Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vicarious Tourism: Hampshire's Hidden Gems

Okay, so that title was marginally pretentious: I'll own up to that. But really: some of the things we've visited lately are quite brilliant little finds that we've somehow stumbled upon. Granted, they aren't terribly hidden as I found quite a bit of information in a quick Google search, but these are all things I could conceivably have missed even living here for years.

Find number one? Waverley Abbey. The Husband and I visited this nearly two years ago when we were first married and this is the first time I've been back. Admittedly, it'll be a bit more fun when Ethan is old enough that his enthusiasm for running doesn't outstrip his ability so much, but with Victoria along, it was really nice to show the place off to someone who'd never seen it before.

We initially thought that Ethan would sleep through our whole trip, having nodded off in the car, but he woke up enough to take his turn in scampering around and being posed on some ruins. (At one point, I even climbed a 5-foot wall with him for a nice shot. And yes, Mom, I was very safe about it.)

Enjoying the chance to run and play with rocks.

This picture was far safer to pose than it appears. I swear.
Yes, in an instance like this, a trip is basically an excuse to get out in the sunshine and take pictures. But really: who doesn't want an excuse to do that every now and again? I may not be very good at it, but I like to consider photography as a hobby of mine. It's a nice inexpensive way to remember a lot of the fun things we've done as a family.

Madonna and Child was the look we were going for here.

V in a tree.

After a nice time in the cheerfully warm sunshine, we headed about 10 minutes further south to suss out the Farnham Pottery. In case you've somehow managed not to notice, I am a pottery fiend. I love this stuff: I collect it. I have a dresser in my kitchen covered in all sorts of pottery. Pieces from Cornwall and Devon, a splendiferous oil decanter by Rupert Blamire courtesy of the gift shop at the Roman Baths, a milk-carton-shaped creamer from Next, and my favourite favourite pieces from a Frenchman in the little Alpine village of St. Sigismond who - I am convinced - is the god of pottery.

But this pottery, people: it's gorgeous. There's a group there called the West Street Potters who run classes to teach you how to throw a lovely pot, jug, plate, vase, cup: you name it, you can probably learn to make it with them. And considering the whole outfit is lodged in a sublimely quaint Victorian pottery in the little village of Wreccelsham, it's worth going just to enjoy the scenery.

I would love an excuse to hang out here more often.

Being matchy in our stripes.
Alas, the cafe and farm shop here are closing at the end of the month. Of course, when I've just found a place that makes scrummy food and sells lovely chutneys and slate trivets and locally-made cards, it's closing down. Come the 22nd, I think I'll be there in the morning, though, to get some free cake to celebrate their business. I do hope that the Christmas Market I heard about still runs there even without the restaurant...

At least I have a nice card I can frame to remember it all - sort of like when we visited St. Michael's here in town. We've had some great adventures lately: I can't wait to update you all on what we get up to this weekend!


  1. Hi, I popped over here from Design Mom and I'm really enjoying looking through your blog! My husband is English (we live in NY), and I love reading about where he comes from :) I can imagine us taking similar trips around if we were living over there!

    (your baby is sooo cute :)

  2. Hi Christy; thanks a bunch! Your blog looks pretty fun as well. I know my husband would enjoy the zombie parade! :) You guys seem to be in a gorgeous part of NY.