Destinations, Feature Trips, Food, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Sedgefield and Knysna: Another Edition of Oregon Twinsies

October 2, 2012

Proteas and fynbos for sale at Wild Oats Farmer’s Market, Sedgefield, South Africa

Can’t help it: I’m always stacking the world up against Oregon. My home-state is in my blood, and I’m proud of it.

Local food? Gorgeous scenery? Check, check. Good friends? Double check.

Thanks to relationships built over our month-long stint volunteering at Carmel by the Sea, Ted and I were treated to a little taste of home way on the opposite side of the world.

Our new (and hopefully life-long) friends Gary and Susan surprised us on our last weekend at Carmel with tickets for a cruise on the Knysna Lagoon, gifted to us by the organization in thanks for our time volunteering. (No thanks needed, though! We’re still thanking them for three meals a day for a month and a beautiful retreat on the Indian Ocean…)

The Saturday itinerary: straight out of the playbook for a perfect day at home. Imagine a community farmers market (with a little taste of Eugene’s Oregon Country Fair thrown in the mix), and then a trip up to Oregon and Washington’s Columbia River Gorge for scenic views across majestic cliffs and waterways… Got the mental image in your head? (If not – here are a few cheat sheets from other visitors.)

Now just jump to South Africa, change the names, a few of the faces, and tell me if you see the similarities:

Ted, Gary, Susan, and me enjoying piping hot cappuccinos, spicy wraps, and those adorable stump-stools and breakfast tables in the forest

to meet your good friend,
it’s THE local scene
& a popular trend.
WILD OATS is the place
to buy eggs, jam & cream,
free-range poultry & meat
from pastures of green.
Find organic fresh veg
& local sweet cheese,
plants for the garden
& flowers to please.
For breakfast outdoors
find choices galore,
enjoy great country music,
& stay for much more.
come one & come all,
the folks who have been
say it’s really a JOL!

Musicians jamming near the entry gate, and a woodland setting buzzing with laughter and chit-chat and the flutter of birds…

Stalls of all kinds set up under the tree canopy

Tired dalmatians and bouquets popping with color

Ted purchasing fresh beans for our upcoming stay at Teniqua Treetops (hey, they said a French press was included in the treehouse kitchen – he wasn’t about to pass it up!)

Steak wraps spiced with chiles and pickled ginger…

…and orders under mis-heard names of “Eric” and “Dan”

Gary grabbing the Famous Smoked Snoek Pate in preparation for a picnic lunch

Finished up with breakfast: a little jaunt east on the N2 highway, and we were in Knysna.

(Side note: Knysna is doing interesting thing these days… When I was in Cape Town attending the International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress, I sat in on a fascinating presentation on biomimicry and among other things learned that Knysna is working toward becoming an exemplary community founded on natural principles. I’m excited to keep an eye on their future architecture, infrastructure, and economic development plans as they strive to become the “Nature-inspired capital of the world.”)

A gentleman up to his calves in the estuary waters along the Leisure Island shorelineLow water levels reveal a sea of greens and pinks…
…and tiny shells manage to make their way into the scrub
Down to the waterfront for a picnic lunchSafe harbor for boats that sail the turbulent channel from the Indian Ocean into the lagoon

And a few old vessels that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon…

Never let there be doubt: we love friends who love food!

Fresh baked bread, salami, butter, and snoek pate!Low-crowds in low-season meant no-go on the grand Paddle Cruiser or the John Benn, but the Spirit of Knysna carried us along just fine…
Arrival at Featherbed (You’ll just have to go yourself to hear the explanation of the name…)

Ted and me
Gary and Susan
On a wild ride up the mountain!
(Dad – a farm-equipment-flashback picture just for you.)
(And a Buck picture, just for the extended family.)

Higher and higher we climbed
To reach the breathtaking lookout (and group photo-op)

“The Heads” – Knysna’s sandstone cliffs falling into the swirling waters below.
To the right/south: the wild Indian Ocean
To the left/north: the beginnings of the Knysna Lagoon

So gorgeous. And (forgive the pun) such a perfect reminder of our own cliffs of splendor dividing Oregon from Washington along the Columbia River Gorge.

If you live there, love it.
If you miss it like we do, revel in the memories.
If you’ve never been – come up for a visit! (Just wait ’til we’re back in Oregon to host you.)

The four of us returned below to Featherbed’s coastal walk, and watched the waves crash and spray
We posed for more pictures (humor me, I remembered my tripod – and I was already getting a bit misty-eyed over the thought of leaving so soon the friends we’d just gotten to know so well)

Ted and Gary, ever the brave ones…
And a sunset return to the car, by way of the world’s biggest bottle of Tabasco (I just made that part up. I haven’t actually checked the Guinness Book of World Records. But regardless, I took this picture specifically for you, Meg.)
The drive back to Carmel at the end of a perfect day…

Maybe I am just making things up…but you fellow Oregonians out there – humor me: aren’t there at least a few resemblances to home?

Sedgefield’s Wild Oats Community Farmer’s Market = A Taste of the Oregon Country Fair

Lookout Above Knysna Lagoon = A View from the Columbia River Gorge’s Vista House

Gary and Susan = Foodie Friends Who Would Fit Right In (to our beer brewing, food swap organizing, raw-milk drinking, coffee shop loving, farmers market supporting life in Portland)

Yep, that’s what I thought…

WHAT TO KNOW (in South Africa):
Wild Oats Community Farmer’s Market – Sedgefield (About five hours out from Cape Town, just a bit east of George and west of Knysna on the N2 Highway)
“Join Our Festive Foodie Feast Every Saturday”
Every Saturday Morning Rain or Shine
(7:30-11:30 summer; 8:00-11:30 winter)

Featherbed Nature Reserve – Knysna Lagoon
Daily Departures:
10:00am – 4 hour tour with lunch
2:30pm – 3 hour tour excluding lunch

WHAT TO KNOW (In Oregon):
Our Favorite Farmers Markets:

Montavilla (we love our ‘hood!)
Lents International Farmers Market (wonderful immigrant and emerging farmers growing an delicious diversity of produce)
The Portland Farmer’s Market (because who doesn’t love eating Pine State Biscuits while shopping for veggies in the Park Blocks?)
One of Oregon’s Finest Overlooks:
Vista House
(the Historic Columbia River Highway and accompanying overlooks were built to highlight nature’s showmanship, and this spot high above the Columbia River Gorge is the perfect perch to take in a performance)

Lastly (just in case you can’t get enough Oregon references in your day), for more Twinsie Fun:
Portland, Meet Your Sister {City} 

This post is part of our €œtwoOregonians Tour the Cape series featuring quintessential and offbeat South African experiences, one-of-a-kind accommodations and beautiful B&Bs, respectful wildlife programs, social service projects, and landscape photography from the South African Cape. As always, all opinions, photos, and stories are our own; many thanks to our kind hosts and partners along the way. It was our pleasure to experience such genuine kindness and hospitality!

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  • Reply Carmel October 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Wow. That IS eerily similar to Country Fair and the Farmers Markets here. Now if only lunch included some delicious microbrew. The view might be worth the trade. ;)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I’m glad you see the resemblance, too! Ted was shaking his head at me a little: “Honey, you kind of go overboard about Oregon.” ; )

      As for the microbrew, my friend, you have nailed it on the head.

  • Reply Jane Sadek October 3, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Thanks for the link guys. Love your state!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      Jane, so glad that you were able to pay a visit to our beautiful corner of the world!

  • Reply Audrey | That Backpacker October 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    This looks like a fun market! The Dalmatian napping on the blanket looks so cute!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks, Audrey : ) He looked so, so content. Every now and then I think it would be seriously fun to have a Dalmation…

  • Reply Heather October 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    We are constantly looking for similarities between Denver and Portland, hoping to find a little piece of home from a far. Beautiful pics, would have loved to be at that farmers market! :)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      You really would’ve loved it, friend! : ) I was just talking about you today with some fellow cooking class attendees – we were discussing the lack of Trader Joe’s location in certain corners of the world ; )

  • Reply Anita October 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing these lovely stories from South Africa!
    The views from the lookout are out-of-the-world!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Glad you’ve been enjoying them, Anita! Thanks so much for reading along xx

  • Reply Ayngelina October 7, 2012 at 2:36 am

    South Africa is still on my list and you have given me more reasons to go.

  • Reply Agness (@Agnesstramp) October 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Great photos guys. Look like you are having a blast out there. Enjoy and wish you happy travels :)

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