If I close my eyes and imagine quintessential country scenery, the view would consist of rolling hills, curving roads, cows, sheep, and a blanket of green as far as the eye can see. Throw in some gorgeous coastline sprinkled with moss covered cliffs, sailboats, and beautiful beaches and I'd find myself smack in the middle of in Cornwall, England. It's literally like a dream in this southwestern region of the country. The perfect mixture of damp air + moderate temperatures ensures everything is lush and green, (though I was warned it's not always quite as pleasantly warm and sunny here as the week we "brought the sunshine with us").
Every time I'm lucky enough to travel with Jordan to the UK, I find my fortune doubled through the kind people that make up the company, and their welcoming family members who always make sure I'm well occupied while Jordan is in tied up. Cornwall was no exception to this, as one of Jordan's coworkers' father (who doesn't even work for them, they're just that friendly and close knit in Cornwall) took me out for the day, packing in countless beautiful sights and activities to give me a true local's experience of the area. Spencer (my Cornish tour guide) and I confessed later that we were both a little nervous at first -- a day with a total stranger -- this could have been so awkward! But as the day went on, I learned the importance of being open-minded -- new people can teach you so much and getting a little lesson in another country's culture is priceless. He truly was determined to show me all the best things Cornwall had to offer and kept me laughing, well-fed and newly equipped with a lot of new Cornish vocabulary!
The day started in Liskeard (pronounced Lis-guard), where we wound around a maze of narrow roads and landed late morning for a cup of tea (and a sample of Poldark Ale -- a must to honor my mom's infatuation with the locally shot show) on the lawn at The Jamaica Inn, overlooking one of the numerous farms in the area. We passed through Moor, which overlooks a gorgeous lake with Highland cows roaming about. The route here was full of sprawling farm views and again, narrow roads lined in lush ferns, wildflowers, and tall grasses that make you feel like you're in a tunnel. American drivers would probably consider these roads appropriate for one way traffic, but the locals whip around curves here so comfortably that when another car approaches, they offer a friendly wave with only a quick tap on the brakes to leave enough room. That, paired with being on the "wrong" side of the road left me feeling almost like it was a game of chicken, but with so few fellow drivers on the road, most of the time it was more like a gorgeous green rollercoaster though the country.
Next on the itinerary was a stop at the cliff-side beach of Polzeath on the northern coast of the county. We hopped out for a walk on the beach and grabbed an English specialty - a pasty (pronounced pah-stee, not to be confused with the American version designed to prevent nip-slips). Pasties are similar to an empanada - a pierogi-shaped pocket of flaky crust surrounding various savory ingredients - in our case, the most traditional steak, potatoes and warm gravy. I learned that historically pasties were known for being a great on-the-go one handed meal for coal covered miners in the area. They held the pocket in one hand and when they reached the last bite where their dirty fingers were, they chucked it, so only to waste that one tiny bite.
As we made our way out of Polzeath, we were briefly held up by the security of a TV crew currently shooting (Doc Martin? Never heard of it but apparently it's popular...) in the area until they were done with the scene, and I was able to hop out to grab a few photos of these gorgeous cliffs. A man had his two dogs fetching in the ocean and I couldn't help but steal a photo of this sweet chocolate lab that reminded me of our Remy girl!
I try to hit a botanical garden in every region we go to if possible, and this was no exception. There are numerous gardens sprinkled through the region, but we ended up at Lynhydrock, a gorgeous property full of roaming cattle, a grand property and similar foliage to what we had growing up in Pennsylvania. Gorgeous rhododendron, azaleas, wisteria, and something the garden is well known for, blue bells.
After all the walking around, it was time for another snack. I was told I must try "tea and cream" when we were out, so that we did! Initially I thought it might be tea with some sort of specialty cream in it, or even some kind of milkshake, but I later found out it was so much more delicious than that. Tea and cream consists of a traditional pot of English tea and delicious flaky biscuits with strawberry jam and clotted cream. It will be a must now every time we go back to England. Unfortunately no pictures of this -- I ate them way too fast!
Last stop was to the Southern port city of Fowey (pronounced Foy). This sweet little area had dozens of cute little shops, restaurants, interesting front doors on sweet apartments, and a gorgeous view of the English Channel. One we finished up touring this area, we took the car on a quick fairy across the River Fowey to head home! The day was one I'll always remember - the views were truly unforgettable and I hope to make it back again someday!