What are ideal family holidays made of? What makes them so ideal? Are they about hiding out, getting out or having everything to hand for 2 weeks with the family and idyllic scenery to boot? Or can you have it ALL?
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to HonieDaddy desperately wanting to be over the water in Canada and the US, seen some absolutely amazing sites (the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley, The Golden Gate Bridge, The Big Sur, Ellis Island as well as California Disney, Vegas, Hollywood all the sites of New York, Washington DC, Boston ……). The list goes on. But, I’ve never actually sat and blogged about it, even if I had thousands of photographs to show you, as much as I feel I should this holiday. Why?
Because, for the first time in a long time, this is a holiday that reminds me of my experiences of get-aways with my family as a child: blackberry picking, acres of farm land, beaches, meadows to run in, simple games with bats and balls and friendships developed in the Summer months.
About a month ago, I had to have a procedure under anaesthetic that led us to have to
1) cancel our wedding (again) and
2) have to consider a holiday without aircraft.
So plans to jet off to Canada for a wedding in Vancouver were soon halted and road tripping in the US was also out of the question.
I usually let HonieDaddy take over when it comes to holidays, he is a born traveller and cannot stay in one place for too long when he is travelling. But this time HonieMummy got out the rule book and stated:
1) No long drives in the car (4 hrs max at a time) – believe me this is good!
2) One place to stay (no hopping allowed)
3) Somewhere the children can have lots of open space to play
4) Somewhere where at least one other family are staying
This was a tough call for HD (very tough indeed). But, he has amazed me and come up with the goods and it’s going to be a hard one to turn me back from.
We had decided to travel by ferry to Brittany. There was much discussion as to what would be the best plan of action – several ferry ports to travel from and to and the possibility of long drives or long crossings.
We opted for a long crossing and a short drive (at the other side) – there was always going to be a long one on this side of the water. So, to break this up, we decided to spend the day before in and around Ross on Wye and after an overnight stay at a Premier Inn, take a fairly uncomplicated drive to Plymouth, crossing to Roscoff, in the North of Brittany.
We are staying (nr to St Tugdual, Brittany) in a building at least a Century old and we know that this ‘Long House’ was used as a hide out in WWII by our Allies.
It is set in 11 acres of land on the edge of a valley with woodland, a stream, open meadow and set amongst farmland as far as the eyes can see.
The owners live in an adjoining building and have tastefully decorated and equipped this holiday home with absolutely everything a family would need to stay here: we have 3 double (en-suite) bedrooms, an open plan lounge with a wood burning fire (enclosed), a fully equipped kitchen (with washing machine and dishwasher). The style is rustic and has walls that are about 2.5 ft thick (so warm at night and cool in the day).
The couple themselves are English, charming and have years of experience at taking care of guests having run a country estate in Northumberland for many years, before coming to Brittany some 7 years ago. We were greeted at the door to our home for the next few weeks by Heather, despite arriving at almost midnight (after some delays) and we would have been longer if we hadn’t been rescued by Steven, who came out to the nearest town and guided us into the property in the darkness. We arrived on Saturday night and so they had filled the fridge with some essentials for us (given that in France you would struggle to buy any more than a loaf bread on a Sunday).
As a family we have never spent so much time playing and enjoying our time together: cycling, running around, table tennis, walking, exploring the grounds, taking oodles of photographs, picking blackberries, observing and testing the pool (it’s still a bit cool and we have been too busy playing with other things). We have ventured out to Pont Aven and to the City of Quimper as well as done a bit of shopping – but have been happy to spend the odd day in enjoying our surroundings and coming right back to basics.
We ‘have’ eaten out (and the children are accustomed to this) but here we have used the kitchen much more than on any other holidays. HD has made his own burgers and chicken and white wine casserole (which Honie here made a shortcrust pastry top for) and I’ve made 5 blackberry and apple crumbles in just a week – one of which I gave to the owners for their hospitality!
Across from our property is another stunning stone cottage, with another family (2 girls of 12 and 16 years – to H’Boo’s delight). The owners have their 2 year old grandson staying also – which has pleased K’Boo no end.
Will we return to road tripping? Is this how holidays are set to be?
I’ll let you take a look at the photos (all of which are right here were we are staying) and perhaps you can help me decide.