Georgia East is a Cape Town based blogger who stayed in Stanford in the summer holiday. She yearned for somewhere quiet and unpretentious, and found it on Instagram before turning in off the R43. She picks out the quirky, whimsical and classical features of the village.
I recently had the experience of staying in a village that by rights should belong in the English countryside.
Stanford, pastoral jewel of the Overberg area, holds a type of charm that harkens from a bygone era but without appearing twee. This town is no tourist trap. The rustic prettiness of the place was put there by the slow passing of time, not by a paint effect, and while modern integration is obviously present, it is understated. No food franchises nor department stores blemish the hilly main road. For that matter nor do traffic lights. And Stanford exudes the air of having a taste for the finer things in life. There is a strong emphasis on homegrown, homemade and houseproud. Fruit trees and green figs grow in abundance and two fresh produce markets are held weekly.
Perhaps the reason behind the town’s fertility is the water; fresh from a years-old underground spring, it gurgles its way through the town via aqueducts known as the leiwater...
...Stanford is not a town to go out in. The houses are built on overly-generous plots of land and verandas are a prerequisite. Think gin & tonic-fuelled garden parties during the length of the hazy summer, shady spots carpeted in pine needles and windfall acorns and a neverending chorus of frog song punctuating the still evenings. Enjoying home-cooked fare with my family in the little courtyard of our cottage allowed me to return to a time when food was not eaten on the go, with the cacophony of television as an accompaniment.
The best way to see the town is on foot. Follow the Wandelpad that runs past the old cemetery, under the milkwoods and through the reeds down to where the Klein River runs languidly through to the lagoon. We took a boat trip up to where the river forks and the mountains seem close enough to touch. The combination of mountain, sky and wide open spaces allows for breathing room. Life slows down, people say ‘good morning’ often and cheerfully, and the mutual respect that is present between locals is almost palpable.
In the weeks leading up to our visit, I discovered the accounts of a few Stanford-based Instagrammers and thus found out about what to do and where to go upon our arrival. @visitstanford, @graze_cafe and @whiskyandwanderlust all run visually appealing accounts that beautifully portray what its like to live in the Overberg belt.