't Olde Hof ***** - Westervelde - Drenthe
Nothing gets more romantic than this quaint B&B in the forests of Drenthe, so reserve in advance!
Drenthe has this reputation for being stuffy, old-fashioned, boring and unimaginative. So imagine what we felt when we arrived at ‘t Olde Hof in Westervelde, a village in the remotest corner of Drenthe close to the border of Groningen, to find that we were staying in a quaint “veenhuis” with a large outdoor wooden hot tub overlooking a tranquil pond, the sort of thing you would expect to find in Northern California hippie communes.
On the outside ‘t Olde Hof looks like any large, well-restored farmhouse in this area with the traditional thatched roof and exposed wooden beams. Appearances are indeed deceiving for beyond the gates lies spacious, well-maintained gardens, a swimming pool, and a serene pond that extends onto the farmlands around the house.
Anyone who even thinks about staying at ‘t Olde Hof should ask for the Veenhuis, one of the three lodgings available to guests. It is a small wooden hut with a thatched roof, set at the end of the garden and it sits at the edge of a quiet little pond that disappears into the surrounding farmland. The Veenhuis looks just like a teahouse, but inside there is a large bed, closets, wash basin, chairs and table for reading or eating, hot water pot, silver and china. Its location at the edge of the pond is the ideal nature getaway. There is a wooden platform that extends from the teahouse to the water, and on it are lounge chairs for reading, relaxing and sleeping. The Veenhuis and the wooden platform are shielded from the outside world by tall grass ("moeras") and trees, creating a very private sanctuary. There is nothing around except ducks and birds – a perfect place to meditate, read and wind down.
But the best thing about staying in the Veenhuis is the hot tub that lies next to it. In the early evenings, we would sit in the tub gazing quietly at the sunset sky as the colors of the day gradually shifted from salmon pink to lavender. Although we had gone in March, the Veenhuis felt remarkably comfortable and cozy because it was heated adequately. And of course, the hot tub was just the perfect thing we needed after a brisk winter walk. On a moonlit night, when the silvery light shines on the pond and everything is winter still, the experience is nothing short of magical.
In the mornings we would rise early and sit on the wooden platform wrapped up in thick blankets to watch the birds and ducks skim across the pond in the mist. Soon thereafter, our host would bring a delicious hearty breakfast, which we savoured indoors. We discovered that ‘t Olde Hof is a terrific place to stay in winter as well as summer.
Although we were tempted to spend most of our time around the Veenhuis, we decided that we had to earn those hot tub sessions by doing something active. This being Drenthe, we took long walks and bicycle rides. Westervelde’s great advantage is that it is a sleepy village with none of the crowds and touristy atmosphere that grips places like Dwingeloo. Yet it is a pleasant, charming place that has retained its historical roots.
We walked in the woods around Westervelde which are maintained by the Natuurmonumenten and cycled to the nearby villages of Norg and Norgerholt past the “esdorpenlandschap” that is characteristic of this region. Norg is the main village in this area and is notable for its quaint, beautifully restored farmhouses and village green.
The only disadvantage of staying in remote parts of Drenthe is the absence of fine cuisine. Fortunately, at Westervelde, we found de Jufferen Lunsingh, another excellent hotel-restaurant, which was packed on the evening we decided to dine there. All of their dishes are made with fresh ingredients, many of which come from their own farm, and everything is of the highest quality and produced in an "ambachtelijk manier", a disappearing skill/art in the area. Indeed, the people who run de Jufferen Lunsingh hunt their own game and prepare game dishes according to the highest traditional standards.
After such great meals, decadent hot tub sessions and invigorating walks through the woods, it was difficult for us to leave ‘t Olde Hof and Westervelde. So if anyone tells us that Drenthe is boring and unimaginative, we know where to send him.
Notes: In addition to the Veenhuis, there are two other guest lodgings, one of which is a restored barn (“schuur”) with kitchen, which is suitable for families with children. The other is the “voorhuis” which has its own terrace that overlooks the gardens and the pond. 't Olde Hof is a member of Erfgoed Logies.
't Venhuis, min 2 nights (prices incl. breakfast):
Weekend: 3 days, 2 nights, 2 persons incl. breakfast E 319.-
From Monday till Friday: 3 days, 2 nights, 2 persons E 294.-
- 't Olde Hof *****
- Rooms start at Euro 110,-
- Olde Hofweg 5-7
- 9337 TD Westervelde
- 0592 612733