So, to pick up the story....
We headed off to Sherwood Forest. Yes, indeed. Robin Hood, Little John, and the rest of the Merry Men. We even found the Major Oak that is rumored to be the tree that they would all meet up in before heading off on their adventures.
The Forest Preservation people have actually taken a lot of care to protect this tree. There were SO many posts and poles holding the tree up! We were able to stroll around for a bit, and saw some beautiful trees and nature in general. It was SO green!
Our next stop made my heart SO happy. I got another chance to geek out over Pride and Prejudice! We made our way to the Chatsworth House, which to all you newer P&P fans is known as PEMBERLEY!!!! Yep. I got to go to Mr. Darcy's house!!!
It was pretty cool, because we were allowed to take pictures INSIDE the house!
This sign made me giggle. I wonder how many people thought it was a drinking fountain??
This is the veil lady.I don't know what the actual name is, that is just what I call her. You see her in the movie, but generally, she is in a beautiful oak room, and she stands out even more vibrantly against the dark wood.
This is me, having an Elizabeth Bennett moment in the statue room. I was able to walk around, taking it all in, and it was SO surreal!
This is the formal dining room. GORGEOUS. One thing I noticed was the intricacies in so many of the ceilings in all the places we went. For some it was mural paintings, others it was ornate woodwork and carvings.
This is an amazing mirror. The angled mirrors just were so fun to look at, and find yourself all around the framing of the mirror!
As amazing as the house was, the grounds were absolutely phenomenal. It was breathtaking. I loved being able to just walk around, and there was a variety of types of gardens within the grounds!
There was this amazing little garden of a wide variety of tulips! There were so many different colors, some solid, some mixed in the same flower.
The pink flowers were SO bright! The flowers themselves were pretty big.
We were able to stand on this rock area and look over a portion of the gardens. I could have stayed there all day, but alas, we had to go exploring.
"What are men to rocks and trees?" GOOD QUESTION!!! :)
This was right as you walk out of the house, and gives you a nice introduction to the rest of the grounds.
While we were there, it decided to rain. This wasn't a lovely little drizzle, but there was actual HAIL. Luckily, we found a tree to stand under to have some protection from the pelting hail and rain.
There were lovely statues throughout the grounds.
I LOVE the green/grey (gray) combination in nature; the green just looks so much more vibrant!
There was one portion that had SO much yellow!!!I was in flower heaven!
It is just SO green!
This fountain was so pretty, and we got to see them turn it off...they still use the old school pole and literally turning the fountain off.
The next part of our trip had 2 surprises...one was planned, and the other was a complete surprise to the both of us. Spencer told me he had a surprise for me awhile before I went over, but would not budge at telling me what it was. Well, the day FINALLY came. We drove for about 4 hours to get to the surprise. However, we were both in for a surprise on the way there. We kept seeing signs for this place, and I thought to myself that maybe that was the surprise. As we were driving, this place was RIGHT off the road, so we decided to get on out at see it. We were both equally surprised to see this:
THAT'S RIGHT!!!! STONEHENGE!!!
We didn't feel like paying to just walk around it, especially since we had our planned surprise SO we just did a quick photo op:
I can't ever imagine going on vacation alone....
Who would take pictures of you??
We quickly got back on the road and headed to our planned destination of surprise! We pulled into this place called Stourhead and Spencer asked if I wanted to tour the house and the gardens, or just the gardens. My response was "I have NO idea where we are, so you might want to decide." It was funny, because we made a bathroom stop before we went in to buy tickets, and I was hoping to get some sort of clue as to where we were, but they just had information about pottery that they make on the grounds. Spencer tells me that it is more about the grounds, so I say to only do the grounds tour. We walk into the building to buy tickets and I see this HUGE poster:
photo credit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-stourhead/w-stourhead-garden.htm
I almost started hyperventilating!!! Spencer got a good laugh out of it, but I think he appreciated how excited I was to be there. For those of you unsure of why I was freaking out so much, this is once again, from Pride and Prejudice. This is the location where Mr. Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth (it is raining in the film). I had actually asked Spencer about the possibility of going here when we were planning our grand adventure, and he had said it was way up north and too far for us. While he lied to me, I appreciate it IN THIS CASE because the surprise rocked! The gardens were breathtaking. We talked about how it makes perfect sense that Eden was a garden. It was picturesque the whole time. I could have stayed there forever. In fact, I wanted to become a modest wood nymph and run around the garden all the time forever and ever and enhance the garden experience for all the visitors. Yes, I am an odd duck. don't judge, just love. ANYWAY, here are some pictures of one of my favorite places.
I honestly just felt at peace the whole time I was there. I knew we had to leave, but I didn't want to!
We were also able to stop by Oxford. I know...stopping by Oxford! It was neat because we got to do a park & ride, so we went up to the top of the double decker bus...let me tell you, that messes with your depth perception and perspective!
It's funny taking pictures of each other, because then you end up getting almost panoramic pictures of things.
Oxford itself is GORGEOUS. Once again, I had those thoughts of "this building is older than my country!" The architecture is amazing!
I was in awe the whole time. I felt like a baby bird sometimes, looking up with my mouth wide open (although I tried not to look TOO touristy). It amazes me the patience and devotion it took to complete these buildings.
Thus ends part 2 of the adventure...but don't you fret...part 3 will be full of adventures and travel!