A great afternoon at Okurukuru Winery…Unexpected encounters…

Nothing is like crystal-like sparkles on the ocean on a sunny day.

With a dinner reservation for 7 pm last night at Okurukuru Winery and it getting darker earlier each night with fall fast approaching, we decided to change our reservation to a late lunch instead of dinner. 

The red, blue and black on these birds is an interesting combination.

It was a beautiful sunny day and spending time at the winery would certainly be more enjoyable in the sunshine. We weren’t disappointed with our decision. The views were breathtaking as we’d observed on our last visit when we’d only stopped by to check it out.

The menu was a bit tricky for me with most options including one form of starch, flour, or sugar as a part of the lunchtime choices. As a result, I selected a Thai Beef Salad while Tom went “hog wild” selecting a pizza with a huge bowl of fries on the side. 

There were four of these large birds playing in a garden.

The food was good, although my salad with a suitable dressing was a bit dry. Tom, on the other hand, took a doggy bag with the remainder of his fries, which he ate instead of dinner, which I’d offered to make along with the light meal I’d made for myself.

It was nice to see Tom order a beer. He hasn’t had any drinks other than on the few nights we’ve dined out.

After lunch, we wandered about the massive facility taking photos, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the scenery. As we walked along the veranda overlooking the vineyards, cows, and the sea, we heard American accents from three people chatting at a table, two young women seated and one gentleman our age standing.

As we walked by it was irresistible to say hello which magically resulted in a lengthy conversation with Rachel and Regan, sisters originally from Texas and Ed, from Connecticut. Ed had happened to stop by the winery had also just met the young women after hearing them speak with their southern-tinged American accents.

My Thai Beef salad made to my specifications.

This is the first time since our arrival in New Zealand that we’ve met any Americans. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t necessarily feel Americans have more to offer in conversation or friendship than citizens of any country, especially those with whom we can speak some degree of English. 

Tom’s Meaty Pizza.

Sharing commonalities with those from our same country or origin, elicits an amount of conversation of particular interest, especially, “What brought you here, so far away from the US?”

Of course, as often transpires, we encountered a coincidence of which we seem to expect when meeting other Americans. You know, the “Kevin Bacon, six degrees of separation” thing.

Tom was especially thrilled with the big bowl of fries, too large to eat with a pizza but good cold later back at home.

As it turned out Regan and her husband, a physician, have been living in Opunake for many months on a one-year contract. Her husband is practicing medicine through a project that brings doctors to small communities throughout the world where healthcare is desperately needed. 

View of the landmark smokestack and Sugarloaf Islands in downtown New Plymouth.

Coincidentally Regan is working as a volunteer at Everybody’s Theatre, which we visited and wrote a story only a few days ago. See our story here.  Small world.

We got a kick out of watching these cows wander back and forth through the barren vineyards maneuvering through the stake, fertilizing the soil.

Rachel became engaged only a few days earlier at a romantic spot on the South Island for which we enthusiastically congratulated her. Her fiancé had headed back to the US a few days earlier while she stayed behind to spend quality time with her sister.

The expansive views from the Okurkuru Vineyard are lovely.

While I chatted with the girls, Tom and Ed chatted endlessly, obviously also having a great time. This morning, Tom received a friendly email from Ed and we hope to see him again before he leaves within a week.

Another view of the pasture.

Finally, we were back on our way home unable to wipe the smiles off our faces, happy to have had a perfect day at the winery, a good meal, each other’s companionship, meeting new people, and some exquisite country and ocean views interspersed with a few birds and cows, always a favorite.

As we pulled into the narrow road to our temporary home on the farm, we turned to each other with that wonderful sense of joy we always feel each time we behold the precious alpacas, as many approached the fence when they saw us return.

The view at an overlook on the drive out of the Okurukuru Vineyard on the winding road.

Today, very cool and cloudy, we’re headed to town to shop with multiple stops on our “to-do list”, another simple activity we thoroughly enjoy each week. May the simple activities of your day bring you joy and purpose!

Photo from one year ago today, March 10, 2015:

The orchids in Hawaii are amazing. In this post, we were preparing for a houseguest, my sister Julie who came for a much-needed vacation. For more details, please click here.