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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!

 

 

Where Would I Go for Christmas?

Where Would I Go for Christmas?

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Next on the itinerary: New Year’s Jazz in Italy

Today I join fellow Travel Belle bloggers in answering the question ” If someone said you had to go visit another country for Christmas, where would you go and why?”
Yes, I love France and Italy and spend a lot of time there, but the first place that comes to mind is London!
I would LOVE to fly our kids, spouses, and grandchildren over for a memorable English holiday. As we did so many years ago with our son who was studying in England, we’d include the Christmas Eve service at St. Martin in the Fields,

stroll the holiday-lit streets and arcades,

feast on traditional Christmas treats and snap our crackers,

and be sure to include a couple of days in the glorious English countryside.
Maybe next year?!