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Friday Follies: A Flying Auckland Visit

A weekend or so ago, I took a flying visit to Auckland, indulging in a Saturday to roam around several neighborhoods (K Road, Ponsonby, Herne Bay) and reconnect with some old friends before they left New Zealand. Here’s some of the great places I visited…and one or two not-so-great ones.

Cherry Bishop dress, retro cut, in Japanese cotton with – are you ready? – BUNNIES.

Cherry Bishop’s store in Herne Bay is stocked with well-cut retro-style dresses she’s designed. Two points of difference here: her skirts are flatteringly pleated into waistbands, not gathered. I prefer this tremendously – it makes the dresses more polished and flexible. And she picks out delicious fabrics that you won’t see on 200 other retro-istas, including Japanese cottons and patterns with New Zealand flair. The velvets of her winter dresses are thick and scrumptious, too.

Annex boutique on Ponsonby Road is unexpectedly charming, with stylish foundation pieces like Three Dots and Petit Bateau tees and knitwear, and chic French hair clips and barrettes. “I try to have things you can’t get online,” says the smiling owner.

Avant-garde Scotties boutique has both Auckland and Wellington branches. In Auckland, tucked away in Herne Bay, they have a small branch with a high-end recycle boutique. The sale rack there had some fantastic deals for $100 and under.

Not so great: K Road…otherwise known as Karangahape Road, the local “alternative” hipster strip…it’s also lost several places that gave it charm, like excellent used bookstores and fabric shops. I’ve outgrown the trendy t-shirt and unremarkable vintage stores that remain. And Nostalgia Restaurant, also known as Prohibition, is certainly a beautiful locale. A friend and I, asking if we might have afternoon tea despite our jeans, were dumped at a table outside by an icily soignee woman, who gave us a grubby drinks menu and…ignored us. Not even ow! Honestly, “sorry, ladies, we have a dress code,” would have been better.

Luckily dreamy Jafa Cafe washed the bad taste out of my mouth. From the lushest pancakes ever seen to vegan raw food platters, they have something for everybody, and it’s casual-as.

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