4 Epic Days in Cornwall, England

It finally happened! I’ve always wanted to go to England, but it wasn’t until I read the Poldark series by Winston Graham and started watching the T.V. show that brought me to the point in my life of: I need to go there.

My boyfriend and I have had England planned for awhile now. You might be remember my post on what we choose to see when there.

But now it’s time to tell you all what we actually did. This all about our 4 days in Cornwall (technically we were there 5, but we basically just went to the beach and left on day 5 so I’m scratching that). You’ll see other posts in the future on our time in London, my favorite pictures (which will probably coincide with my favorite things that we did), the do’s and don’ts of traveling there, and how to save some money on your trip.

Day 1:

We were mighty adventurous on Day 1. After not really sleeping on our overnight, and waiting around in Heathrow for 3 hours, we finally made our way out to the countryside — a 4 hour drive from Heathrow to our little home away from home in St Agnes. If you are a Poldark fan, then St Agnes and Cornwall are just what you need. Anyway, to say we were tired was an understatement, we took a power nap, I’m not sure if we could have done any sight seeing that first day if we didn’t. But it was beautiful day and I just had to see something of Cornwall before we truly crashed for the night. This is what I had dreamed about for too long. I needed to see the coastline and it did not disappoint. IMG_0767.jpgSince we were at Porthtowan Beach, we decided it only made sense to sit out, relax and eat at it’s multiple different restaurants, we chose the beach cafe where we got some delicious burgers (reasonably priced). But there were at least two other places for eating plus Moomaid of Zennor ice cream. As an FYI — you do have to pay for parking almost everywhere in Cornwall.

Day 2:

Remember how I said we were jet lagged? Yeah, we slept for awhile into day 2 but were still able to see a lot! When we planned our vacation, we planned based off of geographical locations. So Day 2 was the Northern section (or what I considered Northern) of Cornwall. We got a little lost and ended up in Bodim, the cutest town, with the loveliest walking trail and the buildings were so old. Exactly what I was looking for. We also saw a festival going on that had it’s own reenactment of an execution!

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Once Bodim was done we headed to Tintagel Castle, which is really more of a ruin than castle. This is the supposed birthplace of King Arthur. You can even find a cove called Merlin’s Cove (PS — you can buy your tickets there, you also have to pay for parking or you can buy an Overseas Visitor Pass from English Heritage — which is what we did, more on that later). I mean, we really walked into history here, the Castle is a ruin now because it hadn’t been used in over 500 years — that’s right over 500 years. How unbelievable is that?

 

After our activities for the day, it was off to dinner (yes, we brought our lunches with us — more on that later) in Port Isaac, there was no real reason why we went to Port Isaac other than I wanted to see it. We had a lovely little dinner of fish and chips right on the water at the pier at The Slipway.

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Day 3:

Day 3 was our only truly rainy day. But even with that being said, it was pretty amazing. It didn’t downpour so that made it better. This was our first day of seeing a Castle that was not in ruin. Pendennis Castle was pretty amazing, not only was the Castle itself old and had a lot going on, it was cool to see the history of what it was used for after it was a castle, like a barracks during the WWI and WWII.

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After this, we went to Truro and had our first ever Cornish Pasty. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Everyone needs to have one, seriously. They even have Vegetarian ones as well as their traditional meat version. When in Truro, you have to see the Cathedral, it is a must see — gorgeous (with free admission) and of course, a lot of history.

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The last thing we did on day 3 was something I had been waiting to do since we started planning. If you’re a Poldark fan, you have to go to Chapel Porth Beach and Wheal Coates. When walking up the trail and seeing the water and the old mines.  It was everything I hoped it would be, I was so happy I think my boyfriend might have laughed at me. Honestly, I could post so many more picture but I chose three, maybe you’ll see more in some later posts.

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The mines were mainly for copper, tin and ore and very popular until the 1800s, I was in awe at the fact that I finally seeing it.

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Day 4

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about TEA. Anyway, we finally had some tea and scones near St Michael’s Mount. We got to the location early which was the perfect excuse to have some tea — we went to the Godolphin Arms and had a picturesque view of the Castle while we ate and waited.

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Why did we have to wait, do you wonder? Well, one of the coolest things about St Michael’s Mount is getting there. It’s on it’s own Island, technically you can take a little boat but we wanted the full experience of waiting for the tide to go out and then walk across the brick road like shown above. It was such a cool experience, we both loved it (FYI — Parking is about $4 pounds for the day and attraction pass is about $10 pounds, this is not part of the Heritage Pass mentioned earlier).

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Once there, you get to walk through a little town as you make your way up to the actual Castle. Be aware, this Castle is on a hill and is a cobblestone walkway, I would suggest sneakers. We were honestly thinking that anyone who has trouble on uneven surfaces might have trouble with this place. It’s worth it though if you can get to the top. The Castle itself is amazing, but the view of the ocean and the little town is also amazing. We took a lot of pictures and probably could have spent all day there.

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After St Michael’s Mount, we drove about 45mins to Land’s End. To say we did a lot of hiking/walking in Cornwall would be an understatement. Land’s End is the most south westernly point of Britain — which means I’ve been there and to the southernmost point of the US all within a year! I’m pretty happy with myself.

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What surprised me about Land’s End is how much of an attraction site it was. I expected to go there and just see lush cliffs — which don’t get me wrong, we saw (and I loved). But there was also a lot of fun attractions for families and kids even before you start walking the cliffs.

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I’m not going to lie, there were also some sketchy areas that we hiked. At one point, we seemed so close to the edge that I didn’t want to continue on the trail. If you ever feel like this though, don’t worry, you can go on a trail that’s not as close to the edge and still get the view you’re looking for.

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Then we drove to St Ives (honestly, the coolest town) and had dinner at Harbor Fish and Chips (our favorite Fish and Chips on the vacation) and then had a drink with some Cornishmen and Cornishwomen while watching England play in the World Cup. There was honestly no better way to end our first leg of our England trip and Cornwall.

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What I loved the most about Cornwall was the relaxed feel and nature of the whole place. Four hours from London and I felt like I was in a completely different country. I could have spent a week there, not just a couple of days.

 

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The History of Saratoga, New York

Happy Independence America! I’ve already watched some Fireworks to get in the spirit of our Independence, which occurred on July 4th, 1776, when the colonies wrote the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that my hometown, Saratoga Springs, New York has a lot to do with America winning it’s Independence?

In the past, I’ve written some detail about Saratoga National Historic Park, but I wanted to write another post on here of the history and the park in itself now that it’s Spring and you can really see what it has to offer.

While the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, the war for freedom was just beginning. In fact, in September of 1777 through October of 177720180609_113958 the Battle of Saratoga began and is now known to many history buffs as the “Turning Point of The Revolutionary War”. It was in October of 1777 when British troops surrendered to American troops, a battle that would change the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the American colonists. This battle was significant because other countries, like France saw what happened and joined the war to fight for the freedom of America.

I love the history of Saratoga for this specifically, there is so much you can see and understand in just a few hours. To think that you can walk on land that was once walked on by the very people who gave this country it’s freedom always blows my mind.

When visiting the National Historic Park, you can experience it in many different ways in the Spring and Summer. You can walk the trail or bike it (roughly 9 miles), you can drive through it, or even take a horse (if you have one). There are reenactments done at different points in the year, as well as guides and maps that can explain everything to you. We went for a bike ride (it’s a hilly 9+miles if you do this) and stopped at each section of the trail to see views of the battlefield and read the markings left to explain the significance of each site.

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It’s a great location to learn some history, get some exercise or even go to read and have a picnic. I’m hoping to have a lovely picnic there before the year ends — it’s on my summer bucket list. Once you’re done here, you can head to the Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods where you can learn more about the battlefield. Before walking through Victory Woods, you’ll pass through a cemetery filled with headstones from the 1700 and 1800’s, there could literally be Revolutionary and Civil War heroes buried in this cemetery. It’s an eerie feeling but one that helps you appreciate the magnitude of their sacrifice.

So, again, Happy Independence Day America! I’m so lucky to live in an area that had such a significant impact on our freedom.

What I am Packing For England

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I’m currently doing the last bit of my packing for my trip to England…which is tomorrow. I have so many emotions, I’ve never been to Europe so this is going to be an entirely new experience for me.

What we are Expecting & How We’re Preparing

Anyway, I’ve heard from a whole lot of people that the weather in England is unpredictable, which really means, bring everything you can think of with you (good thing we are each bringing large suitcases!). We also had to take into consideration where in England we are going to be staying. Part of our trip will be outside the city of London, on coastal beaches, cliff walks and ruins. For that, we had to really plan accordingly to what we think we will be doing.

We also wanted to get some insight on the weather earlier than a few days to really see what the predictions are. I started looking at the weather for both Cornwall and London about 3 weeks before. Especially since we are leaving mid-week, we were going to need to start packing on a weekend before we leave. This helped us determine the necessities.

The Necessities

I mean, obviously we need our Passport, for the most part, anything else is okay to forget. Here’s the thing, because weather is so predictable, I am literally packing everything I can think of. Shorts, jeans, shoed, sandals, bathing suit, rain coat, workout clothes, dresses, rompers. Basically my wardrobe. The biggest thing is that I need to make sure I still have room for souvenirs ☺. To help with all this packing, I bought some packing cubes shown below from Amazon. I am always forgetting things when I re-pack so I’m hoping this helps me.

The Electronics and Books

One thing everyone needs is that universals charger. I might not have realized this was a thing until I spoke to someone who had just gone to New Zealand. We did some research and found the below charger on amazon. It’s perfect, has everything we will need.

I’m also bringing that fancy camera I bought last year specifically for this vacation! I still haven’t practiced on it at night yet so wish me luck but honestly I love it, my Canon Rebel is absolutely perfect.

I’m only bringing one book and it’s Drums of Autumn. A re read which I thought was perfect. This way I won’t feel like I can’t stop reading on vacation, and I’m bringing my Google nexus, both of these are just for the plane, it is 6 hours, we never sleep, so we need to be preoccupied somehow!

Reminiscing About Paradise Island, Bahamas

My first ever vacation outside of the country was to The Bahamas back when I was a senior in college. I didn’t think it was real, my mom kept sending me ideas of places where we could go over my winter break, she’s never been so serious about a trip before. But still, I didn’t think it was going to happen. But one day I got an email with all the bookings and where we were going, I couldn’t believe it – my roommates couldn’t believe it but it happened.

It was a much-needed vacation and looking back I can see why my mom planned it. We had gone through a rough two years – my dad passing away first and then my grandfather (my mom’s father) the year later. I think it was time but I was still young (and poor) so a vacation wasn’t even in my vocabulary. It was in my mom’s though, so for 5 days and 4 nights we headed to Paradise Island, Bahamas in 2010.

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Man, was it Paradise. Again, it was my first vacation out of the country, and while I had seen pictures of the clear turquoise ocean and white sand beaches, I still didn’t believe it was what I was going to see when I got there. I remember looking out the window on the plane and being in awe of the water and the fact that it wasn’t all a lie. I was here, I was seeing this crystal blue water and I hadn’t even gotten off the plane yet!

We made this vacation the epitome of vacation too, we stayed in Riu Hotel, an all-inclusive that had the most delicious food ever. We had a view of the pool and the water, could sit out on the beach all day in 70-degree weather. The locals were cold and said we were crazy when we got in the water but honestly, we couldn’t help it! It was Paradise!

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We didn’t just sit around either, don’t worry. One day we went out to The Blue Lagoon to swim with dolphins. It was an experience I will never forget. I love dolphins but being up so close to them was a little intimidating to be honest. My dolphin liked me (yeah, I’ll brag a bit) and went to the bottom of the ocean to give me a rock, I still have it, it will follow me everywhere because who knows when I’ll swim (and fly) with a dolphin again. To get to The Blue Lagoon, you had to take a boat from the main Island, after we swam with dolphins we stayed there for a bit and just enjoyed the quiet. We were the only people who stayed so we had out little Island to ourselves (minus the lifeguard on duty)!

Other adventures outside of relaxing on the beaches and seeing the gorgeous water and sunsets was our walk around The Atlantis and the hotel’s aquarium. They also had shops where we found the best Rum Cake. We still buy it occasionally from Amazon.

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That’s all I have for reminiscing on Paradise Island, Bahamas. I can’t wait to go back, it’s still one of those vacations where I could go back again and again. I feel like I have an itch for the Caribbean and that clear turquoise water.