Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Travel Tuesday (December 17, 2013) -- A Memorable First Family Trip Abroad

Our cottage rental in the little village of Ditton Priors in south Shropshire, England with our rented minivan to the immediate left.

In 2004 our older son was in his junior year at the College of William and Mary and did a little over a semester abroad.  He was part of an acting troupe that attended and participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the end of the summer.  Then, since he took his backpacking gear with him and could not yet get into his dorm room at the University of Edinburgh where he would be attending classes while serving in an internship with Member of the Scottish Parliament, he went on a 96-mile backpacking trek through the Scottish Highlands on the West Highland Way. 

Our son's semester+ in Scotland provided us with the motivation and excuse we needed to make our first trip abroad as a family -- and so we decided to travel to England and Scotland for the last two weeks of December 2004.  We flew to London on December 17, 2004 -- ten years ago today!  Our younger son (who was in his senior year of high school), Molly's sister Kathy, Molly and I met up with our son in Edinburgh as his semester ended.  We toured Edinburgh under his guiding hand for several days, visited Maidford, Northamptonshire (home of our Tew ancestors), and then spent a week on various adventures from the home-base of a lovely cottage we rented in Ditton Priors, Shropshire (about 147 miles northwest of London). 

Our cottage in Ditton Priors (pictured above) sat right across one street from the Church of St. John the Baptist -- part of which dates from the 12th century -- and just across another road from the Howard Arms pub, the former vicarage that dates back to the 18th century.  We were in Ditton Priors for a week before heading back to London for our last two days and then we flew home New Year's Day 2005. Molly and I sat in on the Christmas Eve service at the Church of St. John the Baptist and were welcomed by the friendly locals.  We spent a bit more time at the Howard Arms since we usually had a pint or two and conversation with other patrons there each evening after our daytime adventures. 

A special treat for us while in Ditton Priors was the snow that arrived in the wee hours of Christmas Eve. As shown below, we woke up to a white Christmas in England -- the first in several years according to the locals!

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All photographs by the author.

For more information on the West Highland Way, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Highland_Way      

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. It looks like south central Pennsylvania.

  2. What a nice trip, and an enjoyable memory for all of you. I sure love the cottage, but that goes without saying.