PETER AND BEATRIX
It’s not always easy deciding where I want to travel. So many choices can leave this indecisive girl paralyzed about where to go next. Sometimes though, I’ll have a random connection to a place that I’ve never been and immediately decide to go there. That’s what happened with Lake District National Park in England.
My last planned stop was Edinburgh, Scotland and from there I would be heading to London. It was the logical next step since a few weeks later I was meeting friends in Paris. I needed another stop before London because I didn’t want to spend the whole time there, it’s too expensive and I wanted to mix in a little village in-between the two cities.
I pulled up my trusty Google Maps and started to look at my options. The Lake District immediately jumped out at me. I had a vague memory of its connection to children’s book author Beatrix Potter. Plus, it was an easy train ride from Edinburgh. So, I started looking into lodging in the town of Windermere. Since I didn’t have a car, it would be a good base for my visit.
I have a fascination with children’s book illustrators and their work. To me the books are bound works of art, usually with a great little story. Peter Rabbit has always been a favorite of mine. A tiny book just big enough for a child, with soft and beautiful illustrations accompanied by sweet stories. As an adult, I have bought one or two for myself.
The author, Beatrix Potter, led a fascinating life (gotta love a woman who doesn’t follow the rules) and spent time working and living at her Hilltop cottage located in the Lake District. I jumped at the chance to visit the house. After a quick ferry across Lake Windermere and a short trip on a scenic road, I arrived in a tiny adorable English village.
Sometimes I can romanticize things and places in my head, and I end up a little sad when the reality doesn’t meet my expectations. This was not one of those times. My visit started at the entrance to the garden, and I immediately felt like I was walking into one of her stories. The beautiful views from the flower garden, the ivy covered house, and sweet vignettes were all I could have hoped and were clearly inspiration for many of her books.
Indoors, the rooms were small and simple, but held drafts and working illustrations. To see the effort put into every drawing and the ideas behind her well-loved books was such a treat. I enjoyed every minute.
Now you may visit this house and think, what’s the big deal? Just like anything, it’s the experiences you bring to a place that can help shape your impression of it. For me it held a snapshot of my childhood and innocence that is hard to capture. I could have sat in the vegetable garden all day, waiting for Peter to pop up!