We are back at home in Menlo Park and getting caught up. Here’s a quick rundown on the first week after London; we’ll post another in a few days covering our visit to Wales.
The second stage of our vacation was five days in the Lake District in northern England, an idyllic rural vacation spot made famous in the poems of William Wordsworth and the Peter Rabbit stories of Beatrix Potter. We loved our time there and wish we had more — it was a magical combination of cute villages, quiet country lanes, mirror still lakes, and rolling mountains.
We stayed in Braithwaite, a village in the mountainous part of the Lake District which consists of a handful of cottages, two pubs (the Royal Oak and the Coledale Inn), one restaurant, and a general store that had all the basics and even saved the Times and the Independent for us each morning. For the first few days, we rented a cottage in the middle of the village, right on the side of the Coledale “beck” (local term for a stream) with fantastic views of the “fells” (a.k.a. mountains) nearby. For the final two days, after the discovery of a few too many beetles in cottage #1, our rental company moved us to Ladstock Hall, a country house in the next village that was converted recently to condominiums and offered great views of the countryside plus a taste of country gentry life.
Our daily routine was to wake with Claire, usually around 8am, make tea and toast then spend the morning pottering around the cottage or walking on the nearby fells. Most days we would then take a three- to five-hour drive exploring the Lake District’s rural splendor on a country lane far too narrow, steep, and filled with sheep for a car like ours. We particularly enjoyed the remote and mountainous Wasdale valley and having dinner at the Wasdale Head Inn. We took Claire to a pub just about every day and she quickly learned the difference between bitter and stout and has gotten pretty good at telling which ale is real. We usually got back by 7pm so we could get Claire to sleep and then enjoy our books, a movie, or an early night.
Otherwise, we caught up on many fun things about England: warm beer (among our favorites was the delightfully named Snecklifter), fish and chips, McVitie’s biscuits (including extensive taste testing that determined Plain Chocolate are better than the sweeter Milk Chocolate), cream tea, steak and ale pies, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Stilton cheese, Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, and endless cups of tea.
Click on the photo below for a slideshow.