Lazy-ish Saturday / Amazing Trip to Marlborough

So today was an excellent low-key day.  Grant and I went to brunch, got some more gardening supplies, gardened, and played a good long (and close) game of scrabble.  Of course, now we are drinking some whiskey because that is how you end a good day you guys! I am going a bit gardening crazy – especially considering the very small amount of outdoor space we have here.  I am also on an obsessive quest to grow an avocado tree that may or may not include many, many glasses full of water and avocado pits on every inch of windowsill space we have, and naming said pits after reindeer and singing songs about rudolph the red nosed avocado. These things are important;  I AM ON A MISSION.

Anyway, these things are not the concern of this blog post – this blog post is about the amazing, gorgeous, fun-time adventure-pants trip Grant and I went on to part of New Zealand wine country – Marlborough.  This was a wedding gift from my Aunt Kay and Uncle Les (thank you aunt kay and uncle les!).  SO – I’m going to put more of the photos up on facebook, because there are a TON, but here is a quick round up.

First off we took the interislander to the South island.  The interislander is a big (BIG) boat that takes about three hours to transport you from one island to another.  I thought it was going to be a slightly upgraded ferry, but really it was more like a downgraded cruise ship – complete with movie theater and arcade and bar.

(An overview of the stuff on board)

We were hoping that there would be some great food- but there wasn’t.  Here is a photo of our glamorous lunch:

Good ol’ boxed egg and cress – reminded me of Manchester!  The view from the top of the ship, however, more than made up for the lunch.

(much much more on facebook!)

So, yes – it was GORGEOUS.  Beyond gorgeous – the photos really don’t do it justice.  Everything about it was amazing (until the wind pretty much tried to murder me by blowing me away into the sea).

And then after some lunch and sight-seeing and reading we arrived in Picton!

Picton is a very small harbor town, and we picked up our rental car there.  It was Grant’s first time driving on the left side of the road, and he did a good job. Even when big scary trucks going fast-fast passed us:

We arrived in Bleinhem, at the Stone Haven Home-Stay – a very awesome, very gorgeous, very much filled with delicious baked goods B&B.

It’s a very small place- three bedrooms, and because no one else was there that weekend, we got upgraded to the king room. yay! look at the view behind Grant:

Here it is without him in the way:

and it had a pool (but it was too cold to swim)

and citrus trees! (I had never seen one in real life before)

So of course, since we were in wine country, we went to some wineries.  The first one, Seresin, was probably my favorite – it was basically a commune that did a lot of organic farming along with making wine. Plus they had a really cute dog.  Their primary tasting notes were “funky” and “confusing”.  Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures (wah, wah – Katherine problems, “I’m too busy drinking wine to take photos of adorable dogs at wineries who looooooove me.”)

We went to a few more, they were all pretty good.  Then we hit up MOA brewery (a beer brand from New Zealand named after a big extinct flightless bird)

they look like that, but less ….. folk arty…. and more……. birdy.  MOA has some really good beer (a lot of British style bitters, which is my favorite) and, because it was wine country I guess, they did a tasting of all their on-tap beers. It was lovely.

The day ended with a walk around the city center and a lovely sunset:

Day two: we had a delicious breakfast at the B&B (full english breakfast, plus homemade stewed rhubarb and plums with yogurt and muesli – and the best darn blueberry muffin I have ever eaten in my life).  Then we rented some bikes (the Stonehaven Homestay ALSO rents bikes and scooters, which made that very convenient).  Since Wellington is so hilly, and completely inhospitable to bikers I haven’t been able to bike at all, so I really enjoyed getting to tour around the wineries via cycle (even if it did rain on us most of the time).

We hit up about five wineries on day two, it would have been six but the one we rode the farthest to get to (almost a two hour detour in the rain) was closed – and that was a shame because the cellar door (what they call the wine tasting rooms) was in an old church and is supposedly gorgeous – was closed. I was not happy

And the rain made Grant look like he had peed his pants:

And then, more wine drinking!

Wine flights and cute winery dogs! Yay!

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at a small-plates restaurant (a very lucky find – since it isn’t the official tourist season in Marlborough yet and everything closes up before 4 – and with our giganto-licious breakfast we weren’t ready to eat until late.)  No pictures of that really either – because it was too delicious to stop and take pictures of. It was simply inhaled. But the highlights were … well, everything.  We had brown butter spinach ricotta pasta, mussels, bread and dips (Grant learned about Dukkah on the trip, and is now a fanatic like me), baked avocado with blue cheese, (I laughed at the concept of baked avocado, but it was wonderful), venison, and pork belly.

DAY THREE –

Sheep in the grapes! (All the wineries had lots and lots of sheep grazing throughout their land – my first sheep sighting since coming to NZ).

Whoa you guys – after two days of pretty much just sampling wine all day, Grant and I were wined OUT.  I don’t know how people go on week long wine tasting trips – plus maybe hitting up the wineries first thing in the morning isn’t the greatest idea ever.  BUT we wanted to hit up one of the big, big wineries in Marlborough, and it was well worth it.

This was a very good idea – not only was this last winery (Wither Hills I think?) very pretty, it also had giant outdoor beanbag chairs! (but they were inside)

After that we drove back to Picton and hung out until the boat came.  There were ducks

and trees

and a terrifying off-brand mickey mouse

And that was it! We had such an amazing time – we both almost cried when we had to leave the B&B.  But we had to go, so we jumped back on the interislander and went home.

and here is my vacation is over sadface

 

To sum up the trip: amazing.  And “waaaahh I didn’t experience the finish on this delicious and expensive pinot noir to the fullest because I took a sip of an OLDER and MORE EXPENSIVE pinot noir too sooooooooon! WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?!?!”

 

 

 

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~ by gakather on September 22, 2012.

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