Saturday afternoon Liam and I went out for a fabulous socially distanced lunch out with his family, where we had some delicious lasagne at Bonnie’s Brunch. A newly opened family run cafe in Plymouth we have all given two thumbs up to. We got back home and decided that even though the promised heat wave wasn’t quite as strong as anticipated, the weather was still far too nice to pass up! We packed up our bags and headed up to Venford Reservoir on Dartmoor, somewhere we had visited earlier this year with Liam’s parents (link). This time however, Liam had something new and exciting in store for me. I couldn’t wait!
Browsing the Devon Wildlife Trust website and following their instagram has long been a way for me to find out new nature reserves, trails and places to explore. Recently while being determined to spend more time in the beautiful and on my doorstep Tamar Valley AONB, I discovered that one such nature reserve and trail was just outside of Tamerton Foliot. Warleigh Point Nature Reserve. Armed with the promise of stunning views over the rivers Tamar and Tavy, it gave Emily and I a chance to go out with my parents and blow the working week away without having to do much forward planning. Perfect as we have been house viewing nonstop recently!
I think getting outside and walking is one of life’s simple pleasures. It is pretty much free, and it gives you the opportunity to see and do things that you would have missed out on by staying indoors. As with all simple pleasures, sharing these walks with friends and family is even better than venturing out solo. That is why, after being tipped off that the Tamar Valley trains were running for free, I jumped at the opportunity to head out to Gunnislake with the family in tow. Suspension of cash payments due to Covid19 is a slim silver lining I had to take!
Now that I am back on that Monday to Friday working life grind the weekends have become a thing of beauty again. Two days of complete freedom for us to spend how we like, and Liam and I the thing we love to do most is to get outside and explore the beautiful areas we are so lucky to be surrounded by. After two weekends of dreary wet weather we finally had a clear day where we could get back out there. We decided to spend the day completing the next stretch of the South West Coastal Path, 9.8 miles from Erme Estuary to Noss Mayo.
Driving across Dartmoor in sunny weather is always stunning. Heading out of Princetown, Emily and I stopped near Merrivale to start our afternoon. Walking to Kings Tor we wrapped around the Bronze Age settlements, taking in the stone rows, circles and standing stones that have been in place these past 4000 years. I always find it hard to imagine what it must have been like for prehistoric man in such a windswept and open environment. It makes it all the more amazing to think that as a species, even with the most primitive tools, we shaped our environment so early into our history that it would last for millennia.
Emily by the standing stone with the clearly visible remains of a stone circle in the background
After a Covid19 lockdown initiated hiatus, Emily and I made the most of the bank holiday and got out onto Dartmoor. It felt like it had been ages, and in all honesty it really had. 6 months of travel, poor weather and a strict lockdown had prevented us getting out to our local National Park for the best part of a year. Still, that’s the best thing about the outdoors. It’s there waiting for you and it’s all the more glorious for it.
In these uncertain times, it is going to be the little details that make 2020 bearable for a lot of us. To avoid cabin fever, having spent the past 2 months working hard on acquiring government jobs only to have our start dates pulled out from under our feet, we felt the need to stretch our legs. Isolating for physical health is obviously going to have a long-term impact on mental health for a lot of people, and Emily and I decided to regain some sense of normality by heading out to Wembury (one of our favourite places) and picking out a new hike there. Who says you need to social distance inside anyway?
Our last day of our mini east coast road trip rounded off back in Massachusetts, destination: Plymouth. As soon as we started planning our trip to the east coast, Liam and I knew we wanted to stop here, marking the beginning of our around the world trip in Plymouth UK and the end of the trip in Plymouth Massachusetts. These two towns have such a strong historical UK and US relationship with each other so it was even more fitting for the two of us to visit.
Day 2 of the road trip! Check out Day 1 here. Leaving our farm homestay in the morning, Emily and I headed out to our final new state of the trip – Rhode Island. Smallest state by area, this East Coast state is THE state by the sea. No East Coast road trip would be complete without an early morning stop at Dunkin Donuts. So, once we were fuelled with coffee and sugary goodness we headed straight for our destination of the day: Newport.
The only things I knew about Connecticut before visiting on our east coast road trip came from watching Gilmore Girls growing up, which took place in the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow. I knew that this was a place that had history, plenty of people with old American money, Yale, and some beautiful scenery. Having a car meant we were able to explore this small state with great ease during our time there, and there’s still plenty to see should we ever get the opportunity to revisit! We arrived in Hartford around lunchtime which was perfect because we had worked up an appetite and had our food destination chosen and mapped out. We found this place on that amazing sandwich list that led us to two amazing sandwiches in Hawaii and in Colorado, so we went off with high hopes to J’s crab shack for a Lobster Roll, something that screams New England especially to someone who grew up landlocked. The place was busy with a diverse crowd of people enjoying their seafood plates, we ordered and sat down next to a massive tank of bright fish and one massive eel who was probably judging us for eating his aquatic friends. The lobster roll was packed with fresh meat, warm and drizzled with butter and lemon. Simple yet unforgettable, a total treat.