Paterson Lodge -Coming home to mum’s
Hitting the pillows and getting a good night’s sleep in a bank might be a bit of an unusual proposition, but in the quaint, historic town of Paterson, you can do exactly that. Designed by renowned architect G.A. Mansfield and built between 1897 and 1902, the utterly charming Paterson Lodge we see today started its existence as the local branch of Commercial Banking Company of Sydney (CBC).
Fast forward to lockdown 2021 when siblings Andrew and Kayleen Robards and Kayleen’s partner Andrew Bignall bought the building, fulfilling their long-held dream of owning a bed & breakfast in a country town. They have respectfully updated and rejuvenated the property but kept the myriad heritage features, including working fireplaces in all but one of the six guest rooms, all of which feature their own spacious ensuites.
“Our great grandparents lived in Hollydene near Clarence Town, so there definitely was a connection to the area for us,” Kayleen explains. “We wanted to offer warm and welcoming country hospitality, with freshly made, simple food like you would have at your mum’s.”
The on-site café is open to guests of the Lodge and to the public on weekends. It serves a hearty, cooked breakfast (think bacon and eggs, sausages, and grilled tomatoes) as well as a continental option. The lunch menu features sandwiches, and a cheese or ploughman’s platter. Leaving room for homemade scones with jam and cream is a must.
Paterson Lodge is a perfect base for exploring the historic town and the wider Hunter region beyond. Officially proclaimed in 1831 and named after Colonel William Paterson, the first known European venturing into the area in 1801, the young town’s fortunes were closely linked to trade via the Paterson River, which entered a long-term decline over the second half of the 19th century. The railway arrived in 1911 and by the 1930s the last of the cream boats visited the area. Why CBC commissioned such a substantial, prestigious build in a difficult period for the town is anyone’s guess.
Yet it wasn’t until 1978 that CBC closed their branch, and the building became a private residence. After a major renovation it first opened its doors as a bed & breakfast in 2005. Picture yourself on the upstairs verandah or the front porch, cuppa in hand, as you watch the town slowly awake to the fresh country air. Then start pondering whether you want to head to Tocal Homestead (a mere 4kms away), race down Dungog’s top notch mountain bike trails to the north, find inspiration at Maitland Regional Art Gallery to the south or savour a glass of crisp Semillon or velvety Shiraz at the wineries of Lovedale, Pokolbin, or Cessnock. Absolute bliss!
Head to patersonlodge.com.au for more info and to make a booking.