You will be amazed when getting out on the open road what exciting art and craft ideas found on road trip which can inspire either a new business or craft idea. When Marion and I set out on our road trip to Port Alfred, we decided that we would be stopping whenever an interesting place caught our attention.

The whole idea of this trip was that it would be stress-free and fun, and it sure was.


Marion and I packed most of the things into the boot the night before and then to take care of the stress of packing the car, we asked my dear son, Greg to come along and help with the heavy items.

My Brother embroidery machine, for example. No, don’t laugh. I don’t usually carry it along on a road trip, although I have done in the past

A dear friend Ronwyn, in Port Alfred, was requiring my help with her new Brother embroidery machine and so that is why mine went along. The only problem was that I found on arrival and wanted to get busy, that, to my dismay that I had unfortunately left my embroidery rewriteable cards at home. Bother!

On arrival in Port Alfred, Michael, Ronwyn’s son, and his lovely wife Susan, were there to help with the unpacking of the car and also to take Marion to stay with them in Grahamstown. Marion is Susan’s Aunt which I only discovered when chatting to some of the ladies in the garden one day. I mentioned how excited I was to be going to Port Alfred to visit my friend Ronwyn.

Marion was in the group and asked if I meant Ronwyn Webber and when I said yes, she and I were both surprised to find that there was this amazing connection.

It was decided between ourselves and Susan that I would take Marion with me on the trip and gosh we had so much to talk about we didn’t even need the stack of CD’s I had taken along to listen to.




For all the unfortunate people who have not been on a road trip along the Cape Garden Route, they won’t know about Dassiesfontein and all the Excitingl Art and Craft Treasures to be found there.

Stopping at Dassiesfontein is a real treat. Not only for their food and good coffee but the whole ambiance is unforgettable.

To get to Dassiesfontein one needs to go past Caledon and then it will be seen on the right-hand side of the road, up on a rise.

The view from the car park is stunning. One can see for kilometers across the wheat fields to the mountains. Quite breath-taking.

It takes quite a while to get into the actual building as there are so many interesting things to see on the large veranda before entering the first room. The building is made up of interleading rooms and each room has its own character.

For anyone starting up a home or wanting unusual things for their home or to take home to their friends and family, or just some interesting mementoes to
remind them of  their visit, this is the place to visit.


Dassiesfontein,dining,roomWhat a feast for the eyes.

As one tucks into a large farm breakfast or delicious cake, what really (takes the cake) is the vast number of stunning, sparkling chandeliers.

How I wish I was living in a house with high ceilings and not a flat. It would have been wonderful to come home with one of these treasures to give my place some pizzazz and bling it up.

Besides the chandeliers, there are other unusual items of interest. Old black coal stoves and grates. Basketwork, Knitting wool and patterns.

After feasting, both eyes and mouth, it is time to wander around and seek out more treasures.

It is such a feast for the eyes and can also spark of many ideas for creating some very  exciting Home Business Ventures.  There is no way one can not be inspired to do something either to one’s home or let your imagination run riot to what one could do.

The person who decided this old farm homestead would make a great business venture is to be commended.  Many visitors from all over the world must have stopped over and spent some much needed rest time meandering around the premises.

Even if they were not tempted to buy anything (not likely), they would need to rest and have a bite to eat and drink.



We discovered one room with large wooden boxes filled to the brim with the most wonderful array of doorknobs.

They are indescribable as there are so many to choose from. What a difference using these on a chest of drawers or cupboard these would make to give a bit of character.

It gives one such inspiration for either making something like this ones-self or buying them to dickey up an old item to make it more special.

The number of leather handbags and shoes was fantastic and so tempting. Most women love both bags and shoes, so it took a lot of self-control for Marion and I to get out there without buying anything.


One really needs to have planned the trip carefully to take all this in and know that you won’t have to rush on before it gets too late. Thankfully, that is exactly what we had done so were able to, wander and wonder, at will.


I am hoping that by showing you some of the many the photos I took, it will do this amazing place justice and tempt you to take a road trip along the garden route and enjoy the experience it all for yourself.


Swellendam,lunch,breakIt is customary for me to stop at Swellendam for lunch and that is exactly what Marion and I did and we weren’t disappointed.

Our choice of food wasn’t the usual Hamburger and Chips, but rather decadent, a scrumptious pancake with banana and ice cream. Who could resist.

What makes it so special was sitting in the shade of the beautiful pergola covered by grapevines. Very restful, especially as it was a rather warm summers day. It was the need to get on the road again that prompted our reluctantly getting up and back into a very hot car.

Thank goodness for air conditioning. Whew!


What a wonderful welcome we received upon arrival at Elodie’s’ lovely home in Knysna. She, Hazel and Piçquita, the Chauwawa were ready for us. After unloading our overnight bags we settled in. We had so much catching up to do as I hadn’t seen these dear friends since they had both lost their husbands.


We have all been through so much together, marriages, births, loss of children, now husbands and starting over again. It is so special to have time to share our stories and take comfort from one another.

Although I know I have not lost my husband to death, due to having Lewy Body Disease, he no longer knows me or our children. He is in a vegetative state, no longer to move, speak or do anything at all. We, as a family, have been mourning the changes in him for close on 9 years. He is being cared for in a Frail Care Facility.

How relaxing it was for us to stroll around the Knysna Waterfront, looking at the shops, the EXCITING ART AND CRAFT  ideas, and also at the lovely views across the Knysna Lagoon to the Heads. What a treat to spend a quiet time taking in the sights and just chilling together.

Before making our way homewards, we decided to have dinner at a well-known Restaurant at the Heads. What delicious food. Well fed and rather weary, we wended our way back to get in a good nights sleep.

The next day was spent doing a bit of retail therapy at the lovely shops in Knysna, took a walk around the neighborhood and just relaxed in each others’ company.



We left Elodie and Hazel around 8.30 to begin the next leg of the trip. No plans to stop off at Port Elizabeth on the way there but had an unexpected stop at the Craggs to visit with some friendly bikers for a while.

It was great to reminisce about my “biker chick” days. They were on a breakfast run to Storms River Bridge. What fun!


Many travelers who regularly go down the Garden Route will know by now that the Nanaga Farm Stall, well known for their delicious pies and bread, etc. have now built a really big and gorgeous property at the Alexandria/Paterson
/Grahamstown/PortElizabeth Interchange.

Marion and I stopped to sample their pies and coffee and were just as thrilled to see that there was also a gas station there as my tank was getting perilously low and I was not sure if we would make it to Alexandria. Whew! the relief.

The pies were just as good as ever and the shop such a pleasure to walk through and bought the most fabulous natural honey. None of that doctored stuff with syrup and water etc.

So many lovely things to temp one and the most fantastic range of ice cream flavors (all natural) which we had on the way home.

Very substantial helping it was too.


The road through Alexandria is such a pleasure to take as it sweeps through the lush green valley where cattle graze happily and, of course, chicory is grown around there too. The trees have such a distinct shape, which is so synonymous with the Eastern Cape which has a special place in my heart.

On our arrival in Port Alfred, we were given such a warm welcome by Ronwyn and I spent three wonderful weeks with her. Seldom have a laughed as much as I did in that time. We laughed until our stomachs hurt. It was such a liberating feeling.

More of Port Alfred, my time with Ronwyn and all the fun we had will come in another post.


There were a number of things I wanted to achieve by going on this road trip.

  1. To see if I had the spunk to drive a long distance, having not done this for many, many years. My husband enjoyed driving and so I seldom drove when on our many road trips.
  2. Visiting friends of long-standing. The friends we stayed with have been dear friends of mine for 54years. Elodie and Hazel made us so very welcome. We stayed with them in Knysna for two days on the way to Port Alfred and then two days on the way home again. What a refreshing and fun break that was and although Marion had not met them, they all got on famously. Thank you so much for the wonderful stay,  on the way to and from Port Alfred.
  3. In Port Elizabeth, it was important for me to visit very dear friends who were members of our Congregation when Matt was the Minister there. It was wonderful to see his Pastoral Assistant and her husband and two daughters.
  4. Glenda, also in Port Elizabeth was Matt’s secretary and a very close friend throughout all these years. Also, her daughter Jenny and little grand-daughter Hannah. Such fun and mirth were had with them.
  5. One of the other people I saw was Hilary, whom I have known my entire life as her parents and mine were friends since before I came along. With Hilary, I had the opportunity of seeing the great work she does with recycling and teaching people to use the cardboard and plastic for making furniture. Amazing work Hilary does which get rid of these waste products and turning them into functional items.
  6. The last couple I visited in Port Elizabeth has been close friends since Matt ministered at St. Columbas in Perridgevale. They were the first couple we became friends within the Church after our first service. Cynthia came up to me and thanked me for the invitation to tea, which I knew nothing about. Our two sons, hers and mine, had set it up. That was the start of a lovely friendship with Donald, Cynthia and their two children, Fiona and Peter.
  7. To get some #excitingartandcraftideasonroadtrip to use at home and also to write about in my blogs.
  8. Lastly, it was to get to Port Alfred to stay with Ronwyn. She and I met in the Grahamstown Hospital, when she had Michael and I had Greg 48years ago. We have remained close friends since then and spent many wonderful times on the farm with their family. Playing tennis with Ronwyn and friends while Matt was a student at Rhodes University. Great times were had while living in Grahamstown, and on our subsequent visits to Neil and Ronwyn.

After achieving all these goals ……………


This time I will be flying as the distance is too great and will take three days there and three days back. That will be a precious time I could be spending with my beloved brother Myles, his wife Daphne and their family and another beloved friend I have not seen for a while. Yippee! The travel bug has bitten.

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. Hi Jill, 

    This is a lovely writeup about your road trip and I must say it’s worth writing about. It’s glaring how much you put in word to make the readers almost feel the excitement you experienced. I love the goals you set before embarking on the trip and how you achieved and documented it. Will really love to read more of your blogging. Keep doing the good work. 

    • Wow! Ayodeji, Thank you so much for these wonderful comments on my post. I hope I managed to make you feel like making your own road trip one day. It gives one so many new perspectives of life and how to live it. All the best.

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, and makes me want to go on a road trip too, I also wish I knew about Nanaga when I was in South Africa, because those pies sound delicious, South Africa is so beautiful and so rich in culture and diversity.

    I love the photos you took, I also love the sound of pancakes, bananas and ice-cream yummy, thank you for this post.

    • Hi Rose, It sounds as though you should come back again for another trip.  As you say, there is so much diversity in Africa. So much to see and do and mostly with fantastic weather.

      Thanks for enjoying my post and the photos I took. We really had a blast. Well worth the time away.

  3. Growing up in PE, these are all well known names to me. Going off the beaten track has always yielded a number of gems in these so called “one horse towns”. These towns are largely able to maintain their authentic feel based on that larger chain stores overlook them as potential markets for entry.

    I am a avid motorcycle enthusiast and I must admit that there is no better way to experience these sorts of trips than on the 1200 GS. There is something special that connects the rider to the environment in a way that cars do not.

    Thanks for a great read and bringing some great memories back.


    • Hi Rich, It was my pleasure to do this trip and am so pleased it brought some great memories back to you. The back roads are such fun to travel as you never know just what might be around the corner. How I wished I had more time to do a lot more of these trips.

      Thanks for enjoying my post.

  4. Sounds like you had lots of fun and that there was more than enough to see.

    Crafting never really disappoints! The place looks really amazing, and makes me wanna come visit😍. 

    I’m gonna follow you on Instagram to keep up with your amazing travels. Maybe that will inspire me some more.

    The experience really sounds relaxing.

    • Hi Angelia, Thank you for reading and the lovely comments you gave on my post. It was a wonderful experience and I am in awe of all the amazing craft people out there who make so many beautiful things. 

      This was a trip well worth making.

  5. Hello Jill,

    Thank you for sharing this great informational article .I really learnt great ideas from it, personally,. You have written lots of helpful article which encouraged lots of people.I will definitely be back to your website for some more of your helpful information on a lot of topics.I am bookmarking your article to share with friends.thank you again

    • Hi Usman, I was so touched by your comments. You brought tears to my eyes. I love writing and sharing the journey I am enjoying with my Art, Craft and everything to do with the Art of Living.

  6. As you were describing your trip and were talking about the doorknobs, I actually looked up at my kitchen cupboards and wondered how beautiful some of them would make my plain white cupboard doors! I could really empathize with you and your friends who have been through so much together, but remain so supportive of each other through it all! Making a road trip/visit with a lot of stops along the way sounds like it was a great way to spend a few days with your friends! I am glad you were able to make this trip and had a good time meeting the goals you had set forth. It sounds like a fun road trip and I may have to make that same journey sometime!

    • Hi Karin, This trip was just what the doctor ordered. I have never laughed so much in my life. It is highly recommended.  I came back refreshed and much more relaxed about my situation at home. 

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I really do appreciate them. 

  7. Ah road trip sure bring backs many memories. I’m also a fan of road tripping to get some inspiration. Usually, I road trip in Bali with my friends, visiting various local culinary and crafts. It’s always exciting when we have friends to share some laughs and even getting lost or sidetracked a bit 🙂 How long do you spend on the road to Port Alfred? Do you often go road trip with your friend?

    • Hi, Thank you for reading my post and commenting. This is the first time I have been on a road trip where I have done the driving. The trip took three days up and back and I spent three weeks visiting in Port Alfred. 

      It must be wonderful to go to Bali and perhaps I shall do that too.

  8. This was a interesting read. I felt like I was on the road trip with you and I love how you were able to get beautiful pictures so that your readers could have visuals of the places and things you talked about. I am bookmarking this blog for more reading. You have definitely ignited a desire for a road trip and I will get to planning one immediately. Great Job. 

    • Hi Vapz, Thank you so much for reading my post and for the lovely comments. I do hope you get to go on your own road trip and that it is as meaningful to you as mine was to me. Glad that you liked my pictures too. It was such a special time and I realized that my husband was being well cared for and I did not have to worry so much.

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