was just what I needed after my “hardest week yet.” The Lake District is a common weekend vacation spot in the UK and if being on the lake and in nature doesn’t capture your heart, the town and dogs will.
As all retreat-like getaways, the Lake District is far, like 2.5 hour drive far, like all the way in England far.. and the first thing I see when we arrive at Lake District? A giant grocery store. This comes in handy later on in the story.
Alex and I first set out to find some information about the touristy things to do/trails to hike and we stumble across a super nice market with some very unique products: fur skins, hardware tools, and these very cute succulents that I was tempted to buy, but I didn’t think they would going to through customs very well.
We also passed some very nice stores, one in particular that deserves mention: Bryson’s. We walked into Bryson’s and it was love at first sight for Alex and those meat pies. He bought one meat pie (first of three) and a ginger bread, I spotted some locally made “toffee vodka” and could not resist the curiosity to try the novel concoction. I felt like Alice in wonderland with my tiny bottle just begging “drink me”…Super cuuuute!! And it’s actually really good. Flavor is on point – true to toffee, not artificial – and taste is smooth – no bumps or fading of the flavor. Apparently it’s really good in Prosecco… I have yet to try that and there was also a locally made “mint cake vodka.” This was also super good! Think Girl Scout cookie thin mints but maybe slightly mintier? They didn’t have small bottles of that one, so I let it slide (hint hint you know what you should get me for my birthday). Apparently that one’s good in coffee.
We almost missed the tourist information center, had a helpful city sign not been standing right in front of me (love how they do that, marking all the tourist destinations for lost tourists). The lady we met at the information center was super helpful and guided us in planning a trail to take, and how to hit our 4:00PM deadline using the water bus. And off we went! Okay now remember the giant grocery store? We took a detour there to buy lunch for the road: sandwiches, scones, and of course, wine.
It took us a good 10 minutes to start heading in the right direction. I really should have been paying more attention when the lady was speaking, but Alex seemed to have gotten it, and I couldn’t really see… regardless we found the path so all good.
Two things struck me as we started walking 1) the green-ness of the Lake District, even the bridge was green and the grass was SO green, like someone had boosted the saturation levels on photoshop, and the sheer number of dogs. I’m pretty sure that 80% of the groups we passed all had a dog… And they were all unique breeds!
Our hike through the Lake District took us through multiple towns and harbors. First to Nichol End then to Lingholm then to Hawse End, Low Brandelhow and High Brandelohw. The whole trail is about 10 miles long? Tbh if I had the time, I’d do the whole thing because the lake district is just so nice and peaceful and each port holds new surprises.
Around Hawse End there was a SWING!! I haven’t sat on a swing since…. 6th grade?! And this one was all-natural and have you epic views of the lake. You just had to make sure you weren’t hitting the tree behind you, or stabbing someone with the edge of your swing seat. NBD. We also stopped here for lunch – hence my artistic instagram-styled posed-wine-with-nature-background photo.
Another port, Low Brandelhow had a sculpture called “entrust,” which was constructed to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first land purchase by the National Trust, the national conservation organization in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
After walking to High Brandelhow we decided to take the water bus back to Keswick (Yas! I’m on a boat!) I was feeling kind of chilly, so we stopped at a cafe for tea (me) and ginger beer (Alex).
On the way back, there were wishes made in a wishing well, a peek into the OFFICIAL Peter rabbit shop (where my Beatrix Potter people at?), and another stop at Bryson’s for meat pies and the bathroom before the bus.
Woven throughout the trip was a thoughtful and insightful conversation between Alex and me. It’s interesting to follow the patterns of the conversation. We started relatively superficially with food and dogs, and move topics that paralleled our descent deeper into the forest. We discuss gender, race, and identify, we hypothesized reasons for where and why certain social constructs evolved and what that meant as the next step. As we came closer to Keswick our conversation rose back up to topics like music and traveling. While the lake district isn’t known for have magical powers per se, I appreciate its ability to encourage us to slow down, simplify, and breathe