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Cotswold Memories

Cotswold Memories

As we anticipate returning to this ever-so-charming area of England next month, we’re looking back on previous visits – such as this one, with our Bath Mozartfest tour guests in 2015:
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 duckswe stop for a warming lunch in The Rose Tree, then bundle up and explore further.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. Just a few memories – we’re looking forward to exploring yet more when we return!

 

Charmed by the Cotswolds

Charmed by the Cotswolds

Thursday, November 19, 2015
The Cotswolds & Bath, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

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 delight11191501 bourton on the water and under the water…we walk along the river trailing through Bourton-on-the-Water, well-prepared with our umbrellas. 11191501 bourton on the water and we are preparedAfter greeting the ducks, 11191501 quack greetingwe stop for a warming lunch in The Rose Tree, then bundle up and explore further.11191501 pretty even in the rain Kirk demonstrates the boot cleaning station – this is an area for serious walkers and they’re well provided for! 11191501 bourton on the water boot washThe official weather forecast? 11191501 forecast stone is wetThe 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, 11191502 rain stops no oneother umbrella-toters are taking in the late fall beauty as well.11191502 lunch and strollThe drizzle continues as we drive on to quaint little Bibury – doesn’t this look like a fairy tale illustration? 11191502 sweet village of biburyA 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, 11191502 weavers cottagespicturesque 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. 11191503 beauty all aroundThe village, just steps away, is quietly lived-in, with a primary school and a beautiful old church.11191503 lining topiaries Hardy roses hang on11191503 hardy rose amidst colorful traces of fall11191503 fall remains and approaching winter.11191503 seasons all winter berries on roofThrough the churchyard, we’re surprised to see the gate leading to Bibury Court, a former hotel, now open. 11191503 surprised to find gate open as it used to beSo we accept the invitation and wander through the beautiful gardens,11191503 would love to see in summerpausing by the stream to watch swans on the lookout for a snack. 11191504 bibury swans are lookingThey found it!11191504 bibury swans foundSpeaking 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. 11191504 cozy fireside spot waitingIt’s our last day in England – and we’re finishing it in quintessential English style.11191504 cream tea What a perfect finale this scrumptious afternoon tea is!11191504 deliciousBarnsley 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! 11191504 family friendly plus spaBack in Bath, we’re fitting in a final evening of music as well – 11191504 last concert schiff last sonatas the gala 25th Mozartfest Anniversary concert in the Assembly Rooms11191504 lovely 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, 11201504 goodbye to alfred streetand on to more adventures.

 

From North to South in the Cotswolds

From North to South in the Cotswolds

Friday, September 25, 2015
The Southern Cotswolds, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! How about an unforgettable holiday with us at New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

Surprise! Someone’s decorated the Market Hall with colorful streamers during the night! We didn’t hear a thing…stealth streamers!09251501-colorful-streamers
After a hearty breakfast in the Tea Room downstairs, we’re on our way, making sure to take the road east of town where we’ve read that there are a bevy of thatched roof beauties. And they don’t disappoint!09251501-cottages-thatched I’m fascinated by the precise trim,09251501-fascinated-by-precise-trim the designs on the roofpeak, each distinctive,09251501-peaks-distinctivethe gentle curves, which look as if they’ve been smoothed and shaped by a giant hand.09251502-curves-gently-smoothedFall is much further along here than at home in Virginia, topping the fences with brilliant berries,09251501-fence-topped draping the homes with crimson.09251501-fall-much-further-along-hereAn undulating hedge fronting another thatched home looks like a giant about to awaken –09251501-more-like-a-sleeping-giant-ready-to-wake-up-than-a-hedge I can imagine a green monster rising up with a stretch!
Bibury, nearly an hour south of Chipping Campden, is another popular Cotswold village, and one that we’re including on our Bath Mozartfest Tour itinerary. With its rows of weavers cottages built in 1380, known as Arlington Row,09251502-south-to-biburystill lived in today, a graceful church (garlanded with roses from a recent wedding),09251502-st-marys-garlanded-from-wedding an inviting inn09251502-trout-farm-too with beautiful gardens09251502-swan-inn-gardens and a stream burbling through it all,09251502-wm-morris-prettiest it’s no wonder that William Morris dubbed it the prettiest village in England.
The old inn in which we used to enjoy afternoon tea is no longer open, and a charming lady who’s decorating a window in the church09251502-st-marys-harvest-festival for the upcoming harvest festival recommends a place down the road.
Oh yes – Barnsley House will be perfect for our tour guests!09251503-barnsley-house We’re delighted with the cozy interior – we’ll reserve the corner by the fireplace for our group!09251503-perfect-spot-for-tea-on-tourAnd the gardens are an absolute wonder – 09251503-Fabulous-gardenswith inviting nooks09251503-inviting-nooks and luscious long views – 09251503-long-viewsbreathtaking!
It’s been a few years since we’ve been in Bath, so we’re re-acquainting our selves with this gracious city. Our first concert for the Mozartfest in November will be in the majestic Abbey.09251503-reacquainting-with-bath And of course we’ve got to make sure that the restaurants we’d previously chosen for the tour are still good! So after a delicious dinner not far from the abbey we say goodnight to Bath09251503-where-Austens-heroines-walked1 – we’ll be back tomorrow!

Cruising the Cotswolds

Cruising the Cotswolds

Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Cotswolds, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy

It’s another glorious day in the English countryside…sun filters into the sitting room,09241501 am filtering sun beckoning us to the gardens beyond…and just in case, a plethora of wellies right by the front door can keep our feet dry in the dewy grass.09241501 am prepared boots by doorThrough a stone arch, the path winds down beside the manicured lawns to a lake, but we’re headed first out the back door to explore Upper Slaughter..09241501 am walkSt. Peter’s church tops the town, with a unique mix of architectural styles – it’s obviously been modified through the centuries.09241501 church of st peterInside it’s simple and peaceful, with an impressive beamed and vaulted ceiling.09241501 church simple beautyI’d love to watch a crew of ringers peal the bells above! How many people does it take, I wonder…does each rope have a ringer, or is it a one-person job?09241501 church web of bell pullsDown the hill we walk, passing a pretty front yard09241503 mailbox pack up to stowe, and a  re-purposed red phone booth still jaunty beside a stone cottage. It now houses a defibrillator!09241501 phonebox now defibrillatorA sign by the road warns “unsuitable for vehicles”  – but this ford looks pretty harmless to us. We cross the narrow walking bridge beside it.09241501 sign not suitable for vehicles the fordA public walkway meanders between Upper and Lower Slaughter, taking us through a field with a good view back towards Lords of the Manor.09241501 to lower slaughter by lordsThrough woods, grassy meadows and quirky gates we go, 09241501 woods and fields and gatesand arrive at Lower Slaughter in about 15 minutes.09241502 down to the millThe old mill is the village’s claim to fame,and now houses a couple of crafty shops, 09241502 etsy items in the crafty shopsand a courtyard of golden stone garden objects.09241502 golden stone for the gardenA bit bigger than Upper Slaughter, the village is filled with pretty homes and gardens,09241502 nice gardens this one with reds of every shade, 09241502 reds of every shadegently arched bridges,09241503 bridgesand tall-steepled St. Mary’s.09241502 pretty church in a bit bigger townWe’re heading further north today, through rolling fields crisscrossed with drystone walls,09241503 undulating fields to the bustling village of Chipping Campden,09241504 chipping campden where we’re spending the night in a cute B & B over a tearoom overlooking the beautiful market hall. 09241504 market hallBuilt in the early 1600s, the market’s floor sure shows its age!09241504 old floor 1627Pauline, the founder of Slow Europe, who now lives in the Cotswolds, recommends the Badger Tea Rooms for their scones baked in an Aga 09241504 from the aga– I love their crisp outside and tender inside, and the cream, of course, is delectable! 09241504 chipping campden sconesTwo days, two cream teas…not my usual diet, that’s for sure!
The over one hundred mile Cotswold Way, a walking path, begins here and goes all the way to Bath.09241504 way starts here goes southMuch larger than the hamlets we’ve been in earlier today, Chipping Campden boasts several good tea rooms and pubs, charming thatched cottages,09241505-pass-cottage-on-way-to-church many beautiful homes,09241505 elegant townhomes not a village and a majestic “Wool Church” 09241505-q-churchso called since it was reconstructed in grand style by the wealthy wool merchants of medieval times. We still see lots of sheep on the hillsides, but I don’t think they make their masters so much money as they did way back then! The graveyard beside the church slopes down to a ruined manor, all that’s left is a many-towered entry.09241505 q graveyardWe stop by the Lygon Arms to make dinner reservations,returning later for a hearty meal and even heartier conversations by the locals.09241506 delicious dinner and fun conversation eavesdropping Last night, too, we enjoyed eavesdropping on the teasing banter by the bar – it’s obvious that these pubs are a nightly stop for many.
The town seems to glow as we walk back to our room…09241507 goodnightgood night, Chipping Campden!

The Cream of the Cotswolds

The Cream of the Cotswolds

Wednesday September 23, 2015
The Cotswolds, England

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

It’s one of those special birthdays…ending in a 5…and where in the world have I chosen to celebrate? In the peacefully gorgeous Cotswolds in England! And in one of the most beautiful places in which we’ve ever stayed, Lords of the Manor in the tiny hamlet of Upper Slaughter.09231501 Arrival Lords of the Manor From the first glimpse of the golden stone mansion tucked into luxuriant gardens, I was absolutely delighted.
And then the gracious hostess walked us through the cushioney and inviting sitting areas, 09231501 inviting seating areasand down winding hallways to our room as the delight continued. 09231501 our room thanx for bday upgradeIf there were anything available to eat this late in the afternoon, we’d just stay right here! But getting out of Heathrow took too much time, as usual (longest passport control lanes we’ve EVER been in!) and with the nearly two hour drive on top of that, it’s waaaay past our lunchtime! The closest place to get a bite to eat at this time is Bourton-on-the-Water, not far from the Manor, so off we go. 09231501 starving took hours to get out of airport to bourtonThis area and our beloved Aix are both filled with buildings of a honey golden stone, its color shade-shifting as the light changes through the day. 09231501 town golden stone like beloved Aix and gardensWhat could be more satisfying on a crisp fall afternoon than a cream tea? 09231501 treat cream teaOh how I love that dense clotted cream – there’s just nothing like it! Slathered on a raisin-studded buttery scone, topped with a smear of strawberry jam….just what I wanted on my birthday 😉
A stroll around Bourton-on-the-Water confirms the fact that we’re here at the most beautiful time of year, with fall hues09231502 blooms prime time and fall color joining the lush flower-filled window-boxes09231502 blooms prime time and gardens – heavenly! 09231502 blooms prime time everywhere we lookHave you ever seen so many colors of hydrangea on one bush?!09231502 blooms prime time oneWinter’s coming…and this home is well-prepared with a hefty stack of firewood by the front door. 09231502 but cold weathers on the wayBack to Lords of the Manor for a cozy nap to help us get over jetlag,09231502 lords of the manor nap enjoying the fragrant lavender as we pass.09231502 stop and smell the lavenderThen we’re off again09231502 out to lower swell pub dinner for a pub dinner in nearby Lower Swell (loving these names!), before returning for a good night’s sleep09231503 so cozy and inviting – we’ve got lots of fun to pack in the next few days!