West Witton’s Old Vicarage Explore the Dales

West Witton’s Old Vicarage – Explore the Dales…

A charming village in the Yorkshire Dales, West Witton is a perfect

West Witton's Old Vicarage sits along the main road
West Witton’s Old Vicarage on Main Street

location to use as your base to explore. Picturesque. Quiet. Relaxing. Stay at the caravan park, a farm or a lovely Bed & Breakfast. Our personal favorite is the Old Vicarage.

West Witton’s Old Vicarage…

This Grade II historical property offers just five rooms. Built of stone, with

West Witton's Old Vicarage has ample parking in the rear
Old Vicarage ample parking behind rear garden

an intriguing history. Ask about the Vicar who made his home here. Some parts of the building date back over 300 years, but guest rooms have all the modern amenities and are en suite. From your windows, enjoy views of the garden or panoramic vistas of the Dales.

When you arrive at the Vicarage, relax with a spot of tea or coffee and maybe a homemade treat by your hostess Kirsteen. Besides treats, she also makes amazing preserves. You can even take one home with you to extend your memories.

West Witton's Old Vicarage
Old Vicarage guest lounge snug on a rainy day

The guest’s lounge has that very friendly English country feel. Relax with a book, peruse a map, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Enjoy the log fireplace when the weather is cool. It’s the sort of room you want to snug up in on a rainy day.

From the front windows, Bolton Castle invites you across the valley. It welcomes you to come visit the medieval castle, maze, gardens and birds of prey.  Explore, have an adventure or even get married there.

West Witton is only three miles from Leyburn and four miles to Aysgarth

West Witton's Old Vicarage guest room
West Witton’s Old Vicarage room with four-poster bed

Falls. In exchange for the short drive, the Old Vicarage gives you the peace and tranquility of the Dales. Though the house is right on Main Street, in the evenings it becomes very quiet.

Fox & Hounds is a favorite

Just a short way down Main Street is the Fox and Hounds, a local’s

Yorkshire steak and kidney pie at Fox & Hounds

favorite. Leave the car tucked in its space behind the Vicarage and walk. It’s only a block or two.

The pub specializes in quality home cooking, locally sourced and… some

amazing ales. Never tried a Yorkshire steak and kidney pie? This is a good spot to give it a try. Not quite that brave? They have great fish and chips and other classical pub favorites. Every Sunday you can have the traditional Roast Beef lunch.

Locals and visitors gather and chat, play games or cards or… darts. A 15th-

Fox & Hounds near Old Vicarage
Enjoy a game of darts at the Fox & Hounds

century pub, the Fox and Hounds oozes character. It’s homey, friendly and the classical juke box keeps the music going. They say you know it’s a good night when the manager, Blackie, is feeding the jukebox too.

 

After a quiet rest, the aromas of bacon and sausage grilling will tease you awake. Yes, fresh hot coffee, or tea if you prefer. While you enjoy their amazing homemade breakfasts, you can plan your tour for the day.

Explore…

Outdoor adventures await you. Hiking, bicycling, motorcycling or a drive

River Ure near West Witton

in your car. Visit waterfalls, castles or the Wensleydale Cheese Factory. Want to picnic? Plan ahead with Kirsteen, they will arrange a packed lunch on request. They also offer a flask filling facility.

Want to shop? Visit Hawes and Leyburn. They are both market towns full of quaint shops and history along with beautiful views. You’re in the country where stories of the famous veterinarian, James Herriot took place.

In an easy day trip, you can venture to Thirsk to the Herriot museum, or to Ripon and visit beautiful Fountains Abbey. There is so much to see and do in this area you can’t do it all in a weekend visit. You’ll need to come back again. Kirsteen and Roddy will welcome you, pamper you and make you feel at home.

Plan your next stay at the Old Vicarage…

For the very best rates and friendly service, contact them directly. Ask them about events and specials during the time you want to visit. Complete details are here: http://www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/.

Rudding Park Spa for Wellness

Rudding Park Spa Embraces Nature for Wellness

Rudding Park specializes in escapes. The sprawling estate welcomes those

Rudding Park luxury hotel, Spa and golf
Rudding Park, Harrogate, UK regency manor house, courtesy Rudding Park.

who come to soak in the restorative waters while they enjoy nature’s healing balm. You’ll find it on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Harrogate. Since Victorian days, the area has drawn visitors with its mineral springs and many beautiful parks. Here they walked, visited, soaked and drank the waters.

The elegant Regency style sandstone manor has long been a popular destination for golf, weddings and holidays. This spring it unveiled its newest expansion, The Spa. It has quickly become the place to escape for guests and locals.

Few spas can claim fully booked days in less than two months. Spa memberships have already been capped and have a wait list. The Spa accomplished both of these and there is good reason for its swift popularity.

Rudding spa embraces nature…

Instead of tucking away, Rudding Park Spa reaches out and embraces

Rooftop Spa gardens embraces nature at Rudding Park
Rudding Park rooftop spa overlooks gardens and manor. Image courtesy Rudding Park.

nature. Window walls, patios, pools, and gardens surround you. Lounge areas direct your gaze outward calming and inviting. As you work out, swim, or soak, the views beyond relax and soothe your mind as well as your body.

Rudding Park Spa uses its surroundings and natural spring waters to create an ambiance of complete wellness.

Hotel guests can access the exquisite indoor pool, sauna and bucket shower. Those who want to enjoy all that the spa has to offer schedule for treatments or packages.  Limiting the number of the packages offered for a full day, morning afternoon or evening means an enhanced experience for guests and a well-being work environment for staff.

The Spa’s mission: “Wellness of mind, body, and soul.”

Every aspect is state of the art… in a peaceful and serene environment. It seamlessly blends amazing cutting-edge experiences into the relaxing historic setting.

Handpicked staff offer the highest quality of service. You’ll drift off into

Couples experience suite Rudding Park Spa
Couples room with copper bath, courtesy Rudding Park.

bliss as skilled therapists work their magic in your bespoke (custom) treatment. But facials, body treatments, massage and more are only part of the experience.

Infinity Pool Rudding Park spa
Rudding Park infinity pool courtesy Rudding Park

Enjoy pools for swimming, pools for hydrotherapy, indoors or outdoors, it’s your choice to take advantage of any or all. Lounge in a steam room or you can relax in the panoramic sauna or herbal steam bath. And, don’t miss the ice shower or tropical rainforest thermal experiences. Each works to restore and soothe your senses.

Step outside the spa to the rooftop garden complete with its own pools, sauna, shower and sun deck. Skies, gardens and ancient trees surround you. Quiet, peaceful. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.

But Rudding Park Spa has even more to offer…

Take time to discover the unique mind and sense zones. Each room offers its own sensory experience so you can savor one or explore your way through all of them.

  • The video wall treats your gaze to picturesque landscapes. Lounge in the
    Visual sense experience at Rudding Park Spa
    Visual room at Rudding Park Spa transports you to tranquil vistas.

    oversize rattan swing and soak up scenes of waves lapping on beaches, wildflower meadows, and expansive mountain vistas. Enjoy it alone or relax with friends.

  • In the relax room you’ll find silence and serene lighting. Unwind as you recline on a sleek comfortable lounge – it’s the perfect place to find peace.
  • In the audio room, snuggle into a quiet niche. Listen to meditation or
    Audio relaxation experience Rudding Park Spa
    Enjoy meditation or relaxing music while you snuggle into a private niche at Rudding Park Spa

    soothing sound tracks on your own personal headphones.

  • The mind room offers a unique setting to stimulate your awareness. Coloring books, puzzles, and books from their spa library allow you to settle and center alone or chill with friends.
Don’t forget your sense of taste…

Many of the spa packages include a welcome beverage and a snack. But should you fancy something a bit more substantial, tasty delights await you at Horto Restaurant. Horto’s name, referring to horticulture, gives you hints as to its kitchen garden inspiration.

Situated right next to the spa reception area, Horto, with its own wall of

Horto pudding Rudding Park Spa
Horto amazing fruit salad pudding. Photo, Judith Culp Pearson

windows, is casual and inviting. During the day, you are welcome in your robe, no need to change. Simply wander over and enjoy the fresh garden, farm to table choices that will please your pallet. This is not the time to skip the Puddings either… they’re amazing!

Plan your escape…

The entire property encourages you to disconnect from your hectic routine from the moment you enter. Go leisurely. Enjoy, savor, de-stress, relax, and enhance your entire well-being. That’s what Rudding Park and The Spa are all about. Because spa packages do sell out, book early to get your preferred dates and the experiences that have you daydreaming. Weekends can be particularly busy.

For the latest in their specials and offerings visit www.ruddingpark.co.uk/offers/. Choose from the Sleeping Beauty Spa Break, Spa and Horto, Escape with Me or Time for 2 and more. So many choices.  Plan now for your own unique, personal escape.

 

Join the party, Explore vibrant Hull UK City of Culture

Hull City of Culture a fun visit

The city of Hull, (actually Kingston on Hull), is this year’s City of Culture

Hull’s City Hall is the backdrop for the splash ponds that kids love.

in the UK.  I don’t know what I expected, but I found it a picturesque, vibrant and delightful place to visit.

The city is only a few miles from the village of Cottingham where my husband’s family lives and where we stayed.  My sweet mother-in-law, Dorothy was a tour guide extraordinaire.  A history buff, she gave me insights to the city and made sure I saw the hot spots. Bonus? She knew where to see all the cool stuff that doesn’t have entry fees. Most did accept donations, but there is a lot to see that won’t cost you a pence. The city has worked hard to offer a lot of free venues and numerous walking tours.

Paragon Station
Paragon Station is huge and all under cover in Hull City.

We traveled like the locals, making use of the bus which meant no need to find and pay for parking. You’ll find lots to see within an easy walk of the Paragon Transport Interchange.  While each bus follows its own route into the city, they all end up at the interchange.  This huge center opened in 1847. Once dubbed “Hudson’s Folly” because of its gigantic scale. It has been revamped and rebuilt several times to keep up with needed changes and recover from direct bomb hits in WWII.  This last year it got another update to get it ready for the tourists expected during the City of Culture events.

Paragon Station now includes 38 bus stands and 4 coach stands.  On the other side of the station are six train platforms. And all of it undercover.

Don’t dash out of the station, there is much to see here

Food stands, gift shops, and florists vie for your attention.  Want a break

Replica of Jason the plane flown by Amy Johnson

and maybe a brew?  Visit the Tigers Lair pub. This setting is the original emigrant waiting room used to keep these guests separated from the locals to minimize the risk of disease spreading.

Visit the huge statue of Philip Larkin beloved poet. In the flooring around him are slate plaques commemorating some of his poems.

You’ll also find a dimensional video commemorating William Wilberforce

Philip Larkin and guide Dorothy

who headed the movement to abolish slavery.  And look up – you’ll find a full-size repleca of the Jason, the plane Amy Johnson flew solo to Australia.

On the path…
Hull City Hall preparing for another event

There are lots of must sees. Ferens Art Galery, Hull Minster, the Deep, Queens Gardens, the marina and so much more.  The best thing you can do is stop by one of the numerous Visitor booths and friendly volunteers will be happy to share. They have walking maps based on your interests.

You can follow the Hull Firsts Trail to learn about the people and their accomplishments. Or take the Hull Blitz Trail if you

Hull Minster with shallow pools

want to learn about the people and the city enduring 86 bombing raids in WWII.

Go on a quest for Larkin’s Toads.  Many of the original 40 giant fiberglass based toads created as a commemorative fund raiser are still visible around the city.  You will find them in a wide array of colorful artwork.

Those from Hull are quite proud to be able to make the claim that they

The Deep Aquarium sits at the conflux of the river Humber and its estuary to the North Sea

kept the king out.  You can visit the spot where the famous Beverly Gate once stood. Here they refused the king entry. Thus began the Civil War.

Be sure to take your “brelly” because the weather can switch from sun to showers in a heartbeat. Thanks so much for a lovely tour Dorothy!!!!!

Schedule your trip to see touring art shows, watch an event or take in a concert. Visit the city’s website to explore your options: www.hull2017.co.uk

 

Cave Castle Fairytale wedding venue

Cave Castle for Weddings and more

Cave Castle Hotel & Country Club

 Girls in the East Riding of Yorkshire all know of Cave Castle Hotel.  It is a favorite place to have your fairytale wedding. Large or intimate they can help the bride make her wedding day dreams come true. But they also offer a lot more…

 Set in the midst of 150 acres of meadows and park lands it is absolutely

Cave Castle Pond and Geese

stunning. A beautifully groomed golf course drapes around the manor like a cape. Across the drive, the pond fed by a natural spring used to be the main water source for the villagers. Now, with its resident geese, it is entertainment for the visitors. Children and adults alike enjoy their antics and quest for bread.

Cave Castle Manor
The current building was erected in the 1870s on the foundations of a previous structure. The history is a bit obscure but has tracked to the Domesday book of the 11th century.  The entrance to an underground tunnel that leads to the chapel hints at the lost stories.
 

Today guests enjoy the Victorian manor house built in the Gothic Revival

Cave Castle 4-Poster Bedroom

Style. It is complete with crenelated towers. Despite the “cannons” at the entry, it was never designed as a fortification. Inside it is a luxurious haven for relaxation and comfort.

 
Locals love it for social and business events small and large. They partner extensively with the local community and can meet a broad spectrum of desires.
Our guide Emma & Judi
Our hostess, Emma shared with us the fascinating building and its history. She was a wealth of knowledge on all it offers to guests. The spa, health club, golf course, country club all await both guests and locals. Cave Castle has made great efforts to tie itself into local life both as a social and business venue.
Year around events….
Emma keeps busy creating all the fun events at Cave Castle. Besides the daily activities, you’ll find lots more. Murder mysteries, concerts, and many special wedding events. There are also themed holiday events. For a quirky bit of fun, join them in December for “A Christmas Killing” murder mystery event.
 
Coming from the US, I was intrigued with the history. George Washington’s grandfather used to live at Cave Castle. He was a partial owner before he emigrated to America. A portrait of our first president still hangs in the house.
 

Both the cafe and the restaurant have first-class food. The cafe is more

Cave Castle Restaurant has views across the green park lands.

casual and the restaurant offers fine dining. If you stop by the cafe for a bit of lunch or a coffee, don’t miss their desserts. They are made on-site and are divine. 

 

Local sourced, fresh daily gourmet treats. The restaurant draws visitors for miles. Choose from the A La Carte menu or table d’hote menu which changes daily.

Cave Castle sandwich with 2 salads
Lovely Cappuccinos
 
Cave Castle hospitality attracts not only resident guests but local patrons alike. The golf club, fitness center and spa all provide opportunities for health, wellness and relaxation.

If you are ever in East Yorkshire, be sure to put this on your bucket list. Whether you are looking for a

Yummy dessert

golf retreat, spa retreat, romantic escape, or a fine dinner, this is the place to be.

Magical mysteries of Standing Stones

Mysteries of Standing Stones

Some of my best adventures happened when we got off the main road in search of a local treasure… like standing stones. Standing stones are a record of man’s history and they seem to hold some sort of mysterious magic. I’ve heard it called energy.

Standing Stones

Standing stones are single or groups of stones which are typically upright in position.  But, they are often combined with stones laying horizontally across the top of them.  Think Stonehenge.

Aerial view of Stonehenge standing stones
Stonehenge aerial view

 

Their fascination lies in their age. To someone who has grown up in the Western US, a man-created structure over 100 years of age is extremely rare.  On the east coast, they can trace structures back to the 17th century.

In Europe and the UK, our ancestors have left physical markers that are far older.  Those markers draw visitors by the thousands every year.  To protect popular destinations from damage and vandalism, protectors fence them or limit access.

 Stonehenge

Stonehenge exemplifies a stone circle that is easily accessed and full of history. It’s probably the best known standing stone circle in the world. Started in about 3100BC, history and mystery shroud it.

Stonehenge paths are accessible to all
Paths at Stonehenge are easily accessible to all

Accessed via the A36 and A303 it is about 40 miles east of Bath on your way to London.  Stonehenge receives tens of thousands of visitors. A paved path minimizes human impact on the site.

Two things struck me.  One – it was raining sideways and there is little shelter on the Salisbury Plains.  Be prepared for what mother nature sends you direction.

The second was the extremes.  These magnificent ancient stones erected and placed in a precise manner.  The difficulty of the work had to be incredible.  Then shift your gaze and the A303 freeway is in the background.

The site is handicap accessible and there are visitor facilities available.

I respect the need to preserve, but the restrictions of access felt sad.

The stones are magnificent and impressive, but their majesty feels restricted and distant.

Avebury

Avebury is an even older ring of stones and the largest in the world. It also

offers you a more authentic peaceful experience of the majesty of standing stones.

While you can’t reach Avebury via tour bus… that’s ok.  It means the area gets far fewer visitors and less impact.  Narrow roads and hairpin turns restrict large vehicles.  It’s an entirely different experience.

"Avebury Standing Stone
Massive natural standing stone at Avebury

Avebury’s about 30 miles north of Stonehenge.  It’s a short hop north off the A4 – an old Roman road that used to link London to Bath.

Much of Avebury is within a huge standing stone circle.  Researchers date the stones to 3400BC.  The start of construction had to be 300 years before Stonehenge.  Another difference is the stones.  The stones not smoothed or chiseled like those of its neighbor.  These are natural in shape. The work needed to move them from their quarry two miles away had to be extreme.

Go and Explore

Park your car and go through the gate – mind you don’t let the sheep out. There you are. You and the sheep among the massive stones.

The remaining perimeter standing stones at Avebury seen from aerial view
Avebury seen from aerial view

The outermost circle is 1396 feet in circumference but there is more than one circle here.  Inside this is a second circle which encloses two more circles. They offer guided walks of this Neolithic monument. Or do a self-tour.  There is a great little store in the post office that has lots of useful information on the area available.

The Avebury pub is the only one in the world completely surrounded by a stone circle… It’s  also got a reputation for good food.

No one will rush you here.  Walk the perimeter, enjoy the peace and the energy. Visit with the locals.  Take your time and restore.

 

Do I need Car Rental While Traveling Domestic or Abroad?

 Car rental or no?

Car rental while you are traveling can be liberating. Using public transit is the best route if you are in a major city. Why fight the traffic, pay high parking fees or having to feed a meter? It’s a major reason why the locals avoid driving. See it as the locals do… on foot, bicycle, bus, trams, trolleys, trains.

But if you want to get out into the countryside, or do a road trip, then car rental is a must.

Your credit card may be an asset

You can save yourself some money by doing your homework before you make that car reservation. Start by looking at the benefits provided by your credit card company. Most card companies have a downloadable guide to benefits they provide.

Yes, the benefits guide is tiny print but you need to read it carefully. It may save you money. In order for their coverage to be in effect you must charge the car rental onto the card. You must also decline the collision coverage offered through the rental agency. Your benefits details will tell you exactly what you need to do.

The benefits guide will also tell you what it does not cover. I found they don’t cover your liability and medical benefits. Check with your auto insurance coverage company. If you will be renting in the US or Canada you may automatically have coverage.

International car rental

However, if you are going abroad, the game is different. You need to check what requirements you need to meet to drive in that country. Then using your credit card benefits information to check for coverage on

  • Collision/theft Damage Coverage
  • Loss of use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and not available to use.
  • Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility.

You need to know what is not covered. It may seem like common sense but if you are in any way breaking the law, you forfeit coverage.

Not all US auto insurers will insure outside the country. Mine doesn’t. That means purchasing the liability/medical coverage from the local rental agency.

Not all vehicles are covered. “Exotic, expensive” vehicles are generally listed as excluded. Antique automobiles, some vans and trucks are not covered. Renting an RV? Be sure to check to see if it is covered. If in doubt, be sure to ask your credit card benefits department.

It’s a good idea to go over the rental agreement thoroughly. This can be a challenge if you don’t speak the local language. If the rental company insists you take coverage, call your credit card Benefits Administrator. It’s smart to take a copy of the benefits information with you. It will have the details and the contact numbers domestically and abroad.

Before a signing of the contract, ask to see the car. You want to assure yourself that there is no existing damage to the vehicle. If there is anything amiss, make sure you document it with a photo and have it noted on the agreement.

Take a look in the trunk

Is there a spare tire?

Many new cars have no spare. Some have “hard” tires that when damaged give you 50 miles to get to a repair shop. Others have a little kit that must when a tire goes soft. This seals the leak and prevents further problems. Note: it’s only good for a single use.

Get familiar with what is there, how to use it and what to do if you have to use it. Should you contact them for a replacement kit? If a tire requires replacement, who pays?

It may sound far-fetched but it happened to us on our trip to the UK last summer. Tire acted funny. Then going down the heavily traveled M4, it started deflating. All we could do was get to the side of the freeway before it was flat. No spare tire. The kit didn’t work. We called AA.

When the truck arrived, they drove it onto the truck. When we got to the shop, they drove it off the truck. New tire time. We hadn’t selected “that” section of coverage and I hadn’t checked the credit card benefits. We had to pay for it out of pocket.

Lesson learned. Check everything ahead of time and know what’s in the trunk… or not.

Navigation

It’s best to have a navigator so the driver can focus. There’s the traffic, strange environment and staying on the correct side of the road for where you’re visiting.

If the car doesn’t have a navigation system, consider taking a Garmin or the like with you. Be sure to get the card for the area’s location if it is not included. It’s a worthwhile investment. Mine got my girlfriend and me to all sorts of places. Everything from restrooms to restaurants and home again. In a strange country, it was liberating security.

Pay attention to landmarks and your surroundings. Things will look different after dark.  Street lighting is not common on all rural roads.

Wellness abounds at Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls wellness unmatched

Winding your way up the long drive is like driving into a 3-d postcard.

Cedar Falls Manor has always offered wellness
Cedar Falls Manor offers wellness retreat

The 18th-century red sandstone mansion is the essence of beauty. Situated amidst 44 acres it’s a park with its gardens, woods, and lakes.

 Health farm and spa 

Designed as a health farm and spa, Cedar Falls has been offering wellness retreats since 1982. But the “health” tone has changed. Originally, you had to earn your way to the fabulous meals via diet and exercise.
 

Today’s guests retreat to relax and renew. Most guests are female visiting

Gardens offer a lovely place to walk or relax and unwind in nature
Cedar Falls Gardens

alone or with friends. Every year a high percent of them return for an annual retreat.

 
The atmosphere is that of a manor home, not a hotel. Built in 1830 it has been completely restored to better than original by local craftsmen. The detail of the craftsmanship is a visual delight. Luxury but deliberately unpretentious.

Wellness unmatched 

Cedar Farm doesn’t see themselves as a hotel with a spa. Instead, the focus is the health farm. Wellness abounds. Lots of nature to lure you out for a round of golf. They offer a 9 hole 18 tee golf course. The natural features make it fun and challenging for all levels of golfers. The golf course is complete with its own cabin to cater to the needs of the golfers.
 
A diversity of outdoor opportunities to encourage you to stretch and move:
  • Body conditioning

    The outdoor pool is open all summer for guest exercise
    Outdoor pool for exercise and restoration
  • Pool (summer only)
  • Pilates
  • Country walks alone or organized walk
  • Photography in the gardens or terraces
  • Tennis court
  • Golf
    Yoga and Pilates in the former ballroom
    Yoga and Pilates room

     

Or head to the gym to work out. Need some help? Your personal fitness trainer will guide you into the right moves.
Too cool for outdoors? Relax in the indoor hot tub, pool, and conservatory.
 

The focus is wellness and relaxing restoration.

Forget business. Lounge in your lovely plush robes and slippers. You are welcome to wander throughout the home and to the pool, spa or conservatory. No need to get dressed until you are ready for dinner.

Indoor spa offer wellness year around
Indoor Pools and conservatory
 

The spa is first class with a wide diversity of treatments and facilities. Enjoy its friendly caring approach and superb guest services.

Guests can relax and enjoy a beverage in the spa lounge
Spa lounge and beverage bar
  • Beauty treatments
  • Body treatments
  • Body wraps
  • Facial treatments
  • Hot stone therapy
  • Hairstyling services
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Spray tanning
  • Natural therapy treatment
  • Mother-to-be treatments
  • Men’s specialty treatments
 
Natural therapies are a unique twist. Their goal is to help you feel better about yourself inside. Back problems, headaches, depression are all dealt with. Likewise work-life balance, stress reduction, re-energizing and nourishing your spirit.
 
Guests can come and spend a health spa day, or opt for overnight packages. The Spa Stay package includes your room, meals and their most popular treatments. The Spa Overnight package includes your room and treatments of choice – build it yourself.
 

Groups

For small groups of up to four, they have the option of the South Lodge. It is self-contained and includes full access to all the facilities of the main house.
 
Groups can also reserve the spa for their private use in the evenings. It is a great option for a special event and to experience a sampling of what Cedar Falls Spa offers.
 
The Spa features Clarins and Espa products. Treatments are very popular. Advanced booking is strongly recommended.

 

Oasis of Tranquility is designed for enhancing wellness
Oasis of Tranquility
Take a break and visit the Oasis of Tranquility. This quiet zone is designed in the style of a Turkish Hammams. Enjoy sumptuous decor and lounging beds. Salt lamps, the furnishings, and aroma help you switch off and restore. Beware – this is a technology free zone. No phones or other devices allowed.
 

Dining is a healthy indulgence.

Meals here are healthy choices prepared to gourmet tastes and enhanced by views of nature
The dining room offers soothing nature vistas and healthy food choices

Lunch is a tempting buffet. Traditional afternoon teas, cakes, and pastries will tempt you. Want something more than coffee or tea? The bar is open with offerings for your pleasure.

 
After you change from your robe and slippers you can enjoy an amazing dinner. Enjoy the exquisite food while you relax with stunning garden views from its generous windows.
 
Dinner a three-course foodie’s delight. Savory rich Venison Terrine, Five Spice Sea Bass Fillet, and seasonal specialties. The menu brings you the best of fresh local produce and regional offerings. Be advised… desserts are decadent.
 
After dinner relax on your own or join other guests for an evening talk in the drawing room at nine pm. Guests enjoy a wide diversity of wellness and local topics. After the evening talk, things go quietly. In its rural setting, it’s a serene tranquil spot for a great night’s sleep. Snuggle into that comfy bed and let your stress dissipate and your body renew.

Fishmore Hall SpaShell

 SpaShell at Fishmore Hall

Fishmore Hall has brought the unique SpaShell concept to the historic

Fishmore Hall is located outside market town of Ludlow
A mile from historic Ludlow is the restored manor Fishmore Hall

market town of Ludlow. Tucked just a mile down the road from the edge of town, Fishmore Hall is a lovely Georgian manor.

The property owner, Laura Penman, lovingly rescued this elegant home and restored it. The bedrooms are contemporary, the en-suite baths luscious. The result is warm, welcoming and delightful.

Adding a spa

When I visited the property last

Part of the back gardens were prepared for the spa with minimal disruption to guests
Part of gardens prepared for spa
Fishmore Hall Dining with view of spa gardens

August they were excitedly awaiting their new spa.  The spa is a real bonus as the nearest existing spa is 26 miles away.

As with any hotel, remodeling or construction can be a challenge. It can interfere with the guest experience. Noise, mess, workers. Ms. Penman wanted to add a spa but didn’t want to impact her guests.

She met Alistar Johnson of Spa Creators UK, Ltd. at a trade show.  With over 20 years of designing, developing and managing spas he offered a brand new concept. SPAShell. It solves many problems.

SpaShell project

The project includes five years of total management to assure its success.  With over 20 years experience, the SPAShell business model has proven successful. It allows properties to add a revenue stream with strong ROI. The facility itself increases the asset value of the property.

The turnkey concept comes complete with the spa and five years of total management. What truly makes it unique is the construction.  All off site!  Construction includes top end materials expected in any high-end spa.  But manufacture is done in a modular format.

l
Exterior of SPAshell at Fishmore Hall

The spa location is prepared and groomed simultaneous with construction.  Then they load the spa pods onto lorries (trucks) and deliver. Completion of set-up is usually about two days scheduled for minimal impact to hotel guests.

SpaShell facilities

Both one and two story designs are available. This single story spa has four treatment rooms. Each pair of treatment rooms opens to create a double room for couples services.

Each SpaShell treatment room has an en-suite shower and can be opened to create a couple's duo
SpaShell Treatment room

You will find all the expected amenities. Inside are a steam room, sauna, shower, locker room, reception and the treatment rooms. Outside is an outdoor Cedar wellness pool, lounge area. There is also an oversize hammock for snuggling. For the adventurous, there is a stimulating bucket and monsoon drench.

The SpaShell relaxation room offers guest views of nature and a cozy place to relax
SpaShell Relaxation room with view of cedar spa in background

A wide diversity of massage, facial, manicure and pedicure services.  They feature Elemis products and equipment. Packages also include Afternoon Tea or lunch and beverages from the highly rated restaurant.

The Spa nestles in the gardens next to the manor.  Here spa-goers enjoy lovely views across Shropshire’s rolling hills. There is a strong sense of serenity, relaxation, and privacy to enjoy the amenities. Built of natural materials, the spa blends beautifully into the countryside surrounding it.

SpaShell Cedar Spa gives guests a great evening retreat in a quiet relaxing setting
Cedar spa at night with Shropshire view in background

Since opening in late 2016, the spa has become popular with locals as well as guests. It has exceeded Laura’s hopes. Guests are now choosing to stay at Fishmore Hall to enjoy the spa.  Lunch and tea guests view the spa just outside the windows and are scheduling their own visits.

Spa Creators UK, Ltd. plans on

Drench Shower

offering SPAshell to boutique properties across the UK and Europe. For more information on SpaShell or Spa Creators, visit their website: http://www.spashell.com/.

Experience it yourself

To see and experience the Spa for yourself, visit http://www.fishmorehall.co.uk.   Arrange for a great room, fabulous food, and a delightful relaxing spa experience. Booking directly with Fishmore Hall will assure you the best value for your pounds.

Plan to spend several days… there is a lot to see and do in this beautiful area. Watch for my upcoming blog – what to see and do in Shropshire.

Here is a video on SPAshell with views of the spa at Fishmore Hall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g10FOEaMJoE&feature=youtu.be

The Old Vicarage has hospitality, great food and a fascinating story

The Old Vicarage

The lovely Old Vicarage house has a unique story of a vicar with an untimely end.  But it’s also a wonderful Bed and

The Old Vicarage, West Witton, Leyburn, UK
Front of Old Vicarage, West Witton

Breakfast.  It’s small – only 5 guest rooms, located in the quaint town of West Witton, Leyburn, UK. We met family there and stayed three delightful nights in August 2016.

They made us feel welcomed and comfortable. We had tea in the afternoon while we gathered up and visited in the guest parlor.

The main floor houses their kitchen, parlor and the breakfast room along with a private area. Upstairs you can gaze across the countryside. Some rooms view the gardens others the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

From the front porch, you can see Castle Bolton across the valley.  In the back, the gardens welcome you to sit with a cup of tea or coffee.  Cozy, homey, friendly – just like your hosts.

Morning brings a custom cooked English breakfast

Old Vicarage parking and gardens are at the rear of the house
Old Vicarage parking in rear, the garden near the house is great for a morning cup of coffee

In the morning Kirsteen will be your chef. Husband Roddy your server. Breakfast is a full, or part, custom cooked English breakfast. Relax, visit while they tease you with fabulous aromas floating in from the kitchen.

While you wait, enjoy the cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt… or save room for what is a generous spread.   Want something different? They have other English favorites like smoked salmon or kippers and eggs to go with lots of great coffee or tea.

They don’t serve evening meals. But you’ll find an excellent pub and restaurant less than two blocks down the street.

Need wi-fi? Head to the parlor, I found the signal to be strongest there.  While visiting, ask them to tell you the story of the Vicar who used to own the house and his untimely end.

Whether you want to hike, shop, or just wander the villages, the Old Vicarage is a great place to stay. We look forward to our next visit there.

For the best pricing, be sure to contact the owners directly. www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/

Cowshed Spa… you have to see this

Spa in a Cowshed?

In planning a recent trip to the UK, I came across a spa called  The

Cowshed Spa at the St. Moritz
Cowshed Spa at the St. Moritz

Cowshed Spa.  This I had to see.  Was it in a barn?  I was in for a delightful visit and a few surprises.

Cowshed Spa is actually a chain of spas. The very first spa opened at Babington House, Somerset, UK in 1998… in the old cow shed. Since then they have stayed true to their vision to offer beautiful spas. Cowshed products are organic based and designed to be effective.

In addition to Cowshed spas, they are also located in the Soho group chain in the US, the UK and Europe.

Cowshed Spa, Trebetherick, Cornwall

I visited the Cowshed Spa in the lovely San Moritz hotel in Trebetherick in

Cowshed St. Moritz retail and reception
Cowshed Spa, San Moritz retail and reception

Cornwall, UK. A beautiful, coastal location, it teems with tourists during the summer. When the crowds die down, the locals book again. They have the enviable position of little to no slow season.

Cowshed calls themselves “sociable” and for good reason. Beautiful and elegant, the mood is relaxed, friendly and social.  You’re invited to come with friends, have services, visit and make new friends. They’re famous for detail manicure-pedicure area invites chatting and visiting.

Purposeful with a bit of whimsey

Treatment and product names are whimsical… Udderly Delightful, Udderly

Cowshed St. Moritz Mani-Pedi area.. come, visit, relax
Cowshed Spa, St. Moritz Mani-Pedi area.. come, visit, relax

Gorgeous. But don’t let the names fool you.  Each product meets a purpose.  All have high levels of essential oils for therapeutic results. Botanicals come from their own gardens.

Seven different mood blends focus on client’s needs and the goal of the therapy.  Tired, try Knackered Cow.  Stressed – Grumpy Cow. In a well, playful mood – Horny Cow.  The list goes on.

Dirty Cow, Grubby Cow or Mucky Cow wash skin clean and leave it conditioned.

The treatment menu is impressive.  Face, body, hands feet, waxing and a variety of packages. Men get their own special attention treatments.  The Udderly Gorgeous treatments were the most unique.  Indulgent, relaxing, pampering and designed for clients that are 12 weeks pregnant or more.

They have taken every need of the pregnant client, and their safety, into consideration. Furniture, cushioning, positioning. After the first trimester, Moms-to-be may have services until the big event.

Cowshed St. Moritz, Therapy Room
Cowshed St. Moritz, Therapy Room

Post-delivery treatments are also available to help the new mom de-stress… and get her skin back in condition.

When you are visiting Cornwall, London, Somerset, Oxfordshire, or near a Soho property, relax and have a little fun at the Cowshed.