Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cool movieplace!

And it's not just Martinborough that holds some hidden delights - I recently went to a cinema in nearby Featherston and had a whale of a time.

Opened in May 2007, Featherston Cinema is just divine. Julie, who owns the cinema, is definitely the hostess with the mostest - she was so nice and charming and even let me try out all the seats in the cinema to make sure I got one that suited me.

You see, all the seats are either couches or armchairs, complete with fluffy cushions. There's a selection of firm or soft seating and once I found my place for the night, I got my hot chocolate, a cup full of peanuts (thoughtfully a cup was provided by Julie so that any wrapper rustling would not disturb others) and a choccie chip cookie (I hadn't had dinner) and snuggled down into my very own couch.

I had taken my Canadian autnie along and she was entranced by the slightly quirky nature of the cinema - in Canada you are barely allowed to take in popcorn, let alone beer, wine or hot drinks - and she loved the comfy seating. She too grabbed her own couch and was pleased to find a little wooden table (one of many dotted around) to put her drink and munchies on.

The movie was late starting - because Julie wanted to make sure everyone in the audience had their hot drinks with them - but nobody minded in the slightest and all chatted with each other whilst waiting. Once all the drinks were issued, Julie checked if everyone was warm enough and the movie begun.

As well as showing slightly arthouse foreign movies (we saw 'As it is in Heaven', which was absolutely divine) Julie plans to screen kids movies on a weekend and in the holidays (which will make my two rugrats very happy as Masterton is a 40-minute drive away to the normal cinema).

Julie is also happy to screen your own DVD if you book the cinema or, if you have missed a screening, she is more than willing to re-show.

Our evening was so much more than just heading out on a blustery night for something to do - we had an experience - and it is one that serves the Wairarapa well.

Sunset and Toast Martinborough

I told you Martinborough was beautiful!

We have such big skies here that every colour, every star is vividly clear.

My auntie (the one from Canada) took this photo before she left for home. Quite clever, isn't she?!

Was reading through the news earlier and saw that Toast Martinborough tickets sold out in a record 19 minutes this year! That's crazy - but it is a good day

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Let me paint you a picture of Martinborough in the Wairarapa (bottom of the North Island, New Zealand)...

A sleepy village hiding some magical people and amazing food, wine and retail shopping as well as accommodation, movies and much, much more.

Yip, sometimes you can be driving down to see the seals at Cape Palliser or heading to Lake Ferry for lunch at the hotel and pass through Martinborough without even noticing it is there. It can be a bit of a blink it and miss it type of village.

But slow down and take a minute to explore the streets off the village square - I can guarantee you'll find some gems.

Of course, many people know Martinborough as a wine region - it has won so many awards for its Pinot Noir (in particular) and other wines (Chardonnay, Sauvignon and such) and hosts the famous Toast Martinborough wine and food festival every November.

It is also the village where thousands upon thousands of visitors flock every February and March for the Martinborough Fairs, where the whole village is alive with craft stalls - fantastic!

Round the Vines is another institution, when groups of people walk or run round the vineyards in the name of charity.

The Harvest Lunch in the square and the Meandering Summer Lunch are two relative newcomers to the annual Martinborough calendar, both very well attended.

And most of the vineyards throw an event every so often.

But come visit at any time of the year and you are sure to discover something new.