Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tasmanian Road Trip: Kempton, Population 358

Eric in Front of
Huntington Tavern
Rolling green hills, small farms, and quaint towns dot the landscape on the road from Hobart to Launceston.

Our first stop was Kempton (population 358). The first thing you noticed in Kempton are the sheep, which are pastured in the backyards of many houses. Before the advent of the railroad, Kempton was a major coach stop and boasted 11 inns. Today, there's just one inn and a scattering of beautiful buildings, including a Roman Catholic Church that has been converted into a private residence by a German expat.

Once a Catholic Church
Now a Private Residence
We were feeling fatigued (still suffering from Jet Lag) and wanted coffee. The only restaurant was the Huntington Tavern, the largest building in town. The parking lot was empty and there were no signs of life, so we assumed the place was closed; but eventually, we noticed the posted hours. It was scheduled to be open so we tested the door and walked in. We saw no one, and were ready to leave, but the proprietress heard us and warmly welcomed us in. We asked for coffee, and she replied, "Will plunger coffee be okay? I was just making some for myself." Actually, we prefer filtered coffee or French press coffee (plunger coffee, as they call it here). The plunger coffee was good and a nice break from the espresso drinks people seem to prefer here.

As we chatted with our hostess, a couple of the locals happened in for an afternoon beer and we got into a conversation. They offered us a sample of "sars and beer" (sarsaparilla mixed with beer). This is a local favorite, so it came with a story of when the mainland soft drink company took over the sarsaparilla maker and for a time, stopped making it--triggering an angry protest and much worry in central Tassie. Anyway, after an hour or so, we needed to move on, so we said goodbye and continued up A1.

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