Foodie Heaven – can this be the Isle of Wight?

By Karen Brooks -

It feels like the sun always comes out to play as I cross the Solent to the Isle of Wight. I travel there regularly as I have family on the island but there is something about getting on a ferry that feels like you are off on holiday. I still getting that excited feeling. So is it all buckets and spades and cheesy amusement arcades many of us may remember from our childhood?
The Isle of Wight really does have many facets with something for everyone. For me, it is a very foodie place with lots of island grown crops and drinks produced. Isle of Wight tomatoes are quite well known these days and because of the sun the island gets they are delicious. The Garlic Farm is another island staple with their garlic mayo and vampire chutney being firm favourites. The farm is worth a visit as the café is delicious and there is plenty of things to amuse the kids too.

Friday night we managed to get a table at the Pointer Inn, Newchurch. A bit out of the way but worth the drive. They serve produce grown by locals exchanged for food or beer in a bartering system. Even though we didn’t book and were late (we arrived at 9am) they were so accommodating. The place was packed but they found us a table. Many of the dishes come in small and large sizes which works for people with small appetites or like me, want to try a few things. We had the scallops followed by pork belly for me and steak for my friend. All was fabulous. Call ahead and they would happily help to make a visit for someone with disabilities as easy as possible I am sure.
We headed down to Ventnor on Saturday and with the sun shining and temperatures around 20 it was a perfect day to sit on the patio of the Spyglass Inn and watch the brave paddlers and beach combers while taking a leisurely lunch. The town of Ventnor has almost a Victorian feel and although on a steep hill many places are wheelchair friendly. I think the island being so focused on tourists, many places are. After lunch we wended our way to Shanklin. People were out in force. Kids played in the pitch & putt park at the beginning of the Esplanade, enjoying the dinosaurs that adorn each hole. The grown ups were enjoying the opportunity to grab a glass of wine or beer and enjoy the sun. We strolled down the mile long esplanade and took in the sights while stopping for some light refreshments including a delicious cream tea.

After our seaside fill we headed back to Rookley Country Park which has caravans and cottages, all with options for people with mobility issues. With an indoor and outdoor pools and nightly entertainment, this is the place of childhood memories and it certainly gave a nostalgic feel to my friend who spent many a summer holiday at a caravan park on the island. During the height of the season I imagine it would be very crowded but we got to enjoy the facilities with just a few others.
Sunday it was time to pack up and head home. A short break but it really felt like I had been on a week away. Back on the ferry, which are very accommodating to mobility issues - email or phone ahead or tell them when you arrive. Just an hour later, back on the mainland I was left wondering how I could be transported to another world without even having to find my passport.

Bye bye Isle of Wight. I will see you again soon.

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