on May 26, 2010
Have I ever felt as at home anywhere as I did after two nights at the Meadowbank Homestead? Not likely.I was thrilled with my room, the Laura bedroom, and its connection to the daughter who once lived at Awaroa (books with tales of each of the rooms’ namesakes sit in the common area). The room’s twin beds were made up to be comfortable and warm, and the en-suite bathroom was modern and stocked with fresh towels and toiletries.Downstairs, the common area encourages conversation or relaxation with its overstuffed couches, gas fireplace, board games, and books. Pre-dinner snacks—delicious breads and spreads—are set out here for guests each day at 5:30pm, followed by dinner in the spacious open kitchen.It’s a kitchen straight out of a food magazine, with a master cook to match. While I was there, Chef Craig Wilson presided over the stove and served delectable meal after delectable meal with locally grown ingredients. The first night, our small group enjoyed perfectly spiced lentil soup, lamb rump with caramelized sweet potatoes, salad, roasted red peppers and zucchini. For dessert, we lapped up sweet manuka-honey ice cream with tart but sugary feijoa fruit.The next night brought a chicken dish with the best salad greens I’ve ever tasted, another excellent soup, more top-notch bread, pesto pasta, rice, and ice cream with grilled pineapple. Breakfasts were just as decadent (with lighter options also available), and a coffee, tea, and cookie bar was available to guests at all times.One of the best parts of the second half of my stay at Meadowbrook was that it coincided with an end-of-season "locals lodge" deal that brought a handful of locals and their friends to Abel Tasman for a night. Sitting down to meals with a lively group of Nelson-area residents only added to the warm, familial vibe of the homestead.It wouldn’t feel like your own family home if you couldn’t run around the grounds, of course, and the surroundings of the homestead are another highlight; outside, benches and porches beckon guests to sit above the estuary and reflect. One night all of the guests, hosts, and guides gathered outside to enjoy a vibrant sunset of oranges and blues.Yes, the welcoming and eco-friendly Meadowbrook Homestead feels like home, indeed, albeit in one of the world’s most faraway, and most perfect, locations.
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