Ireland – Part 2 – Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Killarney National Park, Ring of Kerry

By Sandra Hutchinson

Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

This is Part 2 of my blog post on our ten-day trip to Ireland in October, 2018. The first part covered Dublin, Belfast, the Antrim Coast (Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Distillery), Ashford Castle in Cong, Connemara and Kylemore Abbey.

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Ten days in Ireland — Part 1: Dublin, Belfast, Antrim Coast, Connemara

by Sandra Hutchinson

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, on the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

My husband and I took a ten-day trip to Ireland in October, 2018, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our trip included one full day in Dublin and several days in Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom, not the Republic of Ireland), before heading southwest through several regions on the west coast, including Connemara, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, and Killarney National Park, including portions of the Ring of Kerry.

This post is Part 1, covering the first six days or so of our trip. Part 2 will cover the rest of the trip, as well as my travel tips for Americans visiting Ireland.

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Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s kitchen at the National Museum of American History

by Sandra Hutchinson

In 2001, when the food historians at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. learned that famous chef, TV personality and cookbook author Julia Child (1912-2004) was selling her home in Cambridge, Mass. and moving back to her home state of California, they contacted her to discuss the possibility of including some of her culinary objects in the museum’s collection. They were invited to visit Ms. Child in Cambridge, and she agreed to donate the entirety of her kitchen to the museum — literally every object that she had collected and used in her kitchen from the late 1940s, through 2001, including appliances, pots and pans, cookbooks on the shelf, even the magnets on the fridge.

The signage says the only things the museum added are the plastic tomatoes (in the trug) and bananas in the bowl on the table. Also, the museum recreated the linoleum floor from Ms. Child’s kitchen out of paper.

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Paradise Mill and Silk Museum, Macclesfield, England

by Sandra Hutchinson

The Silk Road may have begun in China, but many people say the western terminus was the city of Macclesfield, in Cheshire, in northwest England. Macclesfield is known for once being the world’s largest producer of finished silk products. In the 1830s, 71 silk mills operated in this market town.

Today, you can walk through Paradise Mill, a working museum where visitors can see original Jacquard looms demonstrated by museum staff. Next to Paradise Mill is the Silk Museum, which presents an extensive exhibit on the history of silk weaving and printing, including a display of a number of looms.

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Levens Hall—stunning topiary in Cumbria, England

By Sandra Hutchinson

Near Kendal, in Cumbria, on the southern edge of England’s Lake District, lies Levens Hall, with its extensive topiary garden, said to be the oldest and most extensive garden of its type in the world.

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Levens Hall itself is still a private residence, home to the Bagot family, but it and the surrounding gardens are open to the public (for a fee) from spring to fall. Photographs are not permitted inside the home, so unfortunately, I have none to share. The original home was built circa 1250 to 1300, and subsequent additions turned it into the sprawling manor house that visitors see today.

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A week in Beatrix Potter’s Lake District in England—a bit of heaven

by Sandra Hutchinson
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Many people know of Beatrix Potter, the English writer and illustrator, because of her series of beloved children’s books about Peter Rabbit and his friends. 

But Miss Potter (1866-1943), later known as Mrs. Heelis, was far more than a genteel Victorian lady who penned stories about woodland creatures like bunnies and hedgehogs and painted charming watercolors of them wearing human clothing. She was a naturalist, a conservationist, a scientist (a mycologist, to be exact), a visionary merchandiser of her products, a farmer who raised Herdwick sheep, and a far-sighted land preservationist. 

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Churchill War Rooms, London

by Sandra Hutchinson

If you’ve seen the recent movie The Darkest Hour, for which Gary Oldman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his depiction of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II, you’ll know that some of the pivotal scenes take place underground, in what were called the Cabinet War Rooms. 

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This warren of rooms is located underground, below a government building just a few blocks from the Parliament building, in Westminster. It was the command center for the British armed services from 1939 to March 1945, when the German bombing ended. 

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