We are happy to showcase a road trip adventure by one of our avid readers Manisha Mehta from Mumbai.
She shares one of her road trips to Dapoli. For those planning on a weekend getaway from Mumbai, take note –
A road-trip in the middle of summer…towards the beach no less…sounds almost insane. But, the endless humidity, heat and hoi polloi of Mumbai finally drove us out in search of some rain and respite.
We left the city on Friday afternoon and in anticipation of empty roads and a leisurely scenic drive took the old highway NH-17 towards Dapoli. This route used to be my favorite till some years
back- green canopy of trees even in the peak of summer, winding roads and vada pav stalls along the way.
While the green canopy still existed in patches with an odd meandering river, tributary or water body, as I call it to add to the landscape, the peaceful road has vanished. Four-laning of the road is in progress which has lead to a single lane highway from Pen till Mangaon and the heavy vehicular traffic made the drive quite frustrating. The only high point of our drive was the weather…cloudy, drizzling in patches and definitely cooler than Mumbai.
We did stop for Vada Pav and Tea at our old trusted favorite- Shree Duttaguru Snacks – near Palaspa Phata in Panvel.
Since we wanted to reach the hotel at a sane hour, we did not make any other stop along the way. However, on our way back we stopped at a place called Open Umbrella in Kolad. Clean washrooms, decent food and play areas for kids….met all three of my basic criterion in a rest-stop! 😀
We reached The Fern Samali hotel at Dapoli around 8.00 PM. The location of the hotel mentioned on google maps is off by a couple of kilometers, but the locals were very helpful in pointing us to the right direction.
If you’ve been to any Club Mahindra resort, then Fern Samali would meet your expectations. Wide open areas, lots of activities for kids, beautiful property nestled in greenery and decent Buffet meals. Oh….. and free wifi! 🙂
Our room had an amazing view of the forest-covered valley with odd Gulmohar trees flaming orange! A truly magical sight for green deprived eyes.
Konkan region has a beautiful mythological reference. Lord Parshuram donated the entire earth to mankind with no land spared for him. On realizing this, he shot an arrow into the sea. The sea receded and the resulting landmass came is today called as Konkan. Dapoli is located around 800 mts above sea level and is endowed with lush green forests, red fertile earth, clean seas and wide beaches.
The weather still favoring us with clouds and an occasional drizzle, we left for the Murud Beach the next day (not the same as Murud Janjeera) after a leisurely breakfast at the resort. The beach was around 15 kms away from the hotel along rustic village lanes very reminiscent of old Goa.
In an attempt to boost tourist traffic, the Maharashtra government has allowed water sports and some basic infrastructure around the Konkan beach belt. We sampled some of this at Murud beach where paragliding, ATV vehicle ride and shacks offering local malwani cuisine were catering to a handful of tourists brave enough to venture out in May.
Having said that, the beach was clean, wide and the sea was welcoming. A perfect place for anyone looking for some rest & relaxation!
In the night, we decided to head out of the hotel into Dapoli town to sample some local cuisine. This is where Dapoli reminds you that you’re not in a big city or even a smaller version of Goa. Dapoli is a quite little hamlet in the hinterland where restaurant chains, posh dining options or even the dhaba
culture hasn’t quite mushroomed yet.
We did find a place called Surali Restaurant…I think it was the only one of its kind in a radius of at least 50-kms. Think basic table-chairs, wall fans and harassed staff unable to manage a “crowd” of 10 and above guests 🙂 The food (when it came) was simple and fresh.
In the midst of summer in Ratnagiri district and still no talk of mangoes! Well, we finally did reach a mango farm (Pandhari Farms) next morning in search of some authentic Ratnagiri Alphonsos(or Hapoos like we call it!).
Tons of mangoes in all sizes and a very helpful staff ready to offer you as many “samples” to bite into…pure heaven! I would recommend a trip to Ratnagiri only for a taste of the authentic hapoos
and the sight of trees laden with these priceless mangoes.
We headed back home via the Kolad-Sukeli-Pali-Durshet-Mumbai Pune expressway route on Sunday afternoon in a car loaded with mangoes and the heart & mind refreshed to hit the mayhem called Mumbai…till the next weekend trip!
Route we took:
Mumbai-Thane-Panvel-Pen-Nagothane-Kolad-Mangaon-Veer-Mandangarh-Dapoli (227 Kms)
Time taken: Around 6 Hours (with one break)
Fern Samali: Address: Survey No.83, Hissa No.2A, Burondi Road, Chandranagar, Dapoli, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra 415712
Phone:022 4263 7712
Pandhari Farms: It is 3 kms ahead of Fern Samali on the Dapoli-Burondi Highway.
Surali Restaurant & Hotel: Surali Garden
MH SH4, Gimhavane, Maharashtra 415713. Surali Garden is located in a distance of 1 km from Dapoli Bus stand
Open Umbrella Hotel: Address: Mumbai-Goa Road, Kalamje, Maharashtra 402104 (suggested pit stop en route)
About our contributor:
An HR professional, a mother of an extremely cute 4-year-old handsome boy, Manisha loves to read and travel.
She explores new places with her husband, her partner in crime in all her road trips and vacations.
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