The Old Schoolhouse in Milton is astoundingly peaceful. It’s the sort of uninterrupted quiet (apart from the odd cluck from one of the resident hens) that lends itself to a good night’s sleep and a reprieve from the clang and clatter of the city. Owner Jenny Paul stumbled across the Old Schoolhouse in 2014. It was a fortuitous find – she was looking for a rural property to make her own and it was put on the market just weeks later. While the homestead – a beautiful old schoolmaster’s cottage originally built in the 1880s that Paul has lovingly restored – is the private residence, the property has two country-chic self-contained accommodation options for couples.
A one-bedroom apartment, The Loft, sits above the home. The Stables, which is studio accommodation, is in a cottage out the back. Both rooms have ensuites and queen-sized beds dressed in beautiful linen bedding. The Loft has a cosy open-plan living-dining area with a full kitchen, and balconies at the front and back looking out across rolling green pastures. The Stables – formerly Milton Hospital’s laundry room (it was moved to the property in the ’60s) – has a kitchenette with a microwave and a pretty front deck from where you can admire the chooks and the resident dogs, Molly and Tui.
Both kitchens come with all the trappings you’ll need to make breakfast the next day: eggs from the free-roaming hens, a rustic loaf of bread, jam made by Paul herself, seasonal fruit from the property’s orchard, muesli, yoghurt and milk.
Guests are free to explore the property. An orchard growing a host of fresh produce – including guavas, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, berries, macadamias and quince – takes up a quarter of the acreage, and you’ll spot the occasional bee buzzing out of the hives. When Broadsheet visits the crops are beginning to recover from the bushfires, which arrived almost right on the homestead’s doorstep on New Year’s Eve 2019. Wild animals and birds found refuge and sustenance in the orchard when drought and fire sucked the moisture, life and food out of the surrounding areas.
Paul is a font of knowledge about the local area – get her tips on where to dine, drink, hike and swim. Highlights of the surrounding area include the spectacular diner Small Town (get the lobster roll) and The Milton Hotel, with its own in-house brewery, Dangerous Ales. But if all you’d prefer to do is lounge around the property, there’s a tyre swing and a firepit for more wholesome pleasures.
Prices at the Old Schoolhouse Milton start at $200 for The Stables and $240 for The Loft.