As we pull up next to the fountain, and I open the door to get out, Hot Husband says to me,
“You’re getting weirder, you know?”
“Yep!” I answer, as I slide out of the car. “You love it!”
And he rolls his eyes and smiles at the Girl Child and I, as we walk over to the fountain, and hold on to the iron fence surrounding it; eyes closed, just….imagining.
It wasn’t the first time that day he’d pulled over and watched me cross over a road, so that I could touch an iron railing, or place my hands against the warm bricks of an old building. He barely fluttered an eyelid as I ran my hands over the old timber barges on display, or as I stood in the middle of a museum exhibit space with my eyes shut, and my chin raised, just breathing in the history. As though, somehow, if I concentrated just hard enough, a little bit of the story may find it’s way to me, through a smell, or a texture, or a sound.
And even though he doesn’t even partially understand why I need to do it, he never questions it, bless his heart.
This weekend just gone, our family took a spontaneous little road trip to Echuca/Moama on the Murray River, and as is often the case with me and historical towns, I found myself completely caught up in the stories of the beautiful buildings, statues and fences around the place. When it comes to history, Echuca/Moama has got the goods.
I was in my own weird little heaven.
Usually, I’m on my own in these little ventures. But this time, the Girl Child joined me, sharing her own feelings about what she could see and feel, and well, it was just lovely.
Later that day, we sat aboard the Emmy-Lou Paddle Steamer, drinking tea and eating scones, chatting about the beautiful bush landscape along the riverside, and how it might have looked 100 years ago. We talked about how it might have been to be a family on a Paddle Steamer in that time: would we have been fancy enough to have had enough money for scones? Or would daddy have been felling trees on the river’s edge as a worker instead, as I scrubbed and wrung out clothes in a shack somewhere?
As we enjoyed being in each other’s company without the stresses of work, chores, or household bickering, it occurred to me that this little spur-of-the-moment trip was exactly what our little family needed.
If you’re a history geek like me, or you’re looking for a family-friendly holiday destination, I can’t recommend Echuca/Moama enough. I have no affiliation with the town, whatsoever, but I love sharing the things we have loved, and no kidding, we loved Echuca.
No matter where we went, and no matter what we were doing, the customer service and overall helpfulness of everyone we met was just flawless. So I’m going to mention a few businesses that we visited, in case you get a chance to check them out.
Now, go and touch some brick walls, fellow weirdos.
*Not affiliated with, or sponsored by any of the following*
National Holden Motor Museum Hot Husband was in Heaven here; in fact, I’m pretty sure I might have seen him with his eyes closed, breathing in the smell of hot cars, but perhaps I’m mistaken. This place had an incredible display of MINT old Holdens, which the lovely fellas there were happy to chat with us about, as Hot Husband reminisced about the long-lost love of his life, his HJ Premier. Amazing set up.
Echuca Historical Society Inc.We could have spent hours and hours here, exploring the old police cells, and the multiple rooms full of original artefacts, pictures and assorted displays. This is one place I’ll definitely be going back to, because I get the feeling, no matter how many times you go, there’ll always be something new to see, or something that you missed the first time.
Odd Captain Cafe & Bar had a beautiful lunch menu, and fantastic coffee, with staff that went out of their way to ensure a lovely dining experience.
Henry’s Bridge Hotel Echuca had the BEST mac and cheese (with brisket) that I have ever eaten, and the outdoor meals area was brilliant for us and the kids. Fantastic local beer on the menu too (just sayin).
Border Inn Hotel These guys brought the goods in the form of an epic breakfast menu, that easily accommodated our finicky dietary requirements. Delicious food, and really lovely staff.
Echuca Moama Tourism hooked us up with our tickets on the Emmy Lou Paddle Steamer, in case that’s something you’re interested at looking into. The Paddle Steamer was the Girl Child’s favourite part of the trip, despite being quite nervous about going onboard, and the afternoon tea was ridiculously delicious.
And finally, as we strolled along the street near the Port, we discovered an incredible little pop-up jewellery-making workshop for kids, where the kids were able to make their own custom bracelets. The pop-up is only going to be there for a few weeks, but the blokes running it are heading off to South Australia soon (with the adorable Sprocket, the studio dog), so check them out on Instagram @dap_school to see where you might be able to find them around Australia this year.