Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Victorian Precinct in Oamaru


Oamaru is a quite the little NZ town. First, and we insist most important, it's home to Whitestone Cheese Co. This Moeraki Bay Blue is genius.

I sprinkled some on our beet-cauliflower-onion saute this morning for extra umami.

Oamaru is also home to a fantastic steampunk museum, which we toured in 2015, laughing happily all the way.

Next to our campground there's even a steampunk playground.

But the real treasure here might be the Victorian Precinct, where elegant warehouses, hotels, and commercial offices from the 1870s exist out of time, now protected by a trust. Built of locally quarried limestone, they house more than 50 businesses, many of them artists and artisans.

There's a working wool store and galleries and artist studios, a textile cooperative and pubs, cafes, and a boutique brewery.

 Here's a perfect lock-up for Art

 The studio of Donna Demente and oh how I wish she'd been open.

In a local crafts shop, a mash-up painting/photograph of the Victorian Precinct.

This hotel has an inviting pub there at the corner.

The precinct houses four second-hand book shops (and a book bindery), not all open today. Here's Slightly Foxed Secondhand Books and what a welcoming sit-down-and-read vibe it has.

Tidy shelves include many classics. Maybe I'll return for that John Steinbeck tomorrow.

This engaging gentleman was minding the shop today. He's lived a huge life, circumnavigating the globe in his boat and sailing the US Great Lakes and the waterways of Europe and South America. NZ authorities are now giving him hassle because they say he's too old to sail the Southern Ocean. (Oamaru is 45 degrees south, the latitude that defines the theoretical halfway point between the equator and the South Pole, roughly the start of the Southern Ocean. )

I wouldn't bet against him! He was reading this in the quiet of the store.

Art reads non-fiction, these days about NZ sheep stations

I read principally fiction (though much non-fiction online)

I've never read Joanna Trollope. This piece makes me think she's a nimble writer.

Much of the architecture here is attributed to Thomas Forrester (1838-1907):
While still in full time employment with the Harbour Board, for almost three decades from 1872 and in partnership with John Lemon, Forrester designed an impressive portfolio of ornately decorated buildings and family homes, contributing more than any other person to the distinctive architecture of Oamaru.

Sign outside a local cafe

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