Sunday, November 29, 2009

Isle of Wight

A few weeks ago we started talking about getting out of London for the long weekend. I told Chris that I pictured us hold up in a cabin along the shore with a fire burning, warm blankets and nothing to do but relax. I must have looked at a hundred rentals on the web and found nothing that was close enough, far enough, cheap enough, cozy enough... or just plain enough! When Wednesday rolled around and we still had no confirmed plans I started making a mental list of things to do over the long weekend... laundry, cleaning, Christmas shopping, more laundry... I was prepared to give up the idea of nothing but R&R. But Chris came through in the eleventh hour... literally... we emailed an Inn on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday night, they responded midday Thursday, Chris booked the room and 2 train tickets for noon on Friday! By 1 pm on Friday we were munching turkey sandwiches as we chugged through the English countryside and the rain!
The other hope I had for the weekend was a nice long walk along the coast and a chance to break-in my Hunter Wellies...

Check!As soon as we got checked in and dropped our bags in the room we were off to check out the area. Here is Chris admiring our future summer home. And yes, this modern monstrosity sticks out like a sore thumb... I preferred the more traditional English cottages.

Now this is the kind of place where I could cuddle up in front of the fire with a good book, a glass of wine and a fat cat at my feet... when will Chris be making partner???

The beach is not the white fluffy sand that I grew up with in Florida. But I have to admit that I enjoyed the natural pebbles and sea shells that were scattered along the shore. I just needed a bucket to help collect all my treasures!

The end of November is the off season for the Isle of Wight. And for good reason... it was freezing! I asked Chris if he wanted to pack his hat, gloves, scarf, etc and he said no. I tossed his hat in my bag"just in case" and by day 2 he was wearing my scarf! Next time I just pack for him ;-)

We only had a few hours to explore before the sunset. We walked along the shore and then made our way inland before heading back towards the hotel. I loved these puddles and was really wishing I had a tripod to prevent the pictures from being so blurry.
We headed back to the hotel where we enjoyed a few pints in the pub along with a game of darts. Neither Chris nor I have any clue how to play darts; other than the basic concept of throwing the pointy end of the dart in the general direction of the bulls eye. So we made up our own rules and laughed our way through the afternoon as Chris threw for Yahtzee! After darts we enjoyed dinner and then headed to the room for a pleasant surprise...

The BEST turn down service EVER, hands down!
We returned to our room to find the radio playing relaxing tunes, the bed turned down with hot water bottles warming each side of the bed, slippers laid out next to the bed and the lights in the bathtub glowing blue!!! I don't think I could have asked for anything more... except maybe a chocolate on my pillow ;-)

This picture does not do the bathtub justice but it will have to do! The tub was big enough for 3 or 4 people. It had blue lights inside the tube and the faucet is that little silver circle in the picture on the ceiling next to the rain style shower head! Yes, the water falls from the ceiling into the tub! Oh and did I mention that there is a TV embedded in the tiles? Calgon take me away...

As we tucked in for the night (after hour long bathes each,) the rain started to fall and lulled us off to sleep. Needless to say, we both slept like babies and woke up to sunshine!!!!

And a few clouds... but look at those blue skies in between the clouds!

So I realize that it looks overcast in the picture but when it is November in England beggars can't be choosers! We take any hint of sunshine and blue sky that we can get! Here is our hotel, the Seaview Inn... doesn't look like the sort of place that would have TVs in the bathtubs!

We looked online, spoke to different people at the hotel and even chatted with a guest at breakfast about things to do. However, in the end we decided to go out for a wonder and enjoy getting lost. We figured the island is not that big and we had plenty of money to catch a cab back to the Inn if we got too far away so why not! Plus, Chris had been out for a run in the early morning and had scouted a potential path.

We started off along the water since the tide was heading out and we had plenty of room to walk.

It seems like every house we passed had a cute name on the gate or over the door. This was one of my favorites...

Eventually, the beach became impossible to walk on so we headed inland along a muddy path. We were flanked by green fields and woods. The air was crisp and my wellies kept my feet bone dry! I had a ball splashing through the puddles and trying not to avoid the mud!

I can definitely understand why Londoners have country or coast homes. It was so peaceful and relaxing to be out walking without doubledecker buses brushing past at 60 mph or having to dodge tourists. One thing is for certain, if we ever lived in a place like this we would have to get a doggy! We must have seen about 20 Border Collies in our 2 days and they were all having the time of their lives running, barking, and herding any and everything in sight!

We walked along the edge of the Priory Hotel and gates like this one marked the entrances on either end. Unfortunately, we had to continue our walk along the main road. I tried in vain to snap pictures while dodging cars... wasn't I just saying something about not missing this???
We walked through St Helen's and then headed back to the coast and enjoyed the houseboats in Bembridge...

Leave it to me to make friends with a pirate along the way. I told him on of my pirate jokes... he didn't seem to be very amused. He must have had barnacles in his ears ;-) It was at about this point in our walk that I realized just how heavy rubber boots are, especially when you have walked about 4 miles... We found a cute little pub and were ready to tuck in to a pint when Chris decided to see what else was around. The Lobster and Crab Inn was recommended and right on the shore... it looked deceivingly close on Chris's Blackberry map so we were off again.

In the end, it was worth the extra mile we walked. We sat outside and drank a pint, enjoying the sea views and then headed inside for crab cakes by the fire.

For the record, the camera is level... it is the fence that is going downhill!

England's coasts are known for their chalk cliffs and Isle of Wight is no different. Most of the southern and eastern coast on the island are nothing but cliffs. We only caught the edge of it but is was lovely to say the least. We considered a walk along this beach but decided that it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick nap before our massages!
We made it back just in time, too. As we kicked off our shoes in the room it started to pour! This was the theme of our weekend. When we were outside if was cold, windy and damp but not raining but as soon as we headed inside it would come down in sheets! After a quick nap, we headed to the Inn's spa room. Chris enjoyed a 60 minute massage while I was pampered with a 60 minute facial and 30 minutes neck, shoulder and back massage. So this was not on my original weekend wish list but I consider it a compromise since our room did not have a fire place!
After a nice long dinner, a bottle of vino and some sticky toffee pudding, we were ready for our nice warm bed and the sound of rain on the roof top. We slept-in until after 9:30 this morning before heading down for a Full English fry-up and fresh squeezed juice! It is hard to believe that we actually left this little bit of heaven to return to London! What were we thinking???
Until next time... XOXO

1 comment:

lkipphut said...

Loved your photos of Isle of Wight. I want a pair of wellies to stomp along the coast too. Glad you had a grea time.