"I often arrive at quite sensible ideas and judgements, on the spur of the moment. It is when I stop to think that I become foolish."
The day started with a box of brownies. I was on my way to Fouriesburg from Clarens when I saw a camper van parked at a picnic spot next to the road, so I made a spur of the moment decision to stop and have a break and a snack. What a lucky decision! I met the lovely owner of Gosh Baking in Durban, and we had an hour long chat about living life with no reservations, trusting your gut and the value of chocolate. She sent me on my way with a gift box of the most delicious brownies I've ever tasted and R200 for my Greenpop fundraiser!
The road from Clarens to Fouriesburg boasts some of the most beautiful scenery that can be found in the eastern Free State. Kilometre after kilometre of rolling farmlands, rocky outcrops and sandstone mountains meant that there was never a moment of boredom along the way. On the way I also passed Surrender Hill, a historical landmark of the Boer War.
After braving the last steep climb to Fouriesburg, I stopped at the crossroads of the town and the Caledonpoort border post into Lesotho. On the corner is a little gem of a stop: Jenlee's Country Shop and Bistro, which I promptly stopped at without thinking twice. The old sandstone farmhouse was rebuilt on the stand about ten years ago, and owner Liz and her friend Jenny saw an opportunity for a homey stop for travellers passing through their little town on their way to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. They opened up Jenlee's Country Shop and Bistro and slowly started building it up with hard work, donations and loads of faith. Today, it is a family paradise with a playpark, petting zoo, bistro and a collection of interesting shops run by local inhabitants of Fouriesburg. Artist Chris Freeman, originally from Knysna, runs the Off the Wall shop where he sells beautiful timber decor and sculptures that he makes form old wine vats.
One of the main attractions at Jenlee's Country Shop and Bistro are all the animals that roam the property. Liz is constantly adopting abandoned baby animals, and her pet angora goat Annie, is constantly begging for attention and a snack!
As you walk around the property, your eyes dart here and there to take in all the interesting pieces of rustic art and memorabilia that is dotted through the garden, shop and bistro. The whole atmosphere is one of warm hospitality and down to earth homeliness. Liz is a warm and generous hostess that quickly offers a warm drink and a plate of food to weary travellers, and she graciously offered that I camp on the property where she made sure I had a warm shower and breakfast the next morning!
Liz and I had a cup of tea and a long chat about scaling down and taking time to enjoy the small things in life. What makes Jenlee's such a special place for me is the fact that it is a true co-creation and collaborative effort, made possible by Liz's inclusive attitude and love for her neighbours. The property is creatively evolving all the time, and I can't wait to stop there again to see what new delights she has on offer! If you're traveling to Lesotho on the R26, take the time to stop in Fouriesburg - you won't regret it!