House Hunting & A Day in Rocky

View of the house from the southwest. I haven't forgotten about finishing up my England posts!  However, this past week has been busy with job and house hunting!  While the hoped for job has not come through yet, I believe that I have found my new home!  An offer has been made and accepted and by mid-October, hopefully it will be mine!  I love the way it nestles into the trees and how it sits away from the quiet road.  It's such a lovely peaceful spot in a beautiful neighborhood!

Living room
Inside, there are so many appealing things, from the lovely fireplace with it's wonderful brass fender, to the beautiful hardwood floors and all the wonderful windows that let in so much light!

Eat-in Kitchen/Butler Pantry
It has lovely built-in cabinets in what is meant to be a breakfast room, though the space will most likely become my painting studio!  The house does need some work and I've been busy scouring the internet and Pinterest for ideas as well as visiting home improvement stores and gathering measurements and pricing components.  There is an inspection to come later this week and estimates to get before it becomes mine!  But oh, I am SO excited about this house!  I can't wait to move in and truly make it mine!  

Autumn changes
One day this past week also saw another trip to the mountains to enjoy the fall color.  Son Jonathan and I had a delightful day in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was just a few days after I had been there on my own and I was amazed at how much the color had advanced even in that short period of time!

Aspen Leaves
Gold was the color of the day!

Lodgepole Pinecones
On the lodgepole pine, this year's cones have ripened to a lovely shade of russet.  Love the way the needles curl around them!

Ochre Grass
The grasses have gone to shades of ochre.  It's as though they are dancing and bowing to one another in the late afternoon sunlight.

Just beautiful.  Sitting in these meadows watching the sunlight play on them makes for a delightful afternoon.

In some places, the aspen are still green, but it won't be long until this leafy canopy changes to a glowing golden one.

Mule Deer
One of the highlights of Rocky Mountain National Park in the autumn is watching the Elk and listening to their bugling.  That's what we were doing when a pair of Mule Deer headed our direction.  We sat and watched as they came within 20 feet or so of us, completely unconcerned about us or the other people standing even closer to them just up the hill out of the photo.  They browsed and ate while we watched and took lots of photos!  What a treat to have such a lovely encounter with some magnificent animals!


Autumn Comes to the Rockies

11Sept12 Watercolor sketch
Needing a break from the stress of job and house hunting, I took a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday.  The skies were overcast with the promise of rain and the aspen trees were beginning to change into the glowing gold of autumn.  I sat and sketched at a particularly lovely spot.  It's nice to see some improvement in my sketching due to the instruction I had on the Queen Mary 2 as well as my study of Beatrix Potter's watercolor sketches.

Wild Turkeys
While sitting there sketching, a flock of wild turkeys crossed the edge of the woods in front of me!

Autumn Leaves in Rocky
The changing colors of the leaves were so lovely.

Rose Hip gem
The rose hips sat like precious rubies on the branches.

Autumn Leaves in Rocky
Everywhere I looked there was beauty to behold!

Willows Changing
The willows along the creeks were just beginning to change.

Red and Green
In the grassy areas, these brilliant red and green leaves were beacons of beauty.

Aspen changing
Most of the aspen are just beginning to change.  I love the patterning on the leaves as the chlorophyll recedes and the underlying gold takes over.

Looking Down Endo Valley
As I drove up the Old Fall River Road towards the tundra, I could look back down the valley and watch the rain come in.

Bull Elk crossing the Road
The return journey was along Trail Ridge Road across the tundra.  As soon as the snow flies, this road will be closed for the winter season.  I suspect it won't be long!  Why this enormous bull elk isn't down in the valley with the rest of the elk where the harems are being gathered, I have no idea, but it was a magnificent treat to see him as he non-challontly crossed the road right in front of us!

It was a lovely day in the mountains and I am so glad to see the rain as it continues to be incredibly dry here in Colorado.  I finished the day by spending the evening with a dear friend who I haven't seen in years!  A truly lovely day!


A Walk Beside Windermere

Morning Eggs
At this point in my trip, I'd been traveling for 3 weeks already, with one week on the Queen Mary 2 and two full weeks traveling across England on my way to the Lake District.  It was lovely to wake, knowing I'd be in one place for the week and I thought maybe I'd take a fairly easy day with no pressure to do anything ~ I was just going to enjoy being there and go where the wind took me.  The day started off nice and leisurely with my usual breakfast of a poached egg on toast with tea.  I loved that every morning, eggs were delivered to the Guest House and left on the front porch!

Dock ropes
It was lovely to see some blue sky and sun after days of mostly grey!  With the promise of a beautiful day ahead of me, it didn't take long to decide that I wanted to do some walking along Lake Windermere. I headed down to the docks at Bowness, about a 3/4 mile walk from the guest house and bought my Red Boat Pass, so that I could take the Tern boat to Ambleside and then transfer to a smaller boat for the trip across the lake to Wray Castle.  I find myself fascinated with all the ropes and bumpers at the moorings where the boats dock!

On the Tern on Windermere
It was only after I returned to Colorado and read some of Beatrix Potter's journals, that I realized that she too had taken the Tern from Bowness to Ambleside!!!  I love the idea that I rode in the very same boat over a hundred years later!  It was a lovely ride up the lake.

On the eastern shore, the lake is fairly built up with large houses, now mostly converted into hotels and boat docks along the water.  It was the building of these large houses that was changing the character of the Lake District that inspired Beatrix to begin purchasing land and later donating it to the National Trust in order to preserve the character of the Lake District, rather than letting it get built up by developers for the tourist industry.

Sailboat on Windermere
The view of the Langdale Peaks from Windermere is lovely!

Lake Boat on Windermere
We passed one of the smaller boats on it's way towards Wray Castle.  I believe this one was Queen of the Lakes.

The Tern on Windermere
The Tern docked at Ambleside by backing into the dock in order to make it easier for it to depart!

Princess of the Lakes
I boarded the Princess of the Lake for the ride to Wray Castle.  These old wooden boats are so beautiful and I love that they care for them so well and that they are still in use after all these years!

Swans on Windermere
When we arrived at the dock for Wray Castle, we were greeted by this lovely pair of swans!

A cottage near Wray Castle
The path from the boat dock up to Wray Castle was about 1/4 of a mile long.  As the trail wound up the hill, there was a beautiful view of this lovely cottage and fields nearby.  What a gorgeous setting!

Wray Castle
A glimpse of Wray Castle ahead!  Beatrix wrote about it in her journal at age 16 when she and her family stayed there in 1882:
"Wray Castle.  We came here on 21st July.  This house was built by Mr. Dawson, doctor, in 1845 with his wife's money.   Her name was Margaret Preston.  She was a Liverpool lady.  Her father Robert Preston made gin; that was where the money came from.
   They say it took £60,000 to build it (probably including furniture).  It took seven years to finish.  The stone was brought across the lake.   One old horse dragged it all up to the house on a kind of tram way. The architect, one Mr. Lightfoot, killed himself with drinking before the house was finished.
   People about say Mr. Dawson might have built a village with the money he spent on his house.  He objected evidently to any increase of the population.  He would not allow a shop or lodgers." ~ from "The Journal of Beatrix Potter - from 1881 to 1897 - transcribed from her code writings by Leslie Linder

Sign for Wray Castle
The National Trust has just recently taken over Wray Castle.  They have these lovely signs posted at most of their properties!

View from Wray Castle
Oh, how lovely to see those blue skies and the gorgeous view!

On the path to Wray Castle
And all along the path from the lake up to the castle, there were beautiful wildflowers to enjoy!

Library at Wray Castle
The castle was a huge cavernous place.  It was hard to imagine it being a home for just two people (plus their servants) and even harder to imagine it being a comfortable place to be.  But this room, the Library, was much more comfortable and cozy!  Here they had many photos on display of the Potter family from their stay here at Wray Castle.  It turns out that the photographs that Beatrix's father took of the interior are just about the only things they have to go from in restoring the castle!

Porcelain Sink at Wray Castle
There were not a lot of people there and I ended up with the luxury of a private guided tour!  We got to look at some lovely things not seen unless you knew where to look, such as this beautiful porcelain washbasin in the housekeeper's room!  It was tucked away in a cupboard in the wall.

Old Mirror at Wray Castle
In the Library and in the Dining room, the moldings were still present, with bits of mirror showing the patina of age. Much of the woodwork and tiles were lovely, but most of the building was fairly run down and showed the lack of care.  Over the years it has been many things, most recently, a Naval school!  But now the National Trust has acquired it and is in the process of beginning the long restoration of it.

Wray Castle
It really is quite an imposing building, and somewhat at odds with the surroundings.  I sat in the turret of the dining room where I had my lunch and painted the view through the window, which I believe I posted previously in my post about painting my way through England.

Gates and Path near Wray Castle on Windermere
After lunch, I headed down the path along the west side of Windermere towards the Ferry House.

Path along Windermere
Every step along the lake was a wonder ~ to see the trees growing out over the water and all the moss and the intense green of the landscape!

Hiking trail along Windermere
I loved the stone fences that marked the borders of the pastures.

And the beautiful views across the lake to the hills beyond.

Path along Windermere
The trail was easy and broad and I made sure to look back many times as the views both coming and going were wonderful!

Mossy Stone fence and gate
The stone walls here were completely covered in moss!  One of the characteristics of the gates were the stone columns that held the gate upright between the walls.  I found myself looking for their curved tops as I walked the paths and drove along the roadsides throughout the Lake District!

Woods along Windermere
In places there were beautiful woods of various fir and pine, in other places it was all deciduous trees or pastureland.

Black Rabbit
On one hillside I spotted this black rabbit grazing!

Trees ~ Windermere
Beautiful trees lined the road the closer I got to the ferry.

Boats on Windermere
The further south I walked, the more boats appeared, moored near the shore in protected inlets tucked behind the small islands of trees.

Ferry from Bowness on Windermere
After about 4 miles of walking along the shore, I arrived at the Ferry!  It makes a continual run back and forth across this narrow point on Windermere, carrying a substantial load of cars and pedestrians!

Ferry from Bowndess on Windermere
I rode the ferry across and got off with my fellow passengers.

wildflowers near Windermere
The walk back to the guest house was another mile and half.  Along the way I enjoyed the wildflowers!

Beautiful Tree
The trees of England captivate me!  They are so lovely in form.

Crosses in the Bowness Cemetary
I walked along Rectory Road in Bowness, which goes past the cemetary with lots of old Celtic Cross type gravestones.

Grazing Rabbits
Then it was on up the hill towards the guest house.  I loved seeing these rabbits out for an early evening graze!  What a beautiful day for my first day in the Lake District!