By Dave Donnelly

Thursday, April 29, 1999

Expatriates run
star kitchen

THE Hertz man in London asked if I wanted a foxhole, causing me to look at him blankly. I finally realized he meant "Vauxhall," a tiny car virtually perfect for traversing the seemingly impossible roads in Devon. Forget about the "wrong side of the road" -- they're barely wider than the car itself. I was on my way back to the Gidleigh Park Hotel, owned by former Kaneohe residents Paul & Kay Henderson, who've operated the gorgeous, home-like 13-room hostelry since 1977. Not only is the hotel a showcase and the grounds breathtaking, the kitchen has just been awarded a second Michelin Star. Only 14 properties in all of the U.K. have as many. Henderson's brother, Bill, still lives in Honolulu and it was through him I met them a dozen years ago ...

THE Hendersons have upgraded more than the dining room since my last visit there a decade ago. A lovely croquet pitch and putting course have been added, inspired by the Hendersons' visit to the Lodge at Koele on Lanai. Golfing analyst Peter Allis and his partner designed the 18-hole course, with greens as daunting as any you'll likely find outside St. Andrew's. Gidleigh Park is highly recommended to anyone seeking the finer, more relaxing things in life. The New York Times' chief correspondent R.W. Apple has visited there annually for some 18 years ...

Top of the line

Mug shot ABOUT a three mile drive East of Devon you'll find Chewton Glen, one of the true Wonders of the Western World. I'd also visited Chewton Glen a decade back and it was there that Sheridan Morley staged his Noel Coward Centenary show at a black-tie dinner. Sherry was brilliant with his very funny Coward-ly tales. A female "star singer" and an accompanist also versed in Coward songs completed the elegant cabaret-style show. Sherry also wrote the revue "Noel & Gertie" about Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, which was performed here some years back by Terrence Knapp and Linda Ryan. It's back on the boards starring Twiggy in New York ...

AS for Chewton Glen, it's a classic estate converted into a luxury 55-room hotel, and has been named by Conde Nast Traveler as the 11th greatest hotel in the world. As operated meticulously by owners Brigette and Martin Skan and managing director Peter Crome I'm surprised not a whit at its international recognition ...

Age is relative

THE day after the Porter evening, we breakfasted with Morley and his wife, Ruth Leon, who directed the show, and headed off through the "New Forest" (named by William the Conqueror) to see Stonehenge, dating to 2,500 B.C. and still worshiped by Druids. We also visited Salisbury and its old cathedral. The docent gave us a fascinating tour of the ancient structure and then dismissed those who'd indicated they were in a bit of a hurry. "If you want to spend another 10 minutes," he added, "we can pop into this room and see the Magna Carta." Nobody left. The delicately scripted (in Latin) Magna Carta dates back to 1215. The Brits aren't nearly so impressed by things ancient as their American cousins. I noted the Southhampton lawn bowling league, just up the road from Chewton Glen, was celebrating its 700th anniversary. It was founded in 1299, just 87 years after the Magna Carta. That makes it about 550 years older than America's oldest game, baseball ... Sadly, it was time to head for Heathrow and catch the United non-stop to San Francisco for a rest before heading home. Tomorrow it's back to reporting on Hawaii ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

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