After departing London during our family’s recent U.K. road trip, we drove to the southwest of England (via Stonehenge – but more on that later) to spend the weekend in Devon. Why Devon? Well, while we wanted to see as much of the country as we could during our road trip, Devon in particular has a special connection for us, and there’s a bit of a story behind what brought us there.
Wanting to offer us the most authentic, idyllic experience in Devon, Katie’s parents, Fiona and Victor, offered for us to stay at their home in the rolling Devonshire countryside I can’t say enough about the hospitality we experienced at their home. Between the comfortable place to lay our jet-lagged heads, the delicious meals (Fiona is an exceptional cook), the serenity of their property, their patience with our crazy children, and the late nights of conversation and Vic’s enthralling storytelling, we are so very grateful for our time there. But it was more than hospitality… it felt like the foundation for a long friendship with people that we can say really felt like “our people,” even though we hadn’t met before. This is one of those fantastic side-effects from travel, and not dissimilar from when we first met Katie and Ben. These kinds of things bring people together from all corners of the world, and bonds are formed that transcend the physical distance after the trip has ended.
Our first impression of Devon was that it was beautiful. The countryside was quiet but very quaint. The roads were well-maintained, but were narrow in parts (as is typical in the U.K. countryside). Thankfully our Kia Optima Sportswagon was just the right size to navigate the country roads. We even had the opportunity to experience a “county traffic jam” when a herd of cattle crossed the road, requiring us to stop and wait. This is something we have only experienced a few other times: when a flock of sheep decided to cross the road in front of us in Ireland, and in Kenya, where we had to wait for ostrich.
Since the county of Devon is coastal, we couldn’t go the whole weekend without a trip to the ocean. Katie, Ben, and Vic’s Godson Archie took us to Lynmouth, where the first order of business was to eat a lunch of fish and chips.
A stream runs through Vic and Fiona’s property, which gave the boys (and the bigger “kids”) the opportunity to fish for minnows.
At one point in the weekend, we all visited the Eggesford All Saints Church. This is where Katie and Ben got married, and is also a historic spot in the area, next to the local estate. Living in a country that’s still shy of 250 years old, it is always surreal to me to be in parts of the world where the buildings you visit are twice the age of your entire country.
Just hanging around the house in the country, it was an incredibly lovely time. Afternoon tea in Vic and Fiona’s garden was so nice in the fresh air surrounded by the green rolling hills of the region.
The weekend we spent in Devon was idyllic in so many ways. Saying that it was one of the highlights of a trip that was overall awesome, it says a lot about how much we loved Devon. Memories, along with friendships, were made over this serene weekend in one of the most lovely parts of England.
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