Over Labour weekend the Taranaki Pioneer Village held their annual Family Fun Day and Liane and I thought that the opportunity to attend was too good to pass up. After considering a day trip and deciding that that would have meant a super early start and too many hours spent travelling all in one day we chose to head up on Saturday and stay overnight at Opunake Beach.
On the drive and when we arrived the weather was rather gloomy – grey skies, wind, and rain. We tightly crossed our fingers that the following day would be better as we briefly walked on the beach before hiding away from it, watching another episode of Murdoch Mysteries and nibbling on hot chips.
Fortunately, Sunday dawn with a cloudy, yet promising sky and I scooped up my hair and makeup bits and pieces and trotted over to the communal bathroom, as we had no mirror in our cabin. Feeling a little self-conscious, I set myself up and started curling my hair. As I curled and pinned a few women came and went, I got a few odd glances but was also given a couple of compliments too.
I returned to our cabin an hour after I had left it to have some breakfast and get dressed. Packing my suitcase afterwards was a breeze since I was wearing most of what had been packed in there the day before. We packed the car and while Liane was getting ready I headed back to the bathroom to brush my teeth. By then the campground had woken up so I think we caused a bit of a stir. People wanted to know what we were wearing, where we were going, and also told us that we looked nice.
Once we were all packed and ready to go we headed for Stratford. As we approached the Pioneer Village it was quite exciting to see how many cars were already parked up and that there was a queue to buy tickets. I have been to events that haven’t had a large turnout before so it was lovely to see how many locals had chosen to come along to support the village and to spend the day in amongst some history.
We joined the queue, paid for our entry, and emerged into the village. I made it through before Liane and had barely gone twenty steps before a lady from the vintage car club asked if it was possible to take some photos of the two of us with their cars for their club newsletter. Happy to oblige, we posed with the cars while some of the club members took photos before starting our exploration of the village.
I have never been to the Taranaki Pioneer Village before but I had heard positive things and I was not disappointed. There were so many buildings to explore, from school rooms to cottages, different shops such as a grocer and dressmakers, a courthouse, railway stations, and so on.
We stopped in at Pembroke School and couldn’t resist making ourselves a little bit at home…
And visited the bank in search of some long-forgotten savings but, alas, the bank manager didn’t budge.
We also stopped in at Harrop’s Drapery and Madame de Launay’s Sewing Room which, personally, I think could have been improved with the addition of some Victorian garments.
It was impossible to pass up the opportunity to play inside the Grocery Store, despite the lack of service…
As it was Sunday, we thought it best to visit the church, which is absolutely beautiful inside. If I remember what one of the volunteers told us, it was built about 1904 so that makes it 113 years old.
While at that end of the Pioneer Village we took advantage of the streetscape for a few photos.
Upon visiting the Courthouse we had a chat to the bookbinder and then had a little fun in the courtroom. I swear, this was and will be the only time I stand in a dock. It’s good to know that Liane has my back though.
After deeming myself not guilty of whatever possible crime I might have committed (and hoping that it wasn’t a fashion related offence), we headed back outside to resume our exploration of the village. Which I think I shall have to continue in a future post as this one would otherwise run the risk of running on much too long…
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