Macedon Ranges local Emily Blades took on a new project last year when the Victoria Hotel in Woodend was up for sale. Never one to let a good opportunity slip by, Emily and her business partner Carl Middleton signed up and started the journey to make the Hotel their own. Emily is well known around the Macedon Ranges region, first as the welcoming face at Campaspe House, then at the Piper St Food Co. Wearing another hat, Emily previously worked with the Macedon Ranges Shire Tourism team and was involved in setting up the visitmacedonranges.com website.
As one of a few women publicans in Regional Victoria, she has quickly found herself fulfilling a long-held dream of developing a regional hospitality business, as well as embarking on a project to start brewing beer. “I’ve worked in many tourism and hospitality focused businesses over the past decade or so,” said Emily. “In this business I have the chance to bring all my experience and skills to shape a destination for locals and visitors alike.”
The Victoria Hotel building was renovated around 20 years ago, when the large dining room was opened. “It has a fantastic structure so we’re working to make the most of the physical space by using it in interesting ways.” One of these is business networking, such as hosting regional tourism and business development events. “I love networking and connecting people. Partnerships are so important in business; the more we connect with each other the more this region will shine from a tourism perspective.” Approaching social media marketing with purpose and direction, it’s easy to see that the Victoria Hotel’s story takes shape through quality imagery of food and events.
The Macedon Ranges climate provides relatively easy growing conditions for many of the fresh herbs and vegetables that chefs in this region enjoy using. Providing comforting, simple food, prepared well means thinking seasonally and special menu items often include locally-grown and sourced ingredients, for a ‘taste of the ranges’.
Winter in Woodend is pretty cold a perfect reason to enjoy that glass of red before an open fire and perhaps sample a taste of the new beer from the Rock and Ranges Brewing Coop, which will be on tap at The Victoria Hotel when July rolls around.
Emily is passionate for her work, region and community. She is always open to ideas and driven to provide opportunities, especially for keeping local young people in jobs and encouraging community involvement.