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.

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