Monday, May 28, 2018

A Visit to Ambleside

If you've been following along on our Golden Anniversary trip to Britain, I've been posting in the order that we visited these delightful places.  Today I want to share our day in the Lake District the town of Ambleside.

 This little town is so lovely with its quaint stone houses and shops.  We had visited here on our last trip to England and we decided we must return to view its charm.

Walking down the street we see the Bridge House and decide we must take a peek inside again.  It's a little early so we decide to return later to the little house that stands over Stock Beck.

There are pots of lobelia and petunias and johnny jump-ups on the stairs.  

We decided to visit The Armitt Museum and found it was just opening when we walked up to the door.  The Armitt has a wonderful exhibit featuring the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth.  Miss Potter was a member of The Armitt and gifted her copies of her little books, watercolors and her special drawings of fungi.  Also she gifted her water colored Roman artifacts.  The Armitt is not to be missed if you love and respect Beatrix Potter. 

As most of you are aware, Beatrix Potter was an extraordinary woman!  An accomplished woman that was way ahead of her time as a scientist, a farmer, a sheep breeder, an estate manager and a conservationist!  

" I do not remember a time when I didn't try to invent  pictures and make for myself a fairyland amongst the wild flowers, the animals, the fungi, mosses, woods and streams. "  Beatrix Potter

I can just imagine Beatrix walking down this same street and passing by the Bridge House.

This narrow little charming house is now owned by the National Trust.  It's sweet little window and stove are about all there is to the first level.

I find it hard to believe a family of eight lived here once!  It's seen many lives over the years.  From a mill to a tea room to a cobblers, to a chair maker's it has witnessed all the goings on of Ambleside.  I'm so glad it has been saved for all to enjoy!

As we were walking earlier we spotted just the right spot for lunch.  I hope you will join us.

With a name like this, how can we go wrong?

And the wonderful window full of bakery treats.  (We chose the wonderful Bath Buns in the bottom right).  What would you like? 

Inside this lovely spot that specializes in all kinds of pie we both ordered the yummy chicken pie.

We actually bought the Bath Buns to take "home" with us to enjoy for breakfast tomorrow.  Bath Buns are said to have originated of course in the city of Bath.  They were treats that were made to give to folks visiting the Roman baths by William Oliver.  Sadly the patients gained weight and he resorted to making the Bath Oliver cracker that is like a water cracker.  Since we're on vacation, let's not worry about calories, okay?  Besides, we need to keep our strength up for all the walking, right? ♥

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Busy Days

Our daughter and son-in-law came for a few days to celebrate their son's birthday.  As I've mentioned before, they live in New England, so we are thrilled when they come for a visit.  Although the weather was less than perfect while they were here, we had sunny moments together. 

I picked several bouquets of peonies (Sarah Bernhardt) during our days of rain.  They were being beaten to the ground and I just couldn't take that!

The Nellie Moser Clematis is starting to bloom happily on our mailbox.  Flowers truly love the rain that falls from the heavens and we received over 4 inches last week.  

George Washington's Boyhood Home has recently opened for inside tours.  As I've mentioned HERE The Washington's lived in our county in what was called the Home Farm.  The foundation was discovered by archaeologists and a reproduction house has been built over the foundation.  We wanted to go inside and have a look at this home that George Washington lived from the age of six to twenty-one.  So while Noel and Peter were here it was the perfect time to go have a look.

The home was recreated using the same manner of building from the 1700's.  I must say we were quite happy with what we saw.

The Foundation is acquiring appropriate furnishings to the era and what was left on the inventory list of the Washington's.  

Some pieces are being made by Colonial Williamsburg craftsmen.

This replica of Mary Washington's desk is a beauty!  George's mother was widowed when George was eleven years old and then managed a 600 acre farm!

Everything is hands on at the home!  You can sit on the chairs or pick up any item and explore how it's made.  

We all enjoyed checking out the progress at George Washington's Home Farm, later known as Ferry Farm.

Back home we shared cake and ice cream.

I made the cake and Peter decorated it for his son.

The Virginia Renaissance Faire was attended by these folks, while Boo and Bear stayed home and propped our feet up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Calke Abbey: The Un-Stately Home

Today I'd like to take you to Calke Abbey located in Ticknall, Derbyshire, England.  Our day began with a quick breakfast of chocolate croissants.  We have a nice little kitchen to enjoy coffee (for Grayden) and tea for me before we venture out in the mornings.  Grayden has the map all routed out for us to begin as we sail along the M6.  The M roads are like our interstate roads in the USA.  We notice a lot of construction as we're traveling along, but think we are okay.  Soon we come upon a sign warning of a 90 minute delay.  We decide there is nothing to do but wait.  At the end of the delay we travel a few more miles and then see that the M6 was closed!  We then decide to use the Sat Nav in the car instead of our GPS.  Believe me it was a comedy of errors.  Asking for help we were met with frustration, but then did find an alternate route.  To make a long story short we arrived at Calke Abbey at 12:30pm.  

We decided to have lunch before touring the grounds and opted to eat in the tearoom on the property.

There are always flowers on the tables in the National Trust tearooms.  I love that!

Grayden enjoyed the beef stew and cheese scone that looked better than my photograph.

I had the leek and potato soup with a yummy roll and the best butter!  The butter in Britain is outstandingly delicious!

The entrance to Calke Abbey is through the old stables that have been converted to a reception area and gift shop along with the tearoom.  There was a wonderful gentleman that Grayden spoke with about our travel dilemma and he said he would have a route mapped out for us upon finishing our tour.  He was the nicest man that went over and beyond to help the ungrateful colonists.  He then directed us down the path to take in the house.

Calke Abbey was built on a former priory and completed in 1704 for Sir John Harpur.  The family changed their name to Crewe and then later to Harpur Crewe.  The family collections that have been handed down through the years are featured in the home. 

The National Trust was handed the property in 1985.  It suffered great decline and they have slowly been restoring it so visitors can get a glimpse into the life through the generations at Calke Abbey.

The house is hidden and really doesn't reveal itself until you are right on its doorstep!

The entrance has been changed many times over the years to accommodate the the current generation.  We are invited in and see this is going to be a quirky home.

The heads of many animals including long horn cattle from the surrounding park area adorn the walls.  Not my cup of tea, but surely was for these owners in entrance hall and waiting room.

The Caricature Room was lined with political cartoons of the day.

Every kind of collection you can imagine is featured in this home!

The families were world travelers and brought back many items.

I especially enjoyed seeing the paintings in the home.

The Butler's Pantry was converted in the 1960's when it was used as a kitchen. 

Little has changed in the Dining Room and I can see why--it's lovely.

The Saloon is a wonderful two story room that the owners have lined their collections in every available space.

The Drawing Room was quite elaborate and over the top!

I really love this painting as we enter the The Library.

The volumes have been collected over the generations and include topics about religion, land management, politics and natural history.

You would be astounded by the number of taxidermy birds that occupy Calke Abbey!

The rooms we wondered through now were abandoned by the family after World War II to keep costs down.

As you can imagine a large servant base was needed to run this estate.

Lady Crewe's Room was used last by Charles Harpur Crewe from 1949 until he passed away in 1981.

There are many rooms with items that the National Trust is cataloging and then will decide how to use them.

The original kitchen from 1794 is still as it was left in the 1920's.  With the lack of servants they closed this space to save money.

Take notice of the sign above the oven.  One I've heard my whole life.

As we leave Calke Abbey we see St. Giles Church where  Miss Airmyne Harpur and Henry Harpur Crewe  and their brother Charles are buried. 

As promised the nice gentleman provided us with another route to take back "home."  Avoiding the construction and the closed roads really aided the wandering travelers.