of St Helena like Darren Henry (Inside St Helena) said on Saint FM, is the people.
The people are what makes this island, St Helena. Discover the secret of the South Atlantic? No, discover the people of the South Atlantic!
I would like to send a big thank you to Steve and Maureen at Farm Lodge Country Guest House, and I do hope that many of you reading this blog post will make your way to St Helena Island, and visit and stay with Steve and Maureen, that expensive flight from Johannesburg to St Helena, is worth it in this case.