Known for its white sands, laid-back vibe and bohemian-meets-luxury aesthetic, Byron Bay seemed like the perfect place to getaway for a few days and seek inspiration.
The local Aboriginal people's name for the area is Cavvanbah, meaning 'meeting place.' This sums up the energy of Byron perfectly - a place to converge, socialise, heal, and move on. With a strong focus on local, organic and sustainable produce, Byron and surrounding towns were a haven for cool, funky eateries that have a strong sense of community.
One of my favourite cafes to visit was Three Blue Ducks out at The Farm. I remember driving by their pumping Bronte cafe late last year and wished I had time to visit. Their Byron Bay equivalent is set up inside a huge tin shed with a bakery, grocer/retail space, and art gallery. I had the best focaccia of my life in this place.
I loved the styling and vibe at FOLK, just outside Byron Bay's town centre. The menu was mostly vegetarian (yeah!) but I was really impressed with the breezy layout of the space. The same crew also manage a smaller cafe in nearby Bangalow called WOODS. I visited on a day it was closed but it shares a similar menu and design aesthetic.
My favourite surrounding village was Newrybar. The town itself is tiny - around 500 people live there - but it's famous for its old bakery, which has been transformed into Harvest cafe. The gardens that form the backyard of the Harvest houses were super impressive. Within 10 minutes of opening for breakfast this place was almost full. Definitely worth the 15 minute drive from Byron to visit.
Newrybar was also the home of my favourite retail space - Newrybar Merchants. An old house has been converted into a store, with a collective of artists who each occupy a room to showcase their wares. I spent at least half an hour here and walked away with a bag full of products made locally. Retail is not dead if you offer customers a unique experience!
A few notable mentions in Byron's town centre include Naked Treaties (all raw vegan, not a huge area to sit inside but the selection of smoothies, juices and desserts was impressive), Bayleaf cafe (everything we ordered here was insanely good), and Leaf & Grain for yummy takeaway options. We tended to eat out at more formal places for dinner. Republik and The Italian were my favourites.
I had so much fun eating my way around Byron Bay and my mind is full of ideas about how I can incorporate some of the elements I loved into the design of The Sweet Meadow's retail space. Exciting times!