2006 The Old Vicarage

Saturday 18th November

Today we set off to the Old Vicarage in Milborne Port for Andrew’s birthday weekend. We stopped at a nice little pub for lunch then drove on to Sherborne.

This is a very pretty little town, we went for a wander around the place. Lots of nice individual little shops as well as the usual chains. Stopped for coffee then went to Sherborne House for a browse around their Winter Wonderland Craft Show there is some lovely art here, pictures and sculptures in slate and glass.

We went from there to The Old Vicarage where Jorgen greeted us with a welcome pot of coffee before showing us to our suite. This is in the converted barn with our bedroom in the eves and a sitting room on the ground floor with a large day bed to laze on whilst watching TV or reading.

Later we walked across to the main building for a pre dinner sherry and browsed through Jorgen and Anthony’s holiday albums, they have been to some lovely places. We were seated in the dining room for a stunning dinner including crayfish tails, lamb, passion fruit panna cotta to die for, served with an amazing apricot flavoured dessert wine, local cheeses with biscuits, coffee and home made petite fours. Replete we browsed through various books on the local area before returning to our suite.

Sunday 19th November

We got up to a cold wintry morning, the pond was frozen over and the grounds were white with frost. Breakfast was wonderful, all the food that Anthony cooks here is organic and locally sourced and tastes amazing. We chatted to Jorgen about the surrounding countryside and got a few ideas on places we’d like to visit.

We’d decided to spend one of our days by the sea so we set out to Poole, a nightmare of ring roads and one way systems, eventually gave up on parking anywhere in Poole.

Swanage is a quaint and old fashioned town, we wandered around the shops in the main streets, then lunched on fish & chips.

Afterwards we walked to the sea front and ambled around the coast. The pier is rather lovely with hundreds of little metal plaques studding the floor, people commemorating holidays, weddings, retirements even deaths of pets. We sat listening to a pretty good band playing outside a pub on the front for a while.

We returned to the car and drove back the way we had come, stopped at some woods and went for a walk, then on to Cerne Abbas to visit the Cerne Giant.

Having spent some time marvelling at the giant & his big weapon, we returned to the Old Vicarage. We relaxed until dinner, then ate our way through all four courses on offer this evening. I could move in here – the food, the wine and the atmosphere are wonderful.

I would recommend this place to anyone, but unfortunately Jorgen & Anthony have decided to move to pastures new, so this will be our only visit.

Monday 20th November

It’s time for our last meal here already, another yummy breakfast then we have to vacate the room. We have decided to spend the day at Stourhead Garden.

This is probably the most beautiful garden that I have ever had the privilege of walking around, as the pictures that Andrew took will show. We walked all around the lake and explored Neptune’s grotto. There are so many beautiful and unusual trees in this park and the autumn colours are stunning, especially when they are reflected in the still as a mirror lake.

There is also King Alfred’s Tower on the far side of the grounds about 2½ miles from the garden, but this was closed to visitors for the winter. I would think that aerial views of the gardens would be stunning from the top, so we need to come back in the summer to see.

Also in the grounds of Stourhead are a pub, a restaurant & a farm shop where we bought some goats cheese and a couple of large steaks for our dinner this evening. They were excellent, I wish we’d bought more. We really enjoyed this weekend and am sure we will return to this area to explore some more.