Day 1: Armed with a stack of little green Beatrix Potter books, a phone full of the Beatles and my copy of School Education for our entertainment (okay, throw in some Melissa and Doug water wow books too ;-) and we were off. A couple hours later and we were walking Ambleside, finding Charlotte Mason spots.
Then off to Beatrix Potter's Gallery and Hill Top home. The gallery was small but fun. It was also were we learned our GPS likes to take us to the front door of places and not the parking lots which wasn't always the best choice. Hill Top was also small. I definitely wouldn't go for the gardens alone but the house had re-opened. Craig waited outside with the dog and then we swapped - and I saw a couple other dog parents doing something similar, but even so we were a group of 5 which meant we had to wait until a room was completely empty to enter. But that actually worked in our favor as the sweet old lady maning the front door pulled out some blown up illustrations from the different books and pointed out the inspirations spots - the front door and some gates, different stoves and things. As much as we have read the books, I don't think I would have recognized them just from memory but seeing the illustrations at the same time was really neat. And most of the other people didn't see them!
If only I had known I would have dressed the girls in white and Jonah in blue.
I adore both of these women so much it's hard to pick what stop was my favorite. They are pretty similar in ways - lake district residents around the same time; nature love; having an amazing love and understanding of children, neither was a mother but both are still impacting mothers today. Charlotte Mason's education philosophy has influenced not just the school days hours and how I educate our children at home but really the whole atmosphere of our home life. And Beatrix Potter's work was a real life example of truth, beauty and goodness and what this type of education could look like. Beatrix Potter whet our appetite and Charlotte Mason helped me figure out how to make it happen. I'm so grateful for the work of both of these women and my day of "geeking out" in their spots. Bonus points because they happened to live and work in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been too!
Then the actual rain started but the kids and I explored Grasmere while dad was what we call the "daddy martyr" and waited in the rain for about 30 minutes to get us the famous Grasmere gingerbread.
I wasn't sure it would be worth it - but it was. We sat out of the rain under some trees next to Wordsworth's grave.
Here's Jude completely ignoring Wordsworth's grave in favor of the construction going on at a nearby church. I need to start a photo album named "Travel is wasted on toddlers."
Day 4: My favourite. Actually, the days just kept getting better which was fun. We dropped the dog off at a farm/doggy daycare for the day so we could do a driving tour of the northern Lake District area complete with a Slate Mine tour.
Then we picked up the dog and visited a really cool stone circle. Although Jude just wanted to wave to the sheep! See what I mean about that photo album?
The day had worn out the kids so Craig took them back to our cabin for some down time but dropped me off at the Armitt for some more CM fun...and a bit of snuck ice cream. Secret chocolate just tastes better. But I did buy the kids a fun new card game so they didn't miss out on ALL the fun.
Day 5 we sadly had to head home. But first we visited some roman ruins
Then we drove through the Yorkshire Dales National Park on the way home and saw a few things, like the Ribblehead Viaduct
and Fountains Abbey. I think I prefer Rievaulx abbey but this one had the pretty gardens so it was worth a stop.
And that's the Lake District! I just loved it. It felt like the Colorado of England which is basically my dream combination! I really hope we go back again before we leave.