Winter in America is cold
And I just keep growing older…
Those lyrics came to mind when I started to edit these images of a wintery long weekend spent in the southern isle. Flying into Hobart late on a chilly Thursday afternoon, the weather on my phone app said a high of 6 degrees… hmmm, indoor spaces, yummy food and wine? Time off, time out and time away from the business was an important factor in the months that we are closed…and travelling to meet up with old friends is high on my priority list. Pete & Carmen have lived in Tassie for more than 20 years and though the weather didn’t behave we planned accordingly and it made the weekend super memorable !
With a grim Friday forecast what better place to start than at MONA. David Walsh’s Museum of Old & New…if only James Packer had put his gambling money into something this creative 🙂 Mona is an excellent reason to visit or revisit – in just seven years it has made Hobart (& the rest of Tasmania) a go-to destination.
The current exhibition, is centred around the 1950’s Zero Movement and since my last visit a striking new wing called Pharos (costing $20 million) has been built with a Brutalist sensibility housing recently acquired pieces…for architecture lovers the building itself is worth the visit.
Quietly fascinating is Richard Wilson’s 20:50, a room flooded with engine oil. A waist-high barrier extends into the room allowing viewers to walk into a luminous, still, black mass. This piece was previously owned by Charles Saatchi and was housed in his London gallery. Now here it is in a purpose built space at the bottom of the world. Museum staff repeatedly tells viewers not to touch it…I wasn’t tempted!
And to lure you to the opposite end of the building is American artist James Turrell..
From a corridor of changing colours you enter a calm, chilled out modernist space that is Faro, a restaurant and bar area. Another James Turrell’s installation is nestled amongst the tables and chairs, Unseen Seen. For this you need to book in-advance, sign a rather long waiver & before entering you are given a panic button. We decided just to have lunch 🙂
Nothing has been overlooked in this space. It is the perfect interval between a morning and afternoon visit. Perched almost on the water, Faro has floor to ceiling glass panels that allow you to feel both part of the weather but separated…cocooned and snug in velvet chairs watching the rain roll in.
Next morning, the forecast was pretty much the same but worse. To coax us outdoors the temptations of Missy Patisserie were on offer (cafe cremes & excellent vanilla slices!) before heading to New Norfolk – a pretty 30 minute drive from Hobart alongside the Derwent River. After taking the dogs for a run & wandering around a street market we headed to the Agrarian Kitchen . Luck was with us as we nabbed the last table ahead of a long line of walk-ins trying to escape the cold. Warming our hands by the fire as we took in the surroundings….
The bare bones and the history of the building are on show as a restrained and thoughtful fit out makes the space both inviting and modern, rather than austere. This particular room was the women’s wing and the winter sun streamed through the tall windows…the old lino floors and rustic pressed metal ceilings anchor the genuine feel of the room whilst the modern lighting adds a neat contrast. Spaces that blend the old and new so effortlessly will always make me happy, a credit to the owners Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet and the strength of their vision.
We had a hearty lunch indulging in the already infamous sourdough potato cakes as well as some ridiculously good pumpkin donuts with a whisky caramel sauce, amongst other dishes.
Satiated and ready to return to the elements.
Some of the buildings on this site date from 1827, originally named the New Norfolk Insane Asylum, later the Royal Derwent Hospital – it was closed in 2000.
Believe it or not, Sunday was bleaker than Friday and Saturday but we armed ourselves with pastries & hot chocolates (again!), this time from Pigeon Hole Bakery and headed south of Hobart to visit friends. After a whistle stop tour of Seven Mile Beach and some fish n chips at Dunalley Fish market we let the dogs have a good ole run on the beach.
Winter in Tassie is cold (and we did get a little older) but good memories are made of times like this. We indulged in some great food and wine, gained a few kilos and laughed a lot. Surprisingly no purchases were made for the shop – though I was a little tempted once or twice..we will be back. x Brooke