The Return to Europe 2010 travel blog

Final shot of guest sitting room Orchard Barn

Breakfast starters

Techno-Bob at Breakfast, first course

Stourhead House

Point and click picture at Stourhead

Just a little rotunda for the guests

Stourhead vista

Paint a garden with trees and shrubs

More of the lake and garden


Handy dandy pub next to cheap Premier Inn

Marilyn's Musings

We rousted ourselves out of our very comfortable bed for the final orgy of eggs and cold toast in the English style, packed up our assorted “we pack light” stuff, bid a fond farewell to Nigel and Margaret and Orchard Barn complete with hugs around, and made our final 3 point turn out of the driveway to head toward our next adventure which included hiking through some gorgeous landscape garden.

Stourhead is a National Trust property located in the county of Wiltshire and consists of a house and garden. While the house is interesting (I guess; we have never spent the extra money to tour it!, it is the gardens that have put it on the map. In the early 1700s, Henry Hoare, a banker’s son, decided to spend his extra pocket change in creating what he wanted to become the finest landscape in Europe. He was pretty successful in his venture. He dammed up a stream running through his property and created a lake around which be built a circular walk. Then the fun began as he used trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants to ‘paint” his landscape. Not satisfied with just using nature, he also added a small cottage, a couple of classical Greek edifices and a stone bridge or two. Succeeding Hoares added to the gardens until they donated it to the National Trust in 1946, at which point, things were spruced up a bit and opened to the public.

It s impossible to take a poor picture here; you just point the camera in any direction and click the button.

After strolling around for several hours and 3 or 4 miles, we plopped ourselves back in the car for our overnight stop before heading to Paris. I found a bargain as I was putting the trip together. For only 29 British pounds, I was able to book a clean comfortable twin room with a wonderful shower and a pub next door. Of course, there was no internet, no in-room telephone, and no clock radio, so I just pretended we were camping. The Premier Inn is a chain of motels owned by the Whitbread Brewery; surprise, they also own the pub next door. But the prices sure beat the Red Roof Inn even with the light left on.

A couple of (Whitbread) ales and a mediocre steak dinner later, we ended our sojourn in Southern England. Tomorrow we’re on the way to Paris, home of cold beer and steak frites.

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