February 20, 2002- Notes From The Asylum.... Lodge, That Is

With the wind still strong out of the south, I'm glad that I decided to stay here an extra day. It is an interesting place. I've been walking around the grounds this morning. There are 5 or 6 buildings still left from the asylum hospital. Aside from the original stone building built in 1879, most are of mid twentieth century origin. Most, except for the hostel itself, are just used for storage. One is a very complete automobile shop where Frank, the owner, is restoring an 1952 Peugeot. Two of the other buildings are filled with the unrestored cars from the twenties to the fifties that I mentioned yesterday. I think that he probably has about 35. There is a lifetime of restoration available. Of the more modern ones are an old Beetle with the small rear window and a Fiat Cinquecento. There is a Morris Panel Van that I'd love to have, if it were restored.

The stone building looks like it was used as a carriage house. It even has a forge in it. Frank is slowly working on converting at least part of it to a hostel for next year. The big room with the forge would make a stupendous great room, if one could convert the forge to a fireplace.

One of the other extant buildings is a wooden block of cells, evidently used for the violent patients. It is in pretty poor condition, but some of the original doors (with metal plate on the inside) and heavily shuttered windows are still in place. The rooms are actually fairly good-sized and the window openings large. With the application of time and lots of cash, the stone building and the cells could be quite a spectacular hostel. Probably won't happen.

Frank is very involved in trying stop the development of a proposed 2600 acre mussel farm just off the Karitane coast. This is still a fairly pristine area, which is why a large company want site it here, and the fear is that the mussels, which are not native to the area, will pollute the waters, the structures and boat traffic will drive away the dolphins and the shell debris will ruin the beaches. I'll be glad to help out. Seems a worthwhile cause.

There seem to be a handful of fairly long term guests here. With the Karitane beaches nearby, with good surfing and Dunedin within easy driving distance. It seems like a good place to stay out of the city. Unless.....it's really a Hotel California. I've stayed at a couple of strange locations, historically, in the last couple of days. First, a campground that was originally a convalescent hospital, now an ex-asylum.

Updated: 26 March 2002