Sunday, December 10, 2017

Allan Bank and Grasmere

After leaving Dove Cottage we drove to the beautiful village of Grasmere.  From here we will visit Allan Bank and have lunch.  Grasmere is a popular spot so we hunted around and found the car park that had available spots.  Getting out of the vehicle I am struck by the sheer beauty that surrounds us!

We began our walk into the village and see many familiar spots that we enjoyed on our last trip to England.

We decided we must go in and get some gingerbread to take with us to enjoy later.

Their gingerbread is like none other we have had.  It is quite flat, but full of delicious spicy flavor! It's a cross between a cookie and cake texture.  So yummy!

Sara Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread is quite popular and we experienced a line or queue as my British friends like to say.

I tuck our gingerbread into my bag as we head to Baldry's tearoom for lunch.  We enjoyed Baldry's on our last visit and wanted to return.

So many lovely buildings are covered in beautiful ivy that is a  rich, burgundy red color in autumn.  

Grayden ordered the quiche/salad and I had the broccoli soup.  The portions are big enough to share.  We do that a lot when we are eating out to save money and calories!

After having our lunch we climb the hill to visit Allan Bank.  

Walking along there are beautiful sites to see.  

Everywhere there are fairy tale houses.

Before leaving our home in the USA, Grayden and I joined the National Trust and English Heritage.  We also got the Explorer Pass that enabled us to visit the places we wanted to see in Scotland.  It's wonderful to support these organizations that keep these sites open for future generations.  If it weren't for them they would probably be privately owned or demolished.  

Allan Bank is just ahead.  We don't have too much further to walk and go inside.

When Allan Bank was built, William Wordsworth thought it to be a horrible idea.  He felt it would ruin the views of the area.  Well, as time passed and his family grew they needed larger accommodations to rent.  Not having much to choose from they moved to Allan Bank.  It proved to be a wonderful place for his children.  Along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge they made their home here until moving to Rydal Mount in 1813.  

In 1915 Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley bought the property for his retirement.  He was one of the co-founders of the National Trust.  He was the chaplain for King George V in 1912.  A poet and hymn writer, he loved the Lake District.  He was the first published author that Beatrix Potter met.  He encouraged her with her artwork and later to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Visiting today we are treated to a short reading by actors portraying the beginning of the formation of the National Trust.

The Allan Bank home is quite large and is not in the repair one would think it to be.  The National Trust considers it to be in a state of renovation, but is happy to invite visitors inside.  There have been a couple fires that have nearly destroyed the home.

Since the home is a work in progress, I think you can see why this home needs to be protected.  The views are spectacular!

We talked with a lady who had come up here with her lunch to enjoy the view.  I don't blame her!

When we entered the home we were welcome to take a cup of tea and explore the place.

So we took our tea and headed upstairs.  You can see there is great detail in the woodwork.

I can just imagine what a lovely home this once was.  Wordsworth's sister Dorothy used to complain about the faulty chimneys that would fill the home with smoke as the wind down drafted it into the home.  If you have a chimney you probably have experienced this issue.

Most of the National Trust properties have a room for children to enjoy.  

You can also have a seat and paint if you wish.

I think this home's greatest feature is the view!

As we were leaving Allan Bank we observed a bird in flight heading to the rock cliff behind the home.

This was a glorious walk up to Allan Bank and now as we descend into Grasmere we are enjoying the view.  

All over England there are rock walls that are covered in moss and ferns that are so charming.

And of course sheep.  I couldn't help but photograph them even when we were driving!

Grayden stopped the car many times for me as we just had to photograph the beauty.

Our day ended so lovely. 

Thank you for sharing our day with us in beautiful Grasmere. ♥

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dove Cottage

After leaving Blenheim Palace we headed north to the Lake District.  Those of you that have read my thoughts know that I adore this very special part of England.  When we visited a couple of years ago we knew we wanted to return.  Driving north was quite busy on the M6.  I do believe most of England's motorways were under construction while we were there!  I'll write a little more about that as I share our trip.  We checked into our home away from home and settled into our studio apartment.  It's nice to have a kitchen when you are staying for extended periods of time away from home.  Breakfast can be enjoyed before heading out for the day as well as having a fridge to store cheese and fruit and veggies to snack on.  Stopping at Waitrose to get groceries we were stocked for our stay. We stayed two weeks in the Lake District and then traveled south to the Devon/Cornwall area for the next two weeks.

In the morning we planned to visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere.  Grayden had packed all the necessary electrical cords and converters to be able to stay in touch with our family.  We bought the same cords and devices as last time, but this time we had quite an issue.  When we plugged in we blew the circuit to our apartment!  Luckily we were in the dark for only an hour as Amir came to our rescue.  He even came the next day and gave us the items we needed to stay plugged in!  I tell you the folks in England are so kind hearted and helpful, even when it's those crazy Americans that blow circuits!

So let's get going over to Grasmere.  It's the most charming area.  You'll hear me say that a lot about England!  Many poets and writers have made their home in this area.  It certainly is full of inspiration. 

It was a beautiful day.  The sun shining so lovely all around the lakes.

Dove Cottage was the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. They both enjoyed living here and sharing it with their friends.  They moved into Dove Cottage in 1799 and lived here until 1808 when they moved to Allan Bank.  I'll be sharing about Allan Bank soon!  Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived with them for periods of time at Dove Cottage.  They walked the fells and shared thoughts.  It was here that the Romantic age of literature took flight.  Wordsworth married Mary while living in Dove Cottage.  

"We have...a small orchard and a smaller garden which as it is the work of our own hands we regard with pride and partiality. "
Dorothy Wordsworth

After parking the car we walk up to the Museum to buy our tickets to go into Dove Cottage.

Dove Cottage

There is a wonderful museum with many artifacts of the Wordsworth's.  Dorothy Wordsworth's diary is on display.  Her daily diary is said to have inspired William's famous poem, I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud.   She was a great encouragement to him.  We learned that he didn't enjoy writing down his thoughts and had his wife Mary or Dorothy do that for him!  I guess you could say he had two secretaries!

Let's go inside of the tiny cottage and see what life was like for them.  The cottage is four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs.  

We were with a group of ten, so it's quite cramped in here.  The fire sure feels good, though.

In this sitting room the family gathered with friends.  Most of these old cottages have very little light, but that seems to add to the charm.

These are rush candles made from dried reeds and then dipped in tallow.   They were cheaper to make and would give more light as you lit both ends.  Hence- "burning the candle at both ends".

There is a stream that runs under the cottage so a buttery is convenient to store items that need to be cold.

The bedroom was dressed to keep the cold air out when one is sleeping.

Wordsworth's favorite likeness of himself

This is Wordsworth's cuckoo clock.  It was restored and it takes its place in the stairwell.  We were reminded he loved to show it to visitors.

Upstairs there are cabinets full of the Wordsworth's objects.  Pretty china and other interesting things.  One of which was Coleridge's opium scale!  We heard that the two had a falling out and I wonder if this might be over his drug addiction.

The Wordsworth's loved nature and naturally had a lovely garden that we wanted to explore.  They collected many flowers on their walks and planted them at Dove Cottage.  There is a very steep hill that is terraced and planted with all of their lovely flowers and quotes.

At the top of the garden there is a lovely view.  We are reminded that the house we are looking at was not there, so the view would reveal more of the lake.

The view from the top of their garden filled our hearts with joy.  We wondered what Autumn would be like in the Lake District.  It was lovely to see many flowers still blooming.

The Wordsworth's left their imprint on the Lake District.  We will be visiting Allan Bank next.  I hope you will come along when we visit this very unusual and special place.