BATH AND KAFFE FASSETT EXHIBIT

 

How to get from London to Bath? That was the question of the week, some months back. Should we take a day tour bus? Most, if not all, include additional stops at Stonehenge and Windsor Castle,  leaving only a few hours in Bath proper. Renting a car was out of the question; me? drive on the left side?  No, I don’t think so….
The train it was. And very easy it was: Charing Cross Station toBath Spa with departures every hour. One word of caution: buy your tickets on line before your day of departure. We paid SO MUCH more as we bought them at the station that morning…as in each round trip was about $80.00! A woman we met while out in Bath had paid about $40.00 by purchasing a week ahead.

We had been told by several people just how beautiful and unique a city it is. With gorgeous Georgian architecture at every turn, we wandered for about an hour through the very easy to navigate downtown, then hopped on the free shuttle bus up to
The American Museum in Britain.

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Downtown Bath

 

The Museum is hosting the Kaffe Fassett exhibit. Are you familiar with his work? I know some of you are…and oh, what an absolute treat it was!!!
Color is the word of the day.

Here is part of the entrance to the exhibit:

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I loved seeing these originals of his floral work, along with the color swatches.

 

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The versatility of his style; the ability to be translated to so many different products…

 

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Even the walls were spectacular!

 Just who IS Kaffe Fassett? Kaffe is an American, born and raised in San Francisco, who eventually emigrated to England in 1964. He had worked as a graphic artist (this exhibit has some wonderful pen and ink drawings he did of the Museum collections), came to England and, after visiting a wool mill in Scotland, fell in love with yarns. And the rest is history. His website, Kaffe Fassett Studio, says it all. I counted at least forty books; paintings; fabric; rugs and more.
He L O V E S color!

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The exhibit is open until November 2, 2014. If you have a chance, go…..

American Museum Terrace

 

While in Bath we took the tour through the famous Roman Baths.
As the history of the Baths is long and complicated, I will send you  to the site,
Sacred Destinations: Roman Baths

No, you cannot swim in the waters here: they have been closed for over thirty years due to risk of disease. But the tour is extensive and thorough, and you can walk at your own pace which is nice.

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A day trip from London to Bath is entirely possible, although it would have been nice to have more time. We missed seeing
The Fashion Museum
That is a definite visit for me next time. And I want to get out of bus/taxi and walk the streets high up on the hill, see the Georgian houses up close, explore the side streets, and stay at
Three Abbey Green
a lovely B&B which I had originally booked when we thought a night there would work in our schedule.

That’s it for this week. Next week: Cambridge and finally, London.

Would love to know your experiences or comments!

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SISSINGHURST GARDENS & WHERE TO STAY

As promised, I will continue with four more posts about my recent trip to England!

Here is the schedule, so be sure to check back to read more:

Week of September 15:

• Sissinghurst Gardens and Where to Stay
and
• Kaffe Fassett Exhibit in Bath

       Week of September 22:

• Visit to Suffolk and Cambridge
and
• London

                           

       The entrance to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens:

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Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson bought the castle and property in the 1920’s and began the monumental task of redesigning and transforming the house, the castle, the fields and most of all, the gardens. The place was a total mess. For me, this is part of the magic and mystery and charm of this place. To have that kind of vision… not to mention money and energy… is a true gift. This was, and still is, a working farm with fields in every direction, sheep grazing, and a long country road to access.

The gardens are open from March through the end of October and while the spring and early summer might be considered the best time to visit, I had no problem at all being there in early September. As you saw last week, the dahlias were magnificent! And there were roses, and hydrangeas, and Japanese Anemones galore, and Potentillas and Viburnums and on and on. We were there on a Monday which was perfect: there were no crowds and lots of space to walk and wander.

I highly recommend reading “Portrait of a Marriage” by Nigel Nicolson, Vita and Harold’s son. I had first read this book when it came out, back in the 70′s. It was one of those books and stories that made a lasting impression on me even though I was not a gardener nor had I been to England. But there was something about it that fascinated me: I waited many years to get here!

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One of my favorite image: sheep grazing past the barn.

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Charming vignette, as you enter the gardens.

 

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Views of the castle moat. This had almost disappeared and was unearthed in the 30′s.


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 The Anemones were a feast to behold (and photograph!)

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Beautiful allée!

 

Time to move on to my suggestion on where to stay while visiting the Gardens.
When making our plans a major consideration had been the fact that we did not have a car. We took the train to Staplehurst (very easy trip) and got a taxi at the station. It took us to

The Milk House

This is THE PLACE to stay, without a doubt. We fell in love with it! What a charming Inn with lovely rooms and decor, a very inviting pub/bar downstairs with a huge terrace just outside, a country  yet elegant dining room and excellent food. Did I mention the people who work here? Helpful and pleasant doesn’t do them justice.
The website is very well done, contemporary and easy to navigate but all with a fun twist.

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Tea tray in the room! Understated, lovely details.

 

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Dinner, breakfast, the terrace and daughter.

If you go to The Milk House be sure to tell Joe, the manager, that Libby from An Eye For Detail sent you!

Finally, I want to assure you that the trip there is very easy to do. Trains leave from Charing Cross to Staplehurst every hour. Taxis are waiting at the station, or you can call ahead. I have the number or contact The Milk House. We had the taxi wait while we checked in to our room, then drove the last mile to the Gardens. It was 15£. To get back to the Inn we walked the “footpath” (I just l-o-v-e that word and wish I had taken a picture of the sign!) which was through fields and woods and was probably a mile. Be sure to wear sneakers or walking shoes.

If you have any suggestions and/or have done this trip, we would love to hear from you! I am really hoping, some day soon, to return in another season to see the changes.

I’ve started to load some of my images onto my Flikr page. Click HERE to see the album: more to come!

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FRIDAY FLOWERS: DAHLIAS IN ENGLAND

Update: It seems I was a day off!!!! I thought I was writing and posting this on a  Thursday evening….Well, it seems I must still be subject to jet lag, as I was  day early. Ah well, you all seem to be enjoying it, no matter!

 The Dahlias in England are spectacular!

I wasn’t prepared for just how prolific, healthy, lush, colorful and ubiquitous they would be in September. Some of these photos were taken at Sissinghurst Gardens and others at my friend Julie’s gardens in Suffolk.

I’m going to tell you the story of both these visits…. next week.
Sissinghurst was all I had hoped and wished for, and more. We got out of the taxi, paid our entrance fee, and the rest of the day was almost dream-like. The grounds are extensive, but just enough to do in a day and really see and feel all that there is. The skies were gray but then the sun would peak through and the temperature was in the mid 70′s: P E R F E C T I O N.

Later in the week I took the train up to Julie’s house. We had never met but became friends through our blogs and the BYW course we both had taken. Now, wasn’t that generous of her to have me to stay for two nights, sight unseen? Yes, I think so! It was a whirlwind time and I am still savoring every minute and word and sight. More about that next week!

Take a look and be jealous!!

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I’m still in the process of organizing both my pictures and my notes. There is just so much to show.
I’ll be back with more next week….

 

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LONDON, KENT, BATH and SUFFOLK

I really did mean to post while I was away!
I had visions of settling down for one or two evenings, gathering some of my images and thoughts, and quickly putting together a blog post for you. Well, as you can see that didn’t quite come to pass.

Ten days in England and not a drop of rain! Yes indeed…we had magnificent weather. It wasn’t always sunny, but even with overcast skies the temperature was perfect.

My desk, and mind, is still piled too high with ideas and clippings and bits of this and that to know where to begin a first post about the trip. Instead, I thought I would show you some of the images I had posted on Instagram throughout my time away. If you are a follower there, well, then you have seen these. But for the rest of you, they will give you a small glimpse of what I saw and where I was.

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This is how it all began. Kind of neat, no? I asked if I could take a picture of the gate area (you never know these days) and the attendant asked my name and quickly flashed this up there!!

 

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We had three separate train trips: this was London Liverpool Station on my way to Suffolk.

 

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Morning tea at my friend’s house.

 

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The V&A “painted” in Waterlogue app.

 

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So many beautiful gardens. Words, and pictures, cannot describe all that I learned from seeing these…

 

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Finally…I made it to Sissinghurst Gardens! I will do an entire post on this in the very near future!

 

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Color and more color!

 

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Another spot of gorgeous color near Holland Park.

I’ll be writing more posts on the various parts of my trip from the many fabulous restaurants and food to country gardens to new friends to walking ’til we dropped….so check back often!

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MORE ON TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: WHAT TO WEAR AND TAKE

 Once again, let’s continue the “Mother Daughter Travel” series: this time it’s what to wear and take when you head for the airport.

I had first done a post on Travel Essentials before a trip to Provence. I’ve received so many personal emails in response to this post, and with further questions, that I thought it a good idea to update.

WHAT TO WEAR

My first travel wear essential is still my black jeans. Then a top. A cotton scarf for color. A pretty necklace: faux or plastic works well in security lines. A nice big pashmina: if you can get one with some wool or cashmere , so much the better, for it will keep you that much warmer.

I carry an Hervé bag to put under the seat in front of me. Socks and cotton slippers are a must (don’t ever go into the bathrooms with just socks!)
And here I included my newest and greatest rain coat: from Merrell. I ordered it from Rue LaLa back in April and it is just perfect:  very lightweight; has a hood; nice deep,zip pockets; a two way zip closure; and it’s very stylish and feels great on.

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Find it here:
1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.  11.  12.

My main objective is to be comfortable! You never know if the cabin will be too hot or too cold. I nearly froze coming home last year and piled on three blankets…although I really hesitate to use the airline’s “blankets,”  those synthetic almost-like-paper coverings that you never know where they have been. Ah well, when you’re cold, you do what you have to!

I always get a window seat. Which do you prefer? Why? I like to settle in and try to get some sleep and I find the window makes that easier. Of course, when you travel with someone it makes a huge difference in having that entire row, no matter how small or cramped, to yourselves.

BAG AND BAGGAGE

Let’s take a look at what I actually use to pack for the trip, and the gadgets used on the flight.
A four wheel rolling suitcase is essential for me. See #5 below. I check my bag….yes, I am one of those people.

I do, however, always have a good sized carry-on in addition to my main suitcase. And, because I’ve had trouble with my elbow and shoulder in the past, I use a rolling bag. I can’t tell you how great these are when you have a few hours, alone, in an airport. When you cannot park your things with a friend or husband/partner, and have to lug them all to the ladies room, or just to walk around, a “rolly” is your best friend.

The polka dot “Allrounder Wheeled Tote” is my newest purchase. Cute design, can’t miss it from a mile away, it rolls easily but also has handles and holds a ton of stuff. Actually, I put this carry-on up top after I have taken out my plane essentials and put them into the smaller Hervé bag shown above. That bag I put under the seat in front of me. Are you following along here? So, basically, I have a bag within a bag as I walk through the airport. As boarding time gets near I “reorganize” in order to simplify and have just the one smaller tote bag right in front of me.

In it I have my Bose noise cancelling earphones. The best there is. Period.

And always lots of hand sanitizer. I love the individual packs. Yes, I wipe down the tray and arm rests first thing: they are loaded with who knows what!

And, what about a purse, you may ask. I bought the Michael Kors cross-body bag that can either be worn as is, or put into another bag. It’s sturdy, has zippers and sits close to the body: perfect for sightseeing.

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Find these here:
1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.   8.

So there you have it. I hope this has been helpful and maybe you have picked up some ideas for your next trip. Of course, each person has different needs and likes/dislikes but the purpose is, after all, to

GET THERE!

What do you wear? What kind of luggage do you carry? Any hints for the rest of us?

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