New England in the Fall; A 2 day road trip through New Hampshire

Day 5

Monday dawned a typical Autumnal day and we were up and dressed fairly early. The car was loaded up (no mean feat seeing as we had a steep flight of stairs to navigate and HUMUNGOUS bags) As the shopkeeper open the country store, we settled our bill and hit the highway, stopping for some lovely Autumnal pictures along the way.

Our destination for today’s activity was the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first Mountain Climbing Railway. We were very lucky – the weather was PERFECT, not a cloud in the sky! We arrived early in case we got caught in traffic, so had a little shop in the gift shop and a picnic lunch whilst we waiting for our 1pm train to descend from the top.

Soon it was our turn to board, as we were lucky to be in the first of 3 carriages so we got a great view.

The Railway track was astoundingly steep in places, and the ascent took around 45 mins. You could get up and wander to the front to look out of the front window and the back window also had amazing views as we got higher.

We had just over an hour on the top of Mount Washington to explore the summit, which was about all we needed- it can reach up to 100mph winds up there, and even though the views were amazing it was flipping cold!

The return journey was in places terrifying, it was so steep! And just the brakesman at the front of each individual carriage operating the brakes. Absolutely marvellous engineering, we just loved our visit. Video highlights here.

It was about 45 mins drive to North Conway, a ski resort within the White Mountains, which would be our next base for 2 nights. We had hired another air b n b, this time we had an entire wooden house to ourselves, complete with hot tub! Happy days.

We were soon in there with a beer, before getting our glad rags on and heading for dinner. By the way, in New Hampshire they don’t measure out spirits – I ended up with a pint, yes a pint! of gin! Whooooah!

Day 6 – My Birthday!

Today was a non driving day as it was my birthday! Sadly the weather god’s hadn’t taken a note of this special day and it absolutely hammered down ALL Day. However, it wasn’t the end of the world as we had booked onto The North Conway Scenic Railwroad for a return journey through the very pretty Crawford Notch. After a pancake breakfast, we crossed the road to the train station ready for out 11am departure.

Our accommodation on the train was up in the dome – a raised area with glass roof which I’m sure in better weather would have been spectacular.

Sadly in the rain, it was a bit dismal and we were all a bit rough (ahem) We had waitress service throughout the journey and despite me thinking there would be no alcohol on board, there was, and so we enjoyed a relaxing train journey and a couple of cocktails. Not a bad way to spend my birthday.

The train turned around at Crawford station, and we headed back to North Conway.

Although we enjoyed the train ride, I don’t think it was anywhere near as spectacular as some of the others we’ve done in the past. If we had to choose one we would definitely recommend the Cog Railway over the Scenic Railway. Video highlights here

Unfortunately I was full of a head cold and therefore didn’t fancy venturing too far out for my birthday meal. However there was nice place a couple of doors down from our accommodation and so we enjoyed a meal and a couple of cocktails there before a relatively early night. Not before trying the most delicious bourbon I’ve tasted. Jim Bean MAPLE bourbon. 🥃 am-aaa-zing

< strong>Highlights of New Hampshire<<<<<<<<
hington Cog Railway

The road through Crawford Notch

Jim BeamMaple Bourbon

New England in the Fall; a 2 day Roadtrip through Vermont

Day 3

Keith and I got an Uber from our Boston city apartment to the airport, leaving Mum and Alec to finish their packing and have a quick clean up of our Air BnB. We weren’t abandoning them, we just felt the process of hiring our Rental car would be quicker and easier as a twosome rather than a four – and it also saved us having to lug all our luggage back to the airport.

We hired our Medium sized SUV from Dollarcar and for 6 days with unlimited mileage it came in at around £200. The pick up process was quick and easy and we were left to our own devices to go and pick the vehicle we wanted.

We chose a lovely white Kia Sorento and half an hour later I was making my American driving debut. Initially it was terrifying given that the airport is slap bang in the middle of the city. And the driving in Boston reminded me of the driving in Delhi! OMG. But I soon got used to it- basically no rules, expect the unexpected, and Keefy was a fab co pilot. Talking of Co Pilots – Colin the Co Pilot (my iPhone Map system) worked a treat – I had downloaded the whole of America offline for £19.99 and it was brilliant.

We picked up Mum and Alec from the apartment along with all the luggage – which JUST fit in the back – wow we sure don’t travel lightly! We drove past Harvard University before picking up the Highway, where it didn’t take too long at all before we started seeing some phenomenal Autumnal colours on the roadside trees.

Around 3 hours later we were rolling into Wilmington, which is where we were picking up the Scenic Highway 100. Just before Wilmington there was the most beautiful scenic lay-by, which turned out to be one of my favourite views in Vermont.

We stopped for lunch at the Village Roost in Wilmington, before heading North on the Scenic Highway 100, which offered fabulous views as the road wound up and around various ski resorts. The villages were fairly small and remote really, and the houses just so charming – all wooden with picture perfect porches. You could just imagine kicking off your shoes, jumping in one of the comfy chairs and watching the world go by.

Not too far into our journey on the Scenic Highway, we stopped off at the Vermont Country Store in Weston. This is one of the oldest Country Stores in America and dates from the 1940s. It is huge – and here is a tip – don’t go in hungry (or do if you fancy a free lunch- so many samples available!) Wow, what a place – thank goodness we were flying in and out of America and therefore had to consider weight limits, otherwise my credit card would have had a right battering! It was filled with local meats, cheeses, chutneys, jams, maple based products, local alcoholic beverages, clothes, games, old fashioned sweets, kitchenware – oh the list goes on. We brought some maple syrup and some hot Apple Cider (none alcoholic) and made our escape. Certainly worth a visit though – what a lovely shop!

We carried on to our next Air BnB, which was near to Woodstock, with plenty of picture stops on route.

The apartment was a charming loft conversion above a country store. Another chance to buy tons of local produce!

The owner met us and was very friendly – she said they operated an honesty system, basically leaving the shop open for us overnight and if we fancied midnight munchies we could just go down and help ourselves – make a note of what we had and settle up when we leave. She would also prepare us a breakfast basket each morning and leave it at the bottom of our stairs! How cute!

Once we had got over the fact that we all had to share a room (ahem) we got our glad rags on and went for a meal. Unfortunately the downside was that there was nowhere within walking distance, however I didn’t mind driving.

Day 4

Sunday dawned cooler than what we’d been used to on the previous days but it was still clear. We were up relatively early and on the roady 9am. Today’s destination was the Northern part of Vermont. We had fun driving over the historical covered bridge opposite our accommodation – these are a common sight in Vermont and are really pretty.

We carried on just down the road to Quechee Gorge, which is billed as New England’s answer to the Grand Canyon. It’s a steep gorge with a tree lined river running at the bottom and you get a good view from both the bridge at the top and on the river level at the bottom, after a mile or so hike.

Back to the car and our next location was somewhere which I was very excited about – The Ben and Jerry’s Factory!

It was definitely an indulgence for me this stop, I adore Ben and Jerry’s! As you got out of the car, the air carried the smell of ice cream. Yum. We signed up for the next tour, which was 30 mins long and although nothing too special, it was really cool to be there and you got to see briefly where the magic happens!

Next stop was Stowe, home to the Von Trapp Family Lodge – the place which they escaped to from Austria. It’s in a really pretty area and is a ski resort from end of November. The scenery was gorgeous, although the town was more spread out than we imagined which made it hard to explore on foot.

We had a fabulous meal at Piecasso, which specialise in pizza – of course Keith HAD to have the large (just for himself!) ! Oink! It made a good picture though lol and tasted gorgeous.

Alec was nominated to try the local beer “Heady Toppy” – I’d read about it, apparently its voted the best beer in the world. Well, at 8% it must be one of the strongest! Keith really enjoyed the Von Trapp beer. Mum had a Stowe Cider which she loved. I had wait for it……. a tap water as I was in charge of Kelly the Kia.

We started heading back towards our digs along the Scenic Route 100, but this time North to South. We managed a stop at a local distillery to pick up some Bourbon with Maple and some small batch gin. Both of which are gorgeous! We also stopped at the Cider Mill where we had some fresh apple juice, hot cider and I tried the cider donuts, which were good.

We opted for a chill that night as we had been non stop since arriving. It was nice to catch our breaths for an evening – the boys fell asleep by 9 and Mum and I caught up on Strictly.

Vermont Highlights

  • Wilmington
  • Quechee Gorge
  • Ben and Jerrys Factory
  • Vermont Country Store
  • Stowe- esp Piecassimo Pizza and Von Trapp Beer/Stowe Cider

48 hours in Boston, MA

Day 1

We had arrived late (well 8pm – but 1am English time) so after arriving at our Air B n’ B around 9pm we hit the sacks, and therefore woke up very early on Day 1.

Not wanting to waste a second, we showered and were out by 7am having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, which was near enough next door to our 2 bed flat.

Our Air BnB was located on the outskirts of Charlestown, about 10 mins cab from the airport and about 10 mins taxi to the centre of Downtown Boston. We like the idea of AirBnB as because we are used to motor homing, we really just needed a base, with a shower, bed and coffee making facilities.

Day 1 started with us exploring the Freedom Trail – which is a 2.5 marked trail through the centre of Boston taking in the most famous and historical sites the city has to offer. Before we booked Boston, I had no idea about what a historical city it was.

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Our plan was to take in half of the freedom trail on day one and half on day two. We began at the Visitor centre on Boston Common so took a Tube from our accommodation to Park Street Station.

We walked through the common admiring the golden leaves and soon found ourselves at the State House.

We followed it though the city centre stopping at the old Burial Ground and the Old State House which is where the Declaration of Independence was read (pictures above).

We popped into Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market – two of the oldest markets in Boston – Faneuil Hall was great to shop for souvenirs and Quincy was a food lovers heaver. Crammed full of food stalls from every cuisine you can imagine, but a recurring theme was seafood of course due to our seaside lication, and lobster and clam chowder featured heavily – as it’s a popular dish here in New England.

Mouth’s set to drooling we popped to the waterside grabbing a beer each at Boston Harbor Cruises ‘The Landing’ – harbor-side bar, before making our way to Quincy Market to pick up a picnic lunch.

I opted for the Lobster Ravioli and boy was it good – Keith went for a Lobster roll, Mum a mac n cheese pie and Alec, a Hot Dog.

After lunch we went back on ourselves back through Boston Common and up Beacon Hill – we stopped for a quick beer in the famous Cheers Bar – slightly disappointing inside, but a must anyway, before exploring the trendy and insanely pretty Beacon Hill district.

All the houses around here had gorgeous fall decorations on their doorsteps and Acorn Street was worth a stop for a picture with its charming cobbled hill.

We went for another wander around Boston Common before requesting an Uber to take us back to our apartment for a freshen up and change for dinner. That was a mistake – traffic in Boston is horrible most of the time. Avoid taxis during peak hours – we called ours at 4pm and it took us over an hour to get 3.5 miles. If we hadn’t have been so tired we could have walked – but the T rail is very good and cheap so if I were there again that’s what I’d do.

Day 1 was our lobster meal night. After many recommendations from Twitter etc, we had pre booked a table at Legal Seafoods in Seaport region. Alec had never had Lobster and it was his dream to eat it in Boston, one of the reasons behind our trip. We had a cocktail on the roof terrace before we made our way to our table by the window – Keith and Alec had the full lobster experience, whilst Mum and I had other lobster alternatives. The meal was fantastic, as was the service and I would wholly recommend this place to try Lobster, our server held Keith and Alec’s had throughout the “cracking the lobster” procedure and actually the meal was very good value -each lobster was under £30 each!

Day 2

Darned Jet lag – we were awake early again, so got up and dressed and went for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts once more. Today was part 2 of the Freedom trail, along with a look around the Naval yard, USS Constitution, the Italian North End and we even squeezed in a boat trip too!

We took our T line train to Haymarket station where we picked up the Freedom trail and followed it all the way around the very charming North End – the “Little Italy” section of town. It’s a lovely place to browse around, perusing menus for later on, taking pictures of the many buildings decorated in lead, and smelling the wonderful aromas of coffee and other Italian delights. The buildings are charming and it was lovely looking around.

Before too long though it was time to head back to Long Wharf for our 10.30am Historical Harbour Cruise. What we didn’t realise when we booked it, was that today was the day the USS Constitution was making it’s first sailing in over 2 years because of restoration works that have taken place. Also – when it’s not being restored, it only sails once a year – so we were beyond thrilled to learn that not only was it sailing but it had just left it’s shipyard and was about to sail RIGHT PAST US! Wow! It truly was the most wonderful sight.

The Harbour Cruise worked as a hop on, hop off, which was perfect as we got to hop off at the Navy Yard, where the USS Constitution usually is based – despite it not being there we could still look around the USS Cassin Young, and also pick up the ending of the Freedom Trail, which led us through the absolutely stunning area of Charlestown and up to Bunker Hill Monument.

We climbed the 492 steps up Bunker Hill Monument and we rewarded with views of the USS Constitution making it’s way back to the yard.

We opted to go for a sandwich lunch at one of the oldest taverns in Boston, which handily was right by the Bunker Hill monument, The Warren Tavern. It served delicious food – mum and I loved our clam chowder, whilst the boys had humungous burgers. The local Downeast Pumpkin cider was one of the best ciders I’ve tasted.

After lunch we walked back to the Navy Yard where we were in time to see the USS Constitution back in dock – what a majestic ship she is. Our Harbour Cruise picked us up at 2pm and we made our way back to Long Wharf.

From here we walked the mile down to the Boston Tea Party Museum and got booked onto the next tour. Whilst this wasn’t my cup of tea (scuse the pun!) – Keith loved it. It was a proper all out American presentation of the history of the Tea Party Massaceur and was very interactive – i.e. the actors all gave us a role to play. There were a couple of moments inside the museum which were pretty impressive (technology based and I won’t spoil it) and also you got to see one of the original tea crates which was  pretty cool.

We made our way back to the apartment for a quick change before heading back into downtown for a couple of local beers in two more historical taverns – The Green Dragon and The Bell in Hand, before wandering into the North End for a delicious Italian meal at  Quattro.

Itinerary Details

Day 1

AM: Freedom Trail  from Visitor Centre Boston Common to Visitor Centre Fencuil Hall.

Lunch: Beer at The Landing (Boston Harbor Cruises) and Lunch at Quincy Market

PM: Beacon Hill District especially taking in Cheers Bar, Acorn Street and Chestnut Street.

Evening: Pre dinner cocktail on the roof terrace then seafood dinner at Legal Harbourside (Floor 1) 

Day 2

AM: 9.00am  Pick up Freedom Trail at Haymarket Station then do the North End Section up to Copps Hill Burying Ground.

10:30 Pre booked Harbour Cruise   $22.99 pp (Hop on Hop Off)

11:00 Disembark Harbour Cruise at Navy Yard, look around then continue up to Bunker Hill on the rear end of the Freedom Trail.

Lunch: Warren Taven – one of the oldest tavern’s in Boston

2pm: Take the Harbor Cruise back to Long Wharf and walk to the Boston Tea Party museum 

Evening: Couple of beers at Green Dragon Tavern and The Bell In Hand – both historical taverns then an Italian meal in the North End – we went to Quattro and it was delicious.

ACCOMODATION

Air B n B – 2 Bed apartment by Sullivan Square transport hub. Total for 3 nights for 4 people – £ 411

Next Up: (Coming Soon)

2 Day Roadtrip in Vermont

2 Day Roadtrip in New Hampshire

24 Hours in Salem, MA

24 Hours at Niagra Falls

New England in the Fall – a 10 day road -trip taking in New England’s Autumn Foliage

Last week was half term and Keith and I (along with my mum and stepdad) packed our bags and hopped across the Pond to the USA – taking advantage of a rather great Virgin Atlantic “January Sale”. Keith and I took a couple of days out of school (something which we rarely do, but are lucky enough to be able to if we wish, due to our self employed status) No trip to New England would be complete without seeing the stunning Autumn colours – so travelling a couple of days early enhanced our chances of seeing the peak foliage.

After months of planning – I was ready to take charge – I’d adopted the position of  Tour Manager and Chauffer and after a rather good and exceptionally good value National Express coach journey from Thetford to London we were all checked in, and ready for our evening flight to Boston MA.

You can read all about our adventures Stateside using the links below.

48 Hours in Boston

A Two day roadtrip through Vermont

A two day road trip through New Hampshire

Two Days in Marblehead and Salem, MA

24 Hours in Niagara Falls, Canada side 🇨🇦

5 Top Reasons to visit Norwich on your next camping adventure

Since our lovely summer break in Wales, in Ruby the campervan, sadly we’ve been snowed under with the start of term and therefore haven’t managed any cheeky nights away. Boo. We  I had hoped to get away for a night this weekend, but Keefy just wasn’t into it and actually as it happens it was for the best as I became the latest hit for the “back to school” lurgy, and therefore spent all of Friday afternoon and Saturday in bed!

We spent last Friday up in Norwich having little wander – something that we don’t always get the time to do, despite only being 30 mins away. Usually we rush in, dart around trying to get to the bottom of the endless to do list, and make our escape just before rush hour. I’m sure you’re the same with your local town/city. But for some reason *cough* the launch of the new apple watch *cough* our to do list was pretty much non existent, so once the research in the Apple store was completed we wandered around like a couple of tourists for once.

We ADORE Norwich. Neither of us are native Naaaarfok folk; we moved here 7 years ago and literally wouldn’t live anywhere else now. Here’s 5 reasons why you should consider pointing your camper-van/motorhome or caravan wheels EAST for your next camping adventure.

red-polka-dot-candle-thepartyworks-JxUGNF-clipartWe have great shops!

If you like a little retail therapy from time to time, I can’t think of a better place to come to. We have some great small independent shops, down some pretty little lanes that lead off the large and very active Market. We also have two large shopping centres, and of course, a Primarni. My favourite (just in case anyone reading needs inspiration for my upcoming birthday -lol ) is Lisa Angel, a beautiful quirky gifts, jewellery and accessory shop.

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We have some AMAZING places to eat!

For those who regularly read our blog – you know, we just LOVE our food. We have had the discussion so many times, that we just cannot afford to live in a city again – there are far too many delicious temptations around – we’d bankrupt ourselves on eating out! Our favourite place to eat when we are in the city is the LEGENDARY Grosvenor Fish Bar. Think of the very best fish and chips you’ve had at the seaside, then imagine the coolest bar you’ve been to – with a restaurant in a hidden bunker. Cheap and cheerful yet somewhere you can’t help but share on Instagram the second you walk in!

number-3-clip-art-clipart-best-gim2Fr-clipartPicturesque and charming cobbled streets

Take a walk down the BEAUTIFULElm Hill and be transported back in time. Cobbled streets, really old buildings dating from the Tudor period, quirky shops, antiques stores, book shops, tea rooms – it has it all. When you get to the bottom, turn left and walk a short distance to LOOSES EMPORIUM – where you can easily loose an entire day! It is the most fantastic flea market style, antiques shop that is just like a tardis inside.

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Bring your bikes and cycle the traffic free MARRIOTT’S WAY

How many city centres have a 26 mile traffic free cycle route and footpath that leaves from the middle of the city into the heart of the glorious Norfolk countryside? We do!

medium-Number-Fiver-5-166.6-4113Take a lovely walk along the River Yare – Norwich’s gateway to the Norfolk Broads.

Escape the hustle and the bustle of the city with a lovely relaxing walk along the river path. You get beautiful views of the Cathedral, and the Castle (yes, we have both) and would you Adam and Eve it, there just so happens to be the perfect pit stop just off the River Path in the form of the oldest Pub in Norwich

Accommodation options in Norwich for campers

Norwich Camping and Caravan Club site, Martineau Ln, Norwich NR1 2HX. Cycle or bus ride into the city easily

Red Lion Norwich – a city centre pub on the river, with a large car park where they allow campervan and motorhomes to park. £10 overnight or free if you use the pub

Parking options for those not staying in the city

We have lots of park and ride facilities which take away the stress out of getting into the city with a larger vehicle. Sadly they haven’t yet taken a leaf out of Canterbury Park and Ride – so you can’t overnight park.

If you are in a T5 like us – you can make your way into the city and use any of the city centre underground car parks – we use Chapelfields because it’s good value and close to all the shops so we can keep dropping off our bags!

If you decide to take a trip East, do let us know – we’ve love to show you around our home city!

Until next time

Lx

Go West for Summer – Part 6

Wednesday

Wednesday dawned a beautiful morning and we were up and away before 10 heading up the coast to New Quay for our dolphin trip.

New Quay is such a pretty little Harbour town- there is a large reasonably priced car park at the top and you can walk down the fairly steep but very pretty Main Street towards the sea.

There were several “tat” shops for us to poke our head in and we eyes up a couple of dolphin souvenirs to buy later – if we saw the dolphins!

We had a walk along the Harbour and popped into the ticket booth for SeaMor Dolphin Spotting Trips to pick up our ore booked and paid for tickets. They are very dog friendly and have Jazz a treat along with lots of fuss! Pre booking is absolutely essential as despite there being departures every 1.5hrs- it was booked up for the day.

It was soon time to board our little boat- SeaMor only take 12 passengers and we were greeted by the very friendly owner Brett who made sure all was well before boarding. SeaMor have a marine biologist leading the boat trip so information was really interesting and knowledgable. It also wasn’t pre recorded so it felt very personal.

First stop was the lobster pots- where there was a huge lobster waiting! They showed us the lobster up close and told us some interesting facts. Keefy even was allowed to hold it – not for me though they terrify me!

We carried on our if the Harbour and it wasn’t long at all before we got our first sightings of dolphins. How exciting to see them in the wild!

They weren’t the easiest to photograph- in fact the excitement of watching where they would pop up next was similar to being on our Indian Tiger safari earlier this year! What I absolutely loved was the excitement from the guides – they were so passionate about the whole trip- and it wasn’t just the dolphins we saw, we saw seabirds diving for fish. We also got to the listen to the dolphins in the water as they put sonar equipment into the water and we could hear them clicking.

Jazz was great on the boat (its so nice we could take him) he got loads of fuss and attention and was as good as gold!

After an hour and a half it was time to turn back. We’d seen loads of dolphins and some were very close to the boat. We thought the tour was fantastic value for money at £16 pp.

Once back on land we had a fish and chip lunch – despite having a packed lunch we couldn’t resist the smell! So sat on the Harbour wall and enjoyed a small cod and chips each.

We brought some dolphin souvenirs (such tourists!) and headed back to Ruby.

We headed to Llangranog Beach as there was overnight parking in the beach car park. Only thing is the beach car park isn’t huge and to get their you go down a tiny road (so don’t even attempt it with anything too big) – we got down ok but Llangranog was PACKED! Somehow after only 5 mins of waiting as inconspicuously as possible we got parked. It’s £9 to park from 4pm-10:30am which is very reasonable.

The beach area is lovely – a proper cove with caves etc. Surfing seemed to be a popular activity. It’s dog friendly on half of it and we enjoyed a couple of hours on our sun loungers watching the sun go down.

We were surprised at how many people were still on the beach at 7pm- the car park was showing no signs of emptying out! So we had a cider in the local before starting to cook as it was so busy still! I’m really glad we did as as we came out of the pub here was the most beautiful sunset.

I grabbed us a couple of gin and tonics and we enjoyed a very special sun set with about 50 others- that was obviously why the beach was still so busy.

A Hymer had joined us (gawd knows how they got down there!) so we Cooke da simply supper of salmon and tagliatelle before enjoying a scotch on the beach and having an early night. What a lovely day

Thursday

We slept like logs (something to do with the booze I reckon) and I narrowly had avoided a hangover. We needed to get some air in the front tyre so had a fairly early start so we could find a garage. Today I was excited as we were going to a campsite I’d booked ages ago- we had a got a private hot tub to enjoy!

Tyre sorted, we made our way to a National Trust property down the road. Llanerchaeron is a Georgian Villa and had some lovely grounds to wander. The villa itself was interesting to see and it had the most fabulous walled garden. Certainly worth a trip if you’re passing. y

It was time to move onto our campsite – down the road, Bergeod Farm Camping and Caravan Park- a brand newly opened campsite with lakeside view and private hot tub. I was just in the mood to spend the afternoon chilling in and out of the hot tub. The sun was shining it was lovely.

Apart from- it wasn’t, it was truly awful! We had a suspicion on arrival. We were led through a building site. However- The welcome couldn’t have been warmer- Chris, the owner came out and enveloped me into a huge hug! Never had a welcome like that before but she was friendly and it was nice.

We were shown to our £40pn executive pitch. We were underwhelmed but neither of us dared to admit it. Keith especially as he knew how much I’d been looking forward to it. The road to the campsite was very bumpy and pot holes all over- fine but not what we were expecting for a new campsite. The pitch was very uneven – to the point we needed chocks. Fine- but not as advertised. The hot tub wasn’t working. Not fine- I was not happy at all and was told it would only be refunded if we couldn’t get in by 11pm. It was 1:30pm and check in was from midday. Disappointed!

The water supply was held together with something like Gaffa. Surprising considering it’s a brand new site.

The electrics hadn’t been professionally fitted – wires showing at the base.

There was a poo stained towel left on our pitch- I took it down to reception and didn’t get any form of apology at all.

The hot tub shed was held up by loose planks of wood.

There was a hose running down through our pitch!

The view wasn’t anything like the pics on their Facebook page. It was grotty and man made and hadn’t been landscaped with piles of earth everywhere and loose shingle with breeze blocks dotted around the “paths” and road.

The facilities were in porta cabins and not a brand new toilet block as I’d read online the night before (this has since been updated on their website)

The chemical loo point was disgusting – more similar to something you’d expect on a £10 pn site- NOT £40.

There were NO washing up facilities at all on site. Nothing – not even an outside sink with cold water. Not acceptable on a £40 a night site.

This tipped me over the edge- I’d had enough so I told Keith to pack up whilst I went to explain we weren’t staying. I managed to get a refund but they would not listen to my feedback and were not interested at all. Since leaving we’ve noticed on their Facebook page the owner calling anyone who leaves negative feedback “haters” and “evil” and has had discussions about blocking and removing negative feedback. Professional eh?

From their advertising we were expecting a brand new sparkly campsite. In reality it’s not finished- there is no reason why they shouldn’t be open – however they cannot and should not be charging full premium prices for camping there during this time. Pitches without hot tubs are £25pn. That’s more than any other site we have stayed during this holiday alone- and every single one had a washing up area.

I was fuming- it’s taken me 2 days to calm down!

Sadly our decision to leave was followed by our decision to drive home 2 days early. We had a problem with our leisure battery so needed hook up really but I was in such a bad mood I knew I’d be grumpy whatever we did so may as well just drove home.

In actual fact they did us a favour as we had a great journey home and missed the terrible traffic problems that Aug bank hol provides!

On the way we pulled off the M4 to stop off at Caerwent Roman City remains. It would have been the main roman settlement for the west of England. The Roman Walls remains were the biggest we had seen.

We carried on and we’re home for 11pm. What a shame to have finished our holiday like this. Despite our last night- it was a great tour and we really enjoyed Pembrokeshire. We’d eaten some lovey Welsh cheese and ice creams – and drank some delicious Welsh Ale and cider.

We did the whole trip on 2 Tanks of fuel which is astounding!

Until next time

Lx

Go West for Summer – Part 5

Monday
After a wet and wild night outside, we’d thankfully slept well and it was time to pack up Ruby the campervan and carry on along the coast towards Cardigan Bay. We’d booked onto a Coastal site at Nant- y- Croi but we were both feeling pretty fed up from our St Davids washout and having had no internet, radio or TV since Friday we had no idea what the weather was going to do. We were both agreed if the weather looked bad we were heading home!

We had a quick getaway literally throwing everything in Ruby, before
driving to find a lay by with 3/4G! The idea of going away with no phone signal/internet sounds appealing to most I know – but in reality on a trip in a campervan/motorhome it’s really not ideal- we’ve come to rely on the web- always keeping an eye on the weather, banking, local attractions etc- it helps us make the most of our holiday. Plus it’s nice to see the news. We missed the news about Bruce Forsyth dying, our home county seaside resort being on lockdown and also I needed to pre book a boat trip for later in the week! Plus the blog was weeks behind!

Anyway it wasn’t long til we found signal and we were able to assess what to do. Weather looked promising so we made the decision to carry on, so we stopped at the Aldi at Cardigan and stocked up, I booked us onto a bit trip for Wednesday before making our way to the campsite. As soon as we pulled in, he sea view took our breath away- it’s by far the best view we’ve had on this trip. The campsite is on a working farm but the camping field Is HUGE and overlooks the sea. Sun was shining- We were so relieved. Then we realised there was free wifi WHICH WORKED, so despite being no phone signal we can reconnect to the world again!

We spent the afternoon catching up on emails and looking out for dolphins. I nearly cried when I actually saw some! 😊 Keith reminded me to get my telescope out to help me dolphin watch 🐬 and we had a marvellous afternoon chilling in the sun. Dinner was cooked and eaten al Fresco- a yummy simply cook Thai red prawn curry.

What a difference twenty four hours makes.

Tuesday
Tuesday arrived and the sun was still shining! Happy faces in the O’Gorman camp let me tell you!

Today we are having a big chill. We set up the telescope and commenced operation relax – breakfast butties were served at 11:00, and at 1pm we went for a little wander to see the local beach (National Trust Mwnt, very pretty but not dog friendly between May- Sept) so we headed back to camp and carried on chilling whilst publishing all the missed blog posts.

Around 5pm we wandered down through the campsite’s permissive path to the coastal path and I took donny drone for a play.
I really wanted to send him backwards out to sea a bit but got scared so kept him over land.

After that we got the Cadac gas stove out and cooked a steak fajita feast for tea. Yum. The views from this site are just breathtaking- I think we are really going to miss them!

The only thing I would say is that whilst the farmer obviously is very eager for everyone to be happy here which is very nice to see, and of course we appreciate, he’s coming round to speak to everyone on his quad bike several times a day! Lol. I love a natter but think he’s perhaps taking his desire to please his guests perhaps one step too far! But maybe that’s just us being anti social!


Tomorrow we bid a sad farewell to our Cardigan Bay seaview and are heading up the coast a bit. We are also going on a dolphin watching boat trip! Woo.
🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬
Until next time
Lx

Go West for Summer – Part 4

Saturday
Saturday dawned with sunny spells so we wasted no time and made a packed lunch before setting off from the campsite with our best foot forward. The Camping and Caravan Club site was ideally located to visit the Blue Lagoon – only a mile walk to the beach at Abereiddy, behind which was a large man made lagoon – originally a quarry which was blasted out to make a deep sea pool. I'd seen it on Pinterest and was desperate for a dip in- not like most people who were diving in, far too much of a wuss for that- but I did manage my dip. If coasteering is your thing then this is the place to try it. Not for me though..!


Once I'd dried out we carried on up the coast path towards Porthgain. We really enjoyed the walk- there was lovely scenery and lots of disued quarry buildings to look at en route. We did a spot of geocaching and found a great beach only accessible by foot (and 100 steps!) so we let Jazz off for a run around- his second this trip lucky thing!
Porthgain was a pretty little village with a nice little Harbour and a couple of pubs and a shop selling Pembrokeshire Promise ice cream- our absolute favourite so we treated ourselves to our third of the trip before making our way back to the campsite. In total we'd walked 6 miles!

We'd been lucky with the weather it had stayed dry but was windy as anything! Overnight we had the tail end of hurricane gert and had winds of over 40 mph again! Id was disappointed I couldn't use drone despite carrying it on my back the whole walk! Lol

We enjoyed the sun from our pitch but it was too blustery to cook outside so we moved in side for Lyd's Seafood restaurant – tonight I was cooking a brew course seafood meal. Mussels to start, tuna steak and local samphire for main and salted caramel cheesecake for our. It was yummy! I've never tried samphire and I adored it!!

We had an evening reading and listening to music- there is no phone signal at all- wierd as 0.5 miles around the circumference of the site there is 4g and full signal. Makes you wonder if they block the phone signal to encourage you to buy their overpriced internet – which we desired but resisted. £10 for 3GB no thanks. The warden as much as said it's rubbish!

Sunday
The warden told us the weather was going to be dry until 2pm so we opted for a quick breakfast and were on our bikes for 10am. We were cycling the 5 miles to St Davids as the bus timetable was surprisingly rubbish – considering we were in a tourist area at peak time that is and compared to the route between Pembroke and Tenby. The warden told us it was flat. Erm. Well let's just say we don't think he's ever cycled it…

St Davids was sadly a huge disappointment. Our relationship didn't start well in that there was absolute nowhere to park our bikes. At the Tourist info there was only room for two bikes- and yes, they were taken already. We ended up having to chain up to a light post something that we were not at all happy to do so therefore our trip was cut short – annoying as I was suppose to be getting lunch brought for me! ☹️ instead Keith ran into the butchers and picked a pasty up each and we carried on to the beach area at white sands.

We stopped briefly at the cathedral but weren't allowed in despite it not being advertised as closed (no signs up or anything) Keith got aggressively shouted at by a church warden for opening the door during a service – sorry how's he and the ten others supposed to know this – all that was outside was a sign saying please be as quiet as possible. The man was aggressively rude and so unfortunately they didn't get their donation from us and we were unable to light a candle for our loved ones we've lost, as we like to do at every new cathedral we visit.

We did however have a very enjoyable walk around St Davids head despite the weather having now turned for the worse- we got soaked, the rain was coming sideways and the wind howling!

We then had a lovely 6 mile bike ride "on flat as a pancake roads" whilst being soaked to our skin! You can perhaps imagine both our moods on return to Ruby!
Luckily the campsite had brilliant showers- I was in before Keith had even finished putting the bikes back on the bike rack!

Dinner was a slow cooked turkey casserole with rice which did a good job warming and cheering us up.

Sorry St Davids- I know lots of people who visit regularly and love the place – but for us, based on this visit, I'm afraid we felt it was highly underwhelming here -there was a lack of character, the locals weren't at all friendly, a lack of bike facilities- and although St Davids Head was nice enough we didn't think it was anything special.

Go West for Summer – Part 3

Thursday

It was another wet and wild night last night- we even had some thunder and lightening! Again we had winds ofup to 40mph- needless to say Jazz was on our bed again! Ruby is coping so well with the wild weather – we are toasty inside despite having no heating. The bikes are ok on the back still and it’s doesn’t feel as wobbly as when we were in Bluebell the motorhome – I suppose we are lower.

Despite the weather overnight today dawned a beautiful morning. We went to the farmhouse for some fresh eggs – and they couldn’t have been fresher, the farmer had just picked them out of the nest- they were still warm. They made the wonderful egg and bacon rolls – I’ve never seen such a large yolk.

We walked down to the bus stop at the end of the field and caught the number 349 to Tenby. It was a 20 minute journey and cost £5.50 pp return. Not bad value at all- especially when you can use your ticket for unlimited travel throughout the day.


We walked through the town down to the Harbour and stopped at The National Trust 15th Century Tudor Merchants House. Worth a visit if you’re a member but if not again we thought the £5.75 entry charge a little steep as there wasn’t much to see at all.

Tenby Harbour is absolutely STUNNING. There are loads of cute pastel coloured houses that line the street and the Harbour is full of boats. The beach beyond the Harbour has lovely sand and the bag is full of banana boat rides and pleasure trips. There are tiny little lanes leading away from the Harbour- it was just gorgeous. It knocks socks off places like Southwold. We saw a sign for lifeboat rides and decided this sounded fun – even better than dogs were allowed obviously! So we booked on for 1:45- a bargain at £5 for 20 mins we thought. We spent the time before the ride mooching and shopping- all the shops were dog friendly – there was such a lovely atmosphere here.
1:30 arrived and so we made our way down to the Harbour to board our Lifeboat.



The ride was so much fun and it was really interest riding on an actual lifeboat (now out of service).
All that see air and we worked up quite a thirst! So we found a pub with a sign claiming to have the “most sunniest beer garden in Tenby” – I found a seat whilst Keefy got the beers in- a Tenby beer for him aptly named after a Tenby lifeboat and brewed in the brewery on site, and a Welsh dragon cider for me.

We then went for a delicious fish and chip lunch before another pint at the Lifeboat, which had a really cool bar made out of an old Lifeboat (see pic above), although it didn’t serve any local beers. Before we caught the bus home we stopped at the fishmongers for some locally caught cod and samphire before looking around once more soaking in the atmosphere – it’s a fabulous place to visit and a real highlight of our trip so far. Also EVERY where was dog friendly even the shops! The rest of Thursday night we just chilled and enjoyed a cheese board for supper whilst watching Cracker.

riday
Friday arrived and it was time to pick up the van and move onwards. We had enjoyed our stay at Middle Hill Farm and would recommend it to anyone visiting this area- especially to those who don’t want to drive to explore as the bus route was really good from very close to the site.

After leaving the site we made a stop at Pembroke to see the castle. Pembroke Castle was birthplace to Henry VII and although we didn’t go in we enjoyed a terrific walk around the outskirts which gave great views of the impressive outside .


We drove on to nearby Nayland and followed signs for the Marina. The reason for our visit was Brunel, who lived here for a time and extended his GWR to have a terminus here- aiming to build an ocean terminal for onward travel to New York. Nowadays you can cycle some of this GWR line as part of the Brunel Line which we did and was fab. We did only 5 miles each way but the full line is 9 each way. On the way to Johnson it felt hard- on the way back we realised why- we barely peddled! Brunel was such a genious, building these tracks at an exact angle to not feel steep so the steam trains could manage the incline.

After our cycle we heading onwards to our next stop for 3 nights, the St Davids Camping and Caravanning Club Site.
On arrival it hammered down so we had a quick set up before an early dinner of Pembrokeshire Chowder with the fish we got from Tenby yesterday. Oh wow- don’t like to blow my own trumpet but it was delicious. Recipe here!
(Looks gross- was delicious!)

The rain cleared up after dinner and so we enjoyed a dram outside watching the sun set over the sea from our pitch. Lovely

Go West for Summer – Part 2

Monday
We were up and away from Knights Folly Campsite by mid morning. We were sad to be leaving the site as it was lovely- however it's always exciting to be moving on elsewhere to see new places.

Our journey took us down the M4 and over the Severn Bridge, at which point we entered Wales and all the road signs were larger with both Welsh and English written on!

We were heading to Burry Port, but stopped at Llanelli for an Aldi shop. In Ruby we've been only shopping 4 days at a time but Keefy talked me into trying a 7 day shop this time. I was worried about fitting it all in, but I had to eat my hat-everything found a home – the cupboards are filled to busting, the fridge stocked to capacity, the cool box full of alcohol and sparkling water BUT we did it- 7 days shopping in Ruby and we can still fit ourselves in! She really is a tardis!
We arrived at Burry Port Harbour, listed in the Britstop book but also many places elsewhere online & paid the Harbour master £8 for our overnight stay. We were encouraged to park side on against the sea- so our sliding door came into its own!


There were a couple of other vans with us- and we managed to have a little wander around the pretty harbour before the rain set in for the afternoon and evening. And wow did it set in- it absolutely LASHED down! So we settled in and watched some Cracker- before I made us a delicious Simply Cook Beef Rendang. Just as I'd finished washing up- the sky's cleared so we were able to have another wander, this time in the Fading light, before sitting and enjoying a dram before bed with the door open listening to the waves crashing below.

Tuesday

The forecast for Tuesday was great, and it did not disappoint. It's always exciting opening the curtains to a new location, when the day before the visibility was next to nothing. The beach here at Burry Port is fabulous!

I wasted no time and almost jumped out of bed- even forgoing my morning cuppa! I'd been itching to launch my DJi Phantom 3 drone and weather conditions just hadn't been on my side- but now they were! Woo!
I loved sending Donny up and getting some shots. You can see the video below👇

After breakfast baps and a cuppa, we took Jazz for a run off lead on the beach. He doesn't normally go off lead as he can forget to come back if he picks up a scent.
But on beaches that are secure we let him off and he loves it. Actually his recall was amazing today!

We had a paddle and the water was lukewarm. I wish I'd got my cozzie on as I could've had a dip but it was time to get moving- we were off into Pembrokeshire. Next time we come here there are loads of cycle paths to ride on, including a country park with a 4 mile Tarmac circuit, an old train line at Llanelli and a coastal bike path running through Burry Port.

We stopped off at Saundersfoot thanks to a Pinterest tip off- such a pretty little Harbour and coastal village. It really reminded us of a Cornish village. We grabbed the very last space in the Harbour car park – boy it was tight but I got Ruby in – and once in a random man came and congratulated me on some fab parking! 💪

We paid for an hours parking but we could have spent all day here really. It's gorgeous. Loads of families were crabbing over the Harbour wall. The beach was PACKED (but not dog friendly between May and Oct). There were old fashioned amusements, little beach shops, an old fashioned off license (where we stocked up on local Ale and cider), a local ice cream seller- we loved our Pembrokeshire Promise icecream (honeycomb and vanilla-yum). We even managed to squeeze in a quick pint in a really cool pub called The Old Chemist which had a really great smugglers alley entrance and beach and sea views.

Next stop was our campsite, Middle Hill Farm, just the other side of Tenby, on the outskirts of Manorbier. We were a bit disappointed at first- we booked at the beginning of March and was told we could have a sea view pitch. We were given pitch 4 which basically had a view of a hedge – right next to the main road-we could have been anywhere in the country! Two caravans had the best views, so we were a bit fed up. Plus one of them had a reserved for sign on. The facilities were quite a walk down hill through a field. Keith was grumpy and so was I. Yes, it's only £15 pn but we are here for 3 nights and paid on 3rd March up front! He went off for his shower and returned 5 mins later- he'd spotted a pitch at the bottom of the field next to the facilities and with a sea view, and went to ask if we could move. The answer was yes! Hurrah! So we threw the chairs, windbreaks etc in the back and drove to our new pitch, no. 8, and set up again! And enjoyed our Welsh Ale/cider enjoying the view.

The weather was gorgeous so we sparked up the BBQ for dinner- enjoying a homemade potato salad, garlic mushrooms and venison burger, lamb and mint burger and chilli sausage. We stayed outside until 10pm watching the day change to night. Perfect.

Wednesday
Wow was it blustery in the night! The winds were up to 40mph and we've never heard rain lash down like it did! It was so loud that Jazz had a panic attack and therefore ended up squashed on our bed rather than up front in the passenger seat!

The weather was still rather blustery as we got up, and it was overcast with the promise of more rain from 4pm, so we had a steady morning before walking the short distance down the field path the farmer had put in, to the village of Manorbier.

Manorbier has a really lovely castle you can explore with the best preserved corners of tower we've seen. Inside there is a tea shop and you can enjoy it on the lawn. It's a nice place to spend an hour but there wasn't an awful lot of info about the castle and it's history therefore we found the £5.50 entry charge a little steep.


We carried on up the small road past the sandy beach, where despite it being very dull, lots of people were out enjoying themselves on the beach- good old British eh?! We carried onto a house aptly named as Atlantic View before taking a path off to the left which took us onto to Pembrokeshire Coastal Path for our return back to Manorbier beach. It's a dramatic section of Coastal Path and although Keith found the contours a little tough, we both really enjoyed the wild scenery matched with the driving wind.

We passed a couple of pretty hidden sandy coves but chose to have our picnic overlooking Manorbier Beach before washing it down with a little pint in thelocal, The Castle Inn. Prices down here in pubs are very reasonably priced- we've not paid more than £7 for two alcoholic drinks yet since being in Wales.

The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling and watching Cracker as the weather turned just as we arrived back at Ruby- talk about good timing! We enjoyed a chilli con carne for dinner before having an early night.