Easton Place

Travel

Scotland: 2015

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Oh hey! Don't mind me. I've just decided to write a journal post about a trip I took nearly two years ago. What? Why? Well, it's like this... I simply haven't taken the time to put my photos and thoughts on virtual paper. Seeing how I'm preparing to travel to Scotland next month, I thought it was perfect timing to revisit my first stay there. Makes sense, no?

from the top of Arthur's Seat, overlooking all of Edinburgh, Scotland

Seriously, though, I absolutely love Scotland, and this summer my husband, myself and two friends are going on holiday to the Scottish highlands as well as to Edinburgh! Two years ago Matthew (my husband) and I were fortunate enough to stay for the better part of a week in Scotland. Neither of us are golfers, so when we made our hotel arrangements, we were unaware that the 2015 Open Championship was being held the exact same week of our Scotland holiday, so we were shocked at the cost of hotel accommodations. It wasn't until we had checked into our room, and questioned the manager about the expense compared to the look of the room, that we discovered we had picked THE most expensive time of year to stay in Edinburgh. Live a learn, I suppose.

Our 2015 visit included renting a car to explore outside the city. We headed for Glencoe, which is part of the Scottish Highlands. If you follow me on social media, or have read any of my travel posts, you probably know I LOVE Ireland and all its beauty. And while it is still my favorite place on earth, I can honestly say that I've never experienced such natural beauty as the day we drove through Glencoe. At one point, my husband pulled the car over so we could get out and just marvel at the sites. I'm not at all embarrassed to tell you that I was so taken by the beauty, I began to weep. There is something incredibly spiritual about the Scottish Highlands. If you have a travel bucket-list, I strongly urge you to include the Highlands.

The weather that week was incredibly cold. The locals told us it was unseasonably cool with some days hovering around 45℉. Still, we did manage to see some sites whilst layered in my summer clothes. At one point I believe I had on 2 shirts and 3 cardigan sweaters. Ha! There were a couple of warmer, sunnier moments. Hiking up Arthur's Seat was a mix of sun and clouds... perfect!  

Oddly, we didn't really see either of the castles in town. That's something I'm looking forward to doing this second trip. I did manage to snap a few photos of the Queen's castle. So lovely!

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I'm going to try to recap my 2017 trip a bit sooner than the 2015 trip.... but no promises. Cheers to Summer Holiday Travels!

Mont St. Michel

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While staying in the Normandy region of France this past summer, my husband and I drove to Mont St. Michel, a small island just off the coast of France. Today there is a long bridge connecting the mainland to the rocky land mass and it's Gothic Abbey built atop it. There are shops, gardens, high stone walls and a grand church. You can read about it's incredible history here.

It was low tide the day we visited. Groups of tourist were walking around the outer sandy area of the abbey. There were even a few people riding horseback along the sandy surroundings. And though it was cloudy and a bit rainy, the sites were still incredible. I'd love to return someday when the tide is high so I could see the grand rock and it's buildings reflecting on the water. 


Summer Holiday 2015: Normandy (where I stayed)

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My husband and I stayed three nights in the countryside of Normandy, France. I wish we'd stayed for at least a week or longer. A return trip is definitely on my wish list. The region of Normandy is quite large. It is both country-living and coastal-living. The inn we booked, Auberge de la Source - Hôtel de Charme, is situated about 2 miles from the quaint coastal village of Honfleur. It is one of the most special places we've had the fortune of enjoying. Its location is the perfect place to vacation. Nestled in the farmland of Normandy, surrounded by lush gardens, old barns, livestock and farmhouses, this 15 room, 4-star inn is just moments away from the coast. The accommodations are quintessential French Country with its red gingham window treatments, sitting room complete with an iron daybed topped with a tufted linen cushion, wide-plank wooden floors, window boxes overflowing with pink and white flowers, and the welcoming gardens and grounds. The king size bed was incredibly comfortable, dressed in crisp white linens, plenty of feather pillows and a fluffy down comforter. Out of the 3 weeks of travel, my best nights sleep were here. At night, my husband and I opted to open the windows so as to be lulled to sleep by the trickling brook outside our window as well as the softly mooing cows in the distance. The cool night breeze was the cherry on top for an incredible night's sleep.

Each morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast spread of French cheeses, yogurt, sliced meats, soft boiled eggs, fresh juices, teas and coffee as well as an assortment of French pastries and breads. I resisted the breads, but I could tell from the look on my husband's face just how delicious everything was! The buffet-style meal also had an assortment of fresh fruits, butter, jams etc. It was the perfect way to start our day.

dining room photo via hotel website 

We sampled local foods, and explore Normandy each day, but we did stay in one night for dinner at the inn. I'm SO happy we did. It was one of the most delicious five course meals I've ever eaten. I didn't take photos of every course, but I will tell you each and every bite was amazing. My meal's starters included champagne and a cold, whipped, creamy tomato soup topped with one muscle (local fare), then THE most delicious goose foie gras I've every eaten. Main course was "pork three ways" over a vegetable compote, 4th course was a small salad with baked camembert, and dessert was a collection of fresh fruits, homemade sorbet, whipped cream, an almond crisp, poached peach, caramel crackle... basically summer fruits prepared to perfection with added goodies. Have a look through my photos. I dare you not to get hungry! 

The final piece of this perfect vacation spot was the staff. Veronique, the inn's manager & front desk hostess was incredibly helpful and attentive, as was the dining staff and housekeeping. They all work together to create an environment that is both elegant, yet comfortable. While I felt like I was staying in a very special get-away, the inn also felt warm and inviting, never stuffy. 

I hope you've enjoyed my little recap of this sweet hotel. If you find yourself planning a trip to Normandy, consider staying at Auberge de la Source - Hôtel de Charme!

Summer Holiday 2015: Amsterdam

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This is the second year my husband and I have been able to take an extended three week trip to Europe without children. Don't get me wrong, I love my children and actually love traveling with them. That being said, they are teens now and would rather do their own thing in the summer. One spent seven weeks at his favorite camp while the other one spent six weeks studying at Cornell University in their summer program. Both were happy as could be and so were their parents!

The view from our Amsterdam apartment's dock.

The first stop of our three week journey was Amsterdam. We were originally suppose to stay for three nights, but my husband got a 24-hour bug/fever and so we left a day late. Sadly, once we arrived I got said bug and so Amsterdam wasn't really a great visit for us. Still, we did manage to walk around much of the city, enjoy the canals and relax. Not too difficult to handle. I especially loved the thin buildings lined up, looking like books on a shelf. Often buildings seemed to be sagging and even the windows followed suit. 

I'm sure we'll visit Amsterdam again, and when we do, we'll be sure to stay longer and be healthy!