Thursday, November 19, 2015
The Cotswolds & Bath, England
Our guests have been looking forward to a day in the Cotswolds – it’s been twenty years since they were last here! Well, this is a part of the world that probably has not changed much in twenty years – and the Cotswolds like it that way!
Even in the drizzle the villages are a delight…we walk along the river trailing through Bourton-on-the-Water, well-prepared with our umbrellas. After greeting the ducks, we stop for a warming lunch in The Rose Tree, then bundle up and explore further. Kirk demonstrates the boot cleaning station – this is an area for serious walkers and they’re well provided for! The official weather forecast? The stone is wet – it’s raining (notice that’s the first option here in damp England), no surprise! We’re not the only ones exploring the village, other umbrella-toters are taking in the late fall beauty as well.The drizzle continues as we drive on to quaint little Bibury – doesn’t this look like a fairy tale illustration? A plus of the dreary weather is that there are fewer sightsee-ers here today. In September we had trouble finding a parking place, and had to weave between busloads of people checking out the tiny village. Now we can actually see the entire Arlington Row, picturesque cottages built in the 1300s as a monastic wool store, and later lived in by weavers in the 17th century. Current owners keep them beautifully maintained both in front and behind. The village, just steps away, is quietly lived-in, with a primary school and a beautiful old church. Hardy roses hang on amidst colorful traces of fall and approaching winter.Through the churchyard, we’re surprised to see the gate leading to Bibury Court, a former hotel, now open. So we accept the invitation and wander through the beautiful gardens,pausing by the stream to watch swans on the lookout for a snack. They found it!Speaking of snacks, it’s tea time! So on we go to beautiful Barnsley House, where we’ve reserved our favorite spot, right by the cozy fire. It’s our last day in England – and we’re finishing it in quintessential English style. What a perfect finale this scrumptious afternoon tea is!Barnsley House is an ideal country house hotel, complete with an outstanding restaurant, gorgeous gardens, and a spa – but it’s family friendly as well – wellies of all sizes at the ready! Back in Bath, we’re fitting in a final evening of music as well – the gala 25th Mozartfest Anniversary concert in the Assembly Rooms featuring pianist Sir András Schiff. We’re spellbound by his artistry as he plays the final sonatas of 4 composers: Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert. A perfect finale to our Music and Markets week.
And now it’s goodbye to our Alfred Street apartment, and on to more adventures.