One of my biggest relationship gripes is that Matt and I had, until a few weekends ago, never had a mini-break or holiday, just us two. We always go and stay with his parents in Greytown but because of Matts student status through the last two years, we've never actually been away! Luckily, you don't have to go far from Wellington to feel like you've escaped the hubub of the city.
Martinborough is just one and a bit hours from Wellington but feels like a very different place. For the first time in months, we were able to properly switch off and simply enjoy being together, away from the world.
The easiest way to get to the Wairarapa is either to catch the train from Wellington station or to drive over the infamous Rimutaka Hills. If you're from outside of Wellington, you'll have to fly to Welly first. The road is a little windy so consider holding off on a huge feed just before you go. There's also a handy petrol station stop at the bottom of the Rimutaka Hills, and in Featherston when you get over the hills.
If you're heading to Martinborough, make sure you stay within walking distance of the village square. I have memories of the magic of staying in the village with my parents as a little girl, and they've truly stayed with me for life. It feels so much like the old English countryside.
Air BnB is always a good idea when it comes to staying somewhere charming. Matt and I stayed at the beautiful Corner Cottage, which is privately owned by a lovely couple, Brent and Teri, who live in the Wairarapa. I can personally vouch for the packaged perfection of the little house. Matt kept exclaiming to me "This is what I want my house to be like" (geez - thanks Matt, hope you have me over sometimes!). In all seriousness, nothing had been forgotten: there was an abundance of fresh towels in our bedroom and the bathroom (the house actually sleeps 6), milk in the fridge, vases for the odd bunch of flowers (I had to take my latest beautiful bundle of gerberas from Juliette Florist with me so I could enjoy them over the weekend) and a delectable big telly so you can blob out (spoiler: we did).
Corner Cottage also had my two favourite things in the world (apart from Matt, Timmy and my Family): a bath and a massive bed. In case you haven't noticed, Matt is a very tall man and so normal beds are a bit small for him. It was amazing to be able to spread out and still not touch one another in that huge bed at Corner Cottage, and I am still weeping bitterly for it, in remembrance. The bathtub was definitely another highlight, and I was quite happy to lie in there until I turned into a prune.
There are so many places to eat in Martinborough from Cafe Medici to the little Cool Change Pub to Martinborough Hotel. However, Matt and I opted to simply eat at the lovely house for the most of the time. In particular, we were spoiled by our lovely friends Cam and Hana (who I met through my frequent visits to City Gallery Wellington), and they brought over some home-kill lamb and fresh salad all picked from their garden. We had a feast and, because it was my birthday weekend, I demanded we watched Burlesque which was on TV (Matt was traumatised). Matt and Cam even managed to get ice-creams after dinner for us all from the local cinema!
On Sunday, the day we left, we went for breakfast at The Village Cafe, and read the paper. This is also a great place to pick up a bottle of Martinborough wine because it doubles as a wine shop. It was cosy, charming and the food was delicious.
One cannot visit Martinborough and not go to visit some of its very famous wineries. There's even a whole festival for it, Toast Martinborough, that is held in November each year (you can see our experience of this last year here and what to take if you're thinking of going along this year).
Matt and I did a cycle tour of the Vineyards on Saturday afternoon around 2:30 pm. The company which supplies bikes is called 'Green Jersey'. They hire you out bikes so you can cycle around the vineyards, have a few wines and not get into trouble for drink driving. You can also walk, but to be honest, driving around on a bike slightly sozzled is great fun (don't worry, I wore my helmet - just not when we were taking photos!). We visited a few wineries, including Ata Rangi, Haythornwaite and Vynfields. After three, however, I was beaten - particularly because we did a tasting at each. Matt and I decided to buy a wine from Haythornewaite Vineyard - our favourite of the three. We loved that each wine was named after a special woman in the Vitners life too, and their knowledge about the tasting notes was impressive and informative.
Martinborough is a great place to switch off. To be honest, I'd hoped to catch up on some blogging work while I was there, a notion which was dashed when I found out Wifi was scarce. In actual fact, it proved to be the best thing ever because Matt and I were forced to chill out, read books and talk and cook and stop looking at our screens. Corner Cottage was the perfect place to do this. Mini-breaks and holidays are so important to reset and it can be way too easy to always make excuses not to go away. Even if you just have a weekend, two days in a different place, with different sights and air can make all the difference. And, a MASSIVE BED.