Just back from an awesome mini-break with DH. It is our anniversary on Tuesday, so last Friday night (Friday the 13th, I know!) we spent the night on the grounds of a Castle. Larnach Castle is a stately home that belonged to an Australian banking magnate named John Larnach. It was built at the time Dunedin was really just a frontier outpost, and everything had to be brought by ship. But the house is quite luxurious, full of rococo plasterwork and amazing inlaid wood paneling.
The Larnach’s story is rather tragic. John was married three times and had six children. The first two wives died, and the third, who was about half Larnach’s age, ended up having an affair with his eldest son, Douglas. Larnach committed suicide as a result and the aftermath tore the family apart. Their beautiful estate had to be sold. It fell into disrepair after the war, until a woman named Margaret Barker bought the property and then started the long process of restoration. Now it is fantastic jewel, surrounded by beautiful gardens.
You don’t get to sleep in the Castle itself, but rather in a lodge with fourteen different themed rooms. We stayed in the Victorian Room.
That bed was really enormous! The suite had an absolutely stunning view of the Southern ocean, and in the morning we were treated to the most sublime sunrise I have even seen.
My favorite part of the experience had to be dinner. Normally there are quite a few people staying at the Lodge, but at this time of year it is not crowded. DH and I were the only guests for dinner, so they set us up in the Library of the main house. We were able to eat a lovely, Scottish-themed meal surrounded by all those elegant reminders of life from an earlier time. I really felt like a storybook character.
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What I am reading: Edgar Rice Burroughs/Warlords of Mars
What I am listening to: Gordon Lightfoot/The United Artist Years