“New Plymouth is without a doubt my favourite city in Aotearoa.”
“slowly but surely New Plymouth got under my skin, and to my surprise, found it’s way to my heart.”
“If there were more work opportunities in a city that holds around 2% of New Zealand’s population, and only welcomes around 2% of the country’s international tourists, I would likely have settled down some roots for a while.”
I get quite emotional reading and hearing others views of this region that I now call home…
I love hearing about guest’s experiences, bumping into them in town during their stay (happens most often when our dog Weston is being naughty in the park or on the beach, or when Rod and I steal away for a wine at the Hour Glass.) It always reminds me of how we fell in love with this place. Rod, from being away for 10+ years, and seeing the town transform from his days in Stratford, and for me, seeing the balance of vibrancy and calmness. I knew we could find beauty here, little did I know we could make our dream of owning the House our reality. Goosebumps!
Ever since Taranaki was voted as the one of the top places in the world to visit in 2017 (number 2 to be exact) we have had many eyes on our beloved place. It’s great to see the press experience just what we and our guests love about this amazing region.
It has been a very, very long time since I’ve written on this blog – all is very well, great really, at the House, business is growing and we’ve had some really amazing guests…but this year has been a very tough one personally for me and for Rod.
I will write about our losses and stresses, but for now, I’m focusing on the unbelievable community that we live in. So many people here have reached out to us, stopped by, sent flowers, popped into the house for a cup of tea, baked us cakes, and just made sure that we knew they were thinking of us, and sharing in our time of sadness. Just over 4 years of making this lovely seaside town our new home, and we’ve made a tremendous life here. Our friends have become family and our relationships with our family and each other have grown because of it.
This blog by a fellow New Yorker captures the spirit of this amazing country. “Marcel Proust said that, ‘The only true voyage of discovery is not to go to new places, but to have other eyes.’ It only took a week in New Zealand to see my need for new eyes.” Welcome!
We are members of the New Plymouth Wine Tasting Club. The club’s motto is “The best wine is the wine you like best!” The members have warmly welcomed us to New Plymouth at our monthly tastings and we have discovered and learned more about the wine regions of New Zealand and their talented and passionate wine makers.
I recently attended a tasting with Foxes Island Wines given by John Belsham. It was truly one of the best tastings I’ve ever been to. The memorable wines were served alongside John’s amazing presenting style. I can’t stop thinking about the luscious full bodied Foxes Pinot Noir, nor John’s interesting feedback on the New Zealand wine industry. I am always blown away when I go back home to New York and see NZ wines there that are less expensive in the US than they are in NZ and struggle to find interesting wines of great character here in our grocery stores. I need to start branching out more, and enjoying some lesser known brands.
It is a joy to me to surround myself with people that have similar interests. It’s one of the greatest things I learned by moving away from New York those many years ago. When you don’t know anyone in a new town, you just need to focus on the things you love and you will find good people. Either through my running club, women’s networks or our amazing wine club, I have met some warm, funny, fascinating new people and have had many memorable nights like this one.
I get a bit giddy when new restaurants open in New Plymouth and I’m excited to say that we’ve had quite a few new openings lately. The New York bar at the Nice Hotel, Monica’s, Social Kitchen, Prohibition…
The latest is in the new ‘Arts Quarter’ across from the Len Lye Centre, and in the White Heart building. It is run by two hospitality gurus, hard working, creative and genuinely nice women, Jo & Deb and their talented staff.
The kitchen is open, the cabinet is full of both yummy baked goods, as well as salads and of course great coffee. The design is a perfect blend of industrial chic with clean scandinavian lines (or that’s how I’d describe it.)
It reminds me of a great local London spot, where you can pop in, eat well, sit over a coffee and ponder life. Even the entrance, tucked away a bit, makes you feel like you are arriving a quite the local destination.
A fabulous addition to our little city by the sea. We will point our guests in this direction for sure!
The Taranaki region is spoilt for choice of places to play golf. There are 20 courses, most are under $30, and have views of the mountain or sea, or both.
We’ve started playing at Westown as it’s one of the closest courses to the House. We have a business team entered, and enjoy zipping up on a random free weekend day or summer afternoon.
There is a nice mix of flat wide open fairways, with hilly twisty examples. On one hole, you may run into some rogue chickens and there is a par 3 where I feel like I can hit it into the back of a hill and might some day pop it into the hole.
Life here in Taranaki definitely feels like there are more hours in the day – ones to pursue activities like golf that enrich our lives, give us time to be outside in the fresh air and enjoy life.
Time to perfect getting a little white ball into a small hole is just one example.
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!