gillette castle, connecticut ♡ washington, dc ♡ the clark art institute, massachusetts
west kirby, england ♡ cinque terre, italy ♡ firenze, italy
the lake district, england ♡ the national gallery, dc
Happy New Year’s Eve-Eve! Since I’ll be kicking off 2017 by traveling to Monterey Bay Aquarium…I mean, California, I thought I’d revisit these past twelve months of adventuring. It will probably be a long time before I take so many trips in one year again!
As someone who tends to get anxious about traveling (that’s the blog-friendly, extremely understated version of it, anyway), I am very impressed that I pulled off two international voyages this year: to Italy in April and England over the summer. I also took the train all the way down the Eastern Seaboard to D.C. twice, and spent time in countless New England museums.
Though I doubt I’ll be crossing as many international borders next year, I do hope to visit at least one new state, country, or area. It would be fun to meet a pen pal or two in person, too! What are your travel plans (or wild hopes and impossible dreams rather than plans) for 2017?
I never thought I would say this, but with temperatures skyrocketing to the 90s and beyond in Massachusetts this week, I’m rather missing the temperate/constantly rainy climes of my time in England! Though we dodged raindrops with every outing, at least each drizzly day was bearable with an umbrella and a coat.
I actually enjoy staying inside on a rainy day; conversely, I feel guilty for avoiding the outdoors when the sun is shining. Yet that’s exactly what I’ll have to do over the next few days until the East Coast decides to chill! I suppose it will give me a good opportunity to look back through some more of my photos capturing moments in the English woods…
I remember the first time I saw the Great Salt Lake in Utah, that grand stretch of desert and sort-of sea swept together and baked by the inescapable sun. The beach I visited in West Kirby, long after the water had rolled out for the morning, had that same illusive quality, more mirage than mer. Tiptoeing my way through temporary tidepools and rivers of mud, I felt breathless and alien, as though I were a stranger marooned on a strange planet that I couldn’t quite understand yet…
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
Ever since I was a child, I have loved “collecting” poems: committing them to memory so I can recite them again and again like ancient, arcane spells. I found this childhood hobby continuing throughout the literary studies of my college years, too. Repeating verse in my mind whilst writing analytical papers. Scribbling stanzas in the margins of textbooks.
My most beloved poets, however, will always be the Romantics. I remember encountering Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” for the first time at age seven and subsequently exploring its sprawling sands as often as possible. And who among us didn’t have a teenage crush on Keats? You can imagine, then, the joy I felt at visiting the small villages in the Lake District where William and Dorothy Wordsworth spent the latter parts of their lives…
(A note: the William Wordsworth on the grave above is actually Wordsworth’s son, who just happened to have a slightly more photogenic headstone than his father!)
The Lake District is the place where many (non-British) forest girls’ dreams were born–exploring the land of Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth felt like returning to a childhood home that I’d never visited before. I imagined all the romanticized visions of idyllic woods-and-country life from children’s stories playing out before me as we drove by the lakes and trees and mountains and stone cottages…
The first stop, though, was a place entirely unlike a simple “cottage”: Blackwell, a great Arts & Crafts manor decorated in the most beautiful Art Nouveau-esque style. Every grand, sweeping room included tiny windowside reading nooks, tucked-away places for contemplation and creation.
(So who wants to contribute to the “let me live in an Arts & Crafts house in the Lake District” fund? I promise it will be a good investment [for me, at least]!)
Hello from England, my friends! I’m writing this post as one still jet-lagged and bewildered (even after eleven hours of sleep!), but couldn’t wait to show a few photos of my first day of adventures here.