Sharon Stephenson travels back in time to the kitsch 60s.

The wedding will be in Vegas. Just me, my beloved and an Elvis lookalike.

But before then, the dilemma is how to celebrate the end of singledom with girlfriends who can't make a sequinned 11,000km pilgrimage to the city of sin.

Given the number of candles weighing down my last birthday cake, staggering along Wellington's Courtenay Place in a veil, snogging random men seems just plain wrong.

The answer was to travel back in time. Circa60 is a themed homestay set deep among the lush vines of Martinborough, an easy hour's drive north of the capital.


Established by Wellington couple Nina Pearson and Jon Munt 18 months ago, it's a celebration of the 1960s, in all its kitsch glory. The brick-and-glass, chalet-style B&B sleeps up to 10 and is packed with retro furniture and fittings, from panelled walls and fake brick to an impressively OTT bar that seems to have been borrowed from the set of an Austin Powers film.

We cover the vertiginous Rimutaka Ranges north of Wellington in record time and are so busy catching up it isn't long before we're pulling into Circa60's driveway.

They lay the nostalgia on thick here and there are whoops of delight as we uncover the treasure trove of 50s and 60s accessories that were largely sourced on Trade Me.

Trade Me finds have been used to furnish the Circa60 B&B. Photo / Supplied

There's everything from vintage movies and books to lava lamps and psychedelic artworks that sear the eyeballs at 20 paces. Here, minimalism is something that happens to other people's houses.

Not so long ago Martinborough was little more than a speck on the map. Then some bright spark decided to plant grapes and with them the seeds of a food and wine movement that has propelled this tiny Wairarapa town on to the world stage.

Luckily, Circa60 is within stumbling distance of most of the wineries. We take our thirsts to one of the region's boutique establishments, Alana Estate.

I had expected a couple of glasses of the latest vintage and the odd platter, but we underestimated Alana Estate's passion for food and wine matching. Plates of smoked salmon with borlotti beans, scallops with lentils, and mustard-encrusted beef emerge from the kitchen, while wine-maker Chris Archer talks us through the best accompaniments.

Happily swathed in an alcoholic blanket, we return to our quirky bolthole where grand plans to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's and get old school fish'n'chips from the quaint shop up the road come to nothing. Instead, we drink bubbles, and listen to Elvis and Ray Charles sing of love, loss and heartache.


Retro deck chairs on the lawn. Photo / Supplied

It's slightly disconcerting going to sleep under the gaze of the painted Maori maiden that hangs above my bed, not to mention the classic Teasmaid teamaker.

Next morning, it's time to pick a brunch spot from the many in Martinborough and neighbouring Greytown. The French Baker in Greytown wins the lottery, where Normandy-born Moise Cerson produces pain au chocolat so good it's like being transported to Paris.

Greytown is pinch-yourself-gorgeous: all leafy historic cottages, white picket fences and chic interior shops that make you wish you'd paid more attention to those home improvement shows on the telly.

It's the kind of place you'd love to retire to one day, with the new hubby of course, and maybe even the Elvis lookalike - he'd fit right in among all the other kitsch relics at Circa60.

Circa60 is on Strasbourge Street, Martinborough.