A Day with Beatrix Potter!

What a perfect day I've had!  I've just got to share it now instead of working on catch up posts!
This morning, I woke to pouring rain and was so disappointed as this was my appointed day to visit Hilltop, Beatrix Potter's first home in the Lake District.  But then it started to lift and by the time breakfast was over, it was just fits and starts.  I decided because of the rain to drive over to Near Sawrey rather than doing a combination of walking and taking the ferry and then the bus ~ I was so glad I choose to do that.  I got an early start and had an easy time finding parking, which I understand can be a real issue most of the time.  Bought my timed entry ticket and walked right up to Hilltop and got in! 

Me at Hilltop!
There was almost no one there!  No photography is allowed in the house, so I asked if I could sketch, which I was allowed.  So I wandered from room to room, sketching items that struck my fancy, things I remembered from the books and a couple of bits of rooms.  (I haven't taken any photos of my sketchbook recently, but I'll be sure to soon!)

Beatrix left all her things to the National Trust with instructions on how they were to be displayed.  It results in her presence being so palpable in the house.  I came out of it feeling as though I'd actually met her face to face!  it was really something to walk from room to room and see all these things just like she left them.  The house is filled with bunnies, from china figures, to bunnies on tiles and plates.  Lots of other animal things too.  The entire house just felt so comfortable!  I loved the scale of it and the layout ~ as much as I like some of the layout of newer houses, these old ones are just so cozy!    

The gardens at Hilltop
Then I went outside to the gardens.  Like the house, they were small, but charming.  Every bit of spare earth was filled with some lovely plant!

Wisteria on the front of Hilltop Cottage
On the front of the house there is a huge wisteria vine!

Geranium at Hilltop
And on the windowsills, pots of geraniums, just as seen in so many of her illustrations!

The vegetable garden at Hilltop
The vegetable garden was walled with a green door to it!

Bee Skep at Hilltop
One wall had a niche with a bee skep in it!

Roses and Pasture at Hilltop
There was a long walk with climbing rambler roses ~ a white one that was so fragrant and lovely!

Sheep Pasture at Hilltop
Along the other side of the path was a small pasture with several of the Herdwick sheep, which  she championed.

Wild Rabbit at Hilltop
There were quite a few wild bunnies making the most of the protected space to eat and sun themselves in the grass!  The gal in the shop said they have had a bumper crop of rabbits the past couple of years and that they don't do anything in particular to encourage them, but they just show up much to the visitor's delight!

Tower Bank Arms in Near Sawrey
I had lunch next door at the Tower Arms, which is also featured in a couple of the stories.

Mushroom Tarragon Soup and Wildwood Cider
I had the Mushroom Tarragon Soup ~ so savory and delicious! A half pint of Wildwood hard cider  was the perfect accompaniment!

Me at the Tower Bank Arms
They were kind enough to not only take my photo, but to call the cook out to tell me how they made the soup!

The Tower Bank Arms Mushroom Tarragon Soup (as told to me by the cook)
Stew up some mushrooms, the flat kind, along with some potatoes in some vegetable stock with some tarragon.  
Then when the potatoes are soft, whizz it all together and add salt and pepper to taste.  

Somehow, I don't think I'll be able to quite match his version!

Then I headed a couple miles up the road to another little town called Hardwick where the Beatrix Potter Gallery is housed in this unassuming building. Turns out that is is where W. Heelis had his law practice!

There I got to see the original pen and ink drawings that Beatrix did for Peter Rabbit and some of the pre-publication correspondence about the book with F.W. Warne & Co.

I loved seeing them ~ and especially to see that her drawings were in the same size range as all the sketches I do!  I had wondered if they were much larger, but the originals are pretty close to the size they are in the books!    

Tarn Hows
Then I headed off for Tarn Hows, which is a lake that Beatrix enjoyed in the area.  It has a nice trail all around it, and was one I had marked off in my "Walks with Beatrix Potter" book that I wanted to do.

Tarn Hows
It was a nice little hike, about 2 miles.  Really lovely, especially since the sun was much more prevalent!  

Coin tree
Along the path, I came across this strange looking tree trunk.  As I got closer, I realized that it was filled with coins!  There were many tree stumps and logs along the path with similar treatment!

The foxgloves were glorious!

Tarn Hows
There is a small green peninsula in the lake that is covered with a soft carpet of short grass and moss.  It was such a fairytale kind of spot!  Just lovely!

At the end of the hike as I came around the end of Tarn Hows, the clouds lifted off of the peaks and I got this lovely glimpse of the Langdale Peaks in the distance!

What a lovely, perfect day!


Cathy said…
I can tell how much you enjoyed yourself by your words and exclamation points! Lisa, you are OUR modern-day Beatrix!

I think I speak for many when I say that we are loving your travels and stories, enjoying them vicariously. Can't wait to see more of your sketches.

I love the photo of you at Tower Arms. What a great trip!
Val said…
What a wonderful trip you're having, Lisa. Loving your photos and I'm waiting to see your paintings!

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