February, 2010

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Visit This Monastery in England’s Lake District and See What Inspired Wordsworth

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

The institution is in a pretty village in the breathtaking Lake District. It is encircled by the wooded fells of Loughrigg and Nab Scar with spectacular views of the mountains, Rothay Valley and Rydal Water. Rydal is a village forever associated with the poet William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the English Romantic Age. His home, Rydal Mount, provides a glimpse into his life.

The Mount has changed little since he lived there and still contains the original furnishings, personal possessions and first editions of his work. Walk through Grasmere, a tiny stone village beautifully situated between the tranquil waters of Grasmere Lake and the jagged heights of Helm Crag and Nab Scar, reveals a wondrous landscape of towering peaks, stunning lakes and glistening waterfalls. William Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage just beyond the village church. The years of his supreme work as a poet were done during his residence in the cottage. In his epic poem, The Excursion, he described the village church of St. Oswald. Near the altar, an inscribed profile in white marble depicts Wordsworth between graceful daffodils and bluebells.

Nearby Ambleside, meaning “Shieling” or summer pasture by the riverbank, lies beside the northern shore of Lake Windemere, England’s largest lake. Ambleside is a small but bustling Victorian town and an ideal base from which to explore the Lake District. An open-air market is held every Wednesday. The Bridge House is purported to be the most photographed house in the entire Lake District. Originally used as an apple store, it was ingeniously built directly over Stock Beck on a stone arch in order to avoid paying any land tax.

For more information visit:monasteriesofbritain.com

Stay in Wales where literary pursuits meet architectural heritage at this unusual religious institution… about $40 per night with three meals.

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

This religious institution contains the second most important library in Wales. Over the years the library has accumulated over 250,000 books mainly including theology, philosophy, classics, art and literature.

This facility is also located close to Chester (in England) which was founded by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago and is the only city in England to have preserved its medieval walls in their entirety – they form part of the original Roman defenses. The town of today preserves grand buildings representing every period of Chester’s long, illustrious history. The handsome, sandstone cathedral dates from the 14th century and is noted for its intricate carved woodwork, its Lady Chapel and the Cloisters. Also nearby is Chirk Castle, the last of the great Welsh castles built by Edward I. Begun in the latter half of the 12th century by Roger Mortimer, one of Edward’s generals, the castle was completed in 1310. The exterior of the castle has changed little; the dungeon, portcullis gate and stone steps leading to the watchtower remain as originally built. The interior shows the remodeling carried out in the 19th century under the direction of renowned architect A.W.N. Pugin. Joseph Turner designed the staircase in 1777 and the first floor staterooms are from the same period. They are adorned with lavish Adam-style decorations.

Due west of the castle is the beautiful Vale of Clwyd. In a setting overlooked by the hills of the Clwydian Range and the Hiraethog Moors, the ancient market town of Ruthin is one of the most picturesque towns in northeast Wales. Ruthin began as a Welsh settlement and its name means “the red fortress,” as it was built on a red sandstone hill. Its 700-year old heritage is mirrored in splendid half-timbered medieval buildings including the Barclay Bank. According to legend, Maen Huail, a boulder outside Barclays is where King Arthur beheaded Huail, his rival in a love affair. The town has a rich architectural history making it an outstanding Conservariton Area. The 17th century Myddle Arms is a pub whose unusual Dutch-style dormer windows are known as the “Seven Eyes of Ruthin.”

For more information visit: monasteriesofbritain.com