Taranaki Weddings – Industry Awards


We are delighted to have been nominated in two categories in the upcoming Taranaki Weddings – Industry Awards.  These nominations mean so much to us, because they come directly from brides and grooms who have stayed at the House and given us the huge honor of hosting their wedding in our garden.

I get such joy out of hosting people during their wedding.  The House has a certain energy when we are hosting wedding parties.  I’ll never forget crying tears of joy when I saw our first bride getting ready at the House….we strive to help with every detail, making sure they are pampered, that the bridesmaids are taken care of, that the families have something to eat, that everyone is happy and ready for the gorgeous event that awaits them.

It is a huge feeling of emotion and accomplishment when the wedding cars leave…or the bride and groom check out.  I’ll never forget the weddings we’ve had here.  This House was built in the 1890’s and we are truly just caretakers of it for a brief time…but I am proud that for the time that we will own it, that we’ve been able to fill our garden with love and celebration.

I get to do this for a living…I am so very humbled by these nominations, and thank you if you could kindly vote for us.  We will break out the champagne to celebrate!

You can vote for us in the Accommodation category here:


and in the Venue category here:





Magical Moment


We are just finishing a very busy period of events and have a day break before we have guests in for the next 6 weeks straight.

One of the best events we’ve ever held here at the House was the recent fundraiser for Gabby’s Starlit HOPE

Gabby’s mom Sarah put her heart and soul into the event.  Her dad and grandparents worked tirelessly on all of the beautiful details.  Friends of Gabby’s were there volunteering, and modelling.  The community came out to support with donated goods, services, goodie bag inserts and even MCing.

As the day arrived, it was bucketing down with rain.  But the spirit within the walls of those marquees was full of love.  It was magical and sweet and it made me cry on a number of occasions (like now.)

Our ability to play even the smallest of parts in a day like this is a part of this business that comes solely from our hearts.  That day enriched my life and goes beyond the walls of this House.  It makes me love what I do for a living even more.



This weekend the rooms are full, and we will host over 1,000 people at the House for an amazing fundraiser, Deck the Rooms for Taranaki Women’s Refuge where we will have a Christmas Market, followed by over 30 friends and family for a joint American Thanksgiving in the garden.

This week has been full of preparation, gardening, putting the sails up,  creating garland and shopping and to-do lists.

I woke early this morning and went for a run.  After my turnaround point I headed down to the beach to search for a shell and had the most wonderful realization.  I get to spend my days doing exactly what makes my soul happy… and this is how I make my living.

As I sit down on Sunday amongst local friends and family, and with all of those I love who live far away in my mind, I will say a very hearty Thanks and raise a glass to the joy that this House brings me and the energy and dedication that we both contribute to create it.

Taranaki Garden Spectacular – Armstrong Garden

We have 2 garden festivals going on this week – the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular, and the Fringe Festival.  Together, there are almost 100 gardens open to the public.  It’s a gorgeous time of year, everything is flowering, and the weather is sunny and calm.

I visited the first garden of the Festival over the weekend the Armstrong Garden in Waitara.

Alathea has a passion for the English cottage garden style in her large town garden. Herbaceous borders are full of spring colour and fragrance, featuring a large range of perennials and annuals. Some are new and unusual sitting amongst traditional favourites.  Roses in abundance add scent and colour to this charming cottage garden.

It was truly amazing – and you can see what a labor of love it is.  This is the last year this garden will be in the festival and I am so very glad I got to see it!

Garden Spectacular


These are the first roses from the garden this spring.  I am so proud of them, as this is the first garden I’ve ever had that has rose bushes.  I knew nothing about caring for them, and have slowly learned their cycles.  It’s wonderful to see the beautiful product of all of those steps….feeding, spraying, pruning.

Today is the first day of the Taranaki Garden Spectacular.  Over 50 local people are opening their gardens and our regional ones are in top shape for the visitors.

I’m off to get ideas, and to enjoy the beauty.  I know now what work goes into making your own patch of land look beautiful and will take time to smell all the roses!

Going to the effort


We often welcome guests who have travelled to be together…this past weekend we hosted a mother and daughter who were joining with extensive family to celebrate a 90th birthday, and a group of women coming together for a ‘girls weekend,’ to connect.

It is so sweet to hear of their stories, and the distances they’ve travelled both literally and figuratively, to come together.  The reasons may vary, but the underlying purpose is universal and clear – love.

People make the time, travel the distance, spend the money and make the effort to be with the ones they love.  One of the greatest truths that I’ve learned over and over in my life is that love is a verb.  Love is expressed via action, not words.

As I live very far from my family and the majority of my friends, weekends like this, the 4th of July, can be a bit tough.  It is hard to sit a look at the dozens of posts on Facebook of those I love celebrating together…it’s hard to even know when to celebrate.  Do I choose our 4th or their 4th?

Why even bother?

My dear friend Melody’s efforts yesterday answered that question for me loud and clearly.  She hosted a beautiful, sweet, fun and wonderful 4th of July party.  She went to the effort and it was fabulous.

Even though it’s winter here (we explained to the non-Americans that the 4th was usually spent at the beach or at a lake under the hot sun) and there were a few showers, even though it’s not the season for typical barbecue food, and that the day fell on a work night…even though there were many excuses that could lead to not even bothering celebrating…she created a fabulous event.  American flags and red white and blue everywhere, great cocktails, games and a pie eating contest, American music, ribs and even fireworks….it was festive, kids were running around happy, and everyone had a taste of a 4th celebration.

It’s sometimes easier to shy away from the effort.  There are many excuses…distance, commitments, money, time, work…  In the end, we come together and make the effort because we put love above anything else.

Thanks for putting in the effort my friend!