Restaurant Review – The Hour Glass


I can’t believe that I have not written about the Hour Glass prior to this…I started this post months and months ago, and then just couldn’t finish it.  There is so much that I want to write about this awesome place – our ‘local’ and so much more.

The only thing to do this place justice, is to visit it.

It is an amazing tapas bar just blocks from the House…it is cosy and sophisticated, the food is truly fresh and flavorful, the menu changes often,  the wine is epic (one of the first in town to have Californian wines,) and there are over 80 craft beers by the bottle….

We often run into our guests when we go there and we more often run into friends, neighbors and meet interesting new people.

The owners, AJ and Mark are tremendously professional but even more friendly and warm.  The service is amazing…who doesn’t love a cold water next to your wine, or to have your favorite drink remembered?

Top of our list!

The Hour Glass

49 Liardet St, @ Devon, 06-758 2299
Closed Sundays and Mondays




Kindness of Strangers

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!


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:



Through a different lense….

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A talented local photographer, Biance Brons recently took some photos of our Taranaki Suite, and guest lounge.

I just love them, the light, the way she captures the combination of character and modern elements that we created, the warmth of the environment….it is so lovely to see the House through different eyes.



We had the choice in school to choose the foreign language we wanted to study.  I think there were just two choices – French or Spanish.  My mom encouraged my brothers to take French so I just fell in line and chose it too.

We began our language studies when we were about 12-13 I think.  I remember my first French teacher vividly.  He was the first French person that I ever met – and he truly was the stereotypical definition of French to my teenage world.  Tall and wicked thin, thick accent like he just got off the plane wild curly hair, and I think he wore some sort of white shirt, black tie and jeans combo uniform.  He was just the right mixture of outspoken, tell-it -like-it-is communicator with a dash of inappropriateness.  His accent was amazingly thick and his stories grandiose.  I studied with him during my time in middle school and then went on to continue my French studies all through high school and college.  When I graduated from college, they found out I needed one more class to actually get my diploma – so French yet again.

I’ve never had a real ear for foreign languages.  I am a ‘big picture’ kind of person, and getting the accent marks right or really understanding the tenses just really never sparked my joy.  I loved hearing the language and dreaming of Paris…but always was and still am, very timid when I speak French.  (Actually one sentence I can say loudly and clearly when I speak French is just that “Je suis tres timide quand je parle en Francais!”)

When I moved to London, I began travelling quite often to France and was able to bust out my knowledge.  It’s not great, but I can order food, wine, ask for the check (l’addition si vous plait,) check into a hotel, explain who I am, where I come from, get about on public transportation and in cabs, and oddly, due to one missed bus when travelling with my mom, aunt and our friend….convince total strangers to give us a lift in their car.  I got to really know Paris and felt very proud that I could take visiting friends around that gorgeous city with ease.

Recently this small amount of language has been put to the test at the House….for some reason the start of 2016 has brought 3 different sets of French speaking guests to the House.  One funny man, when he found out I spoke French, would not speak to me in English….that check-in process took awhile.  The most recent couple were fabulous and I had fun translating between them and some Canadian guests that were in the breakfast lounge.  Put down your phone, no google translator needed!

Coming from that kooky French class when I was a teenager through to today – it’s amazing where life takes you, and what skills you may need when you get there.

Off to practice my past participles and dream of Paris once again….