Well I have been a very lucky and spoilt housewife this weekend! It was my 23rd birthday – not a particularly exciting age by all accounts, but I have been so pampered and done so much this weekend, it’s turned out to be one of the best birthdays I’ve had! I’d booked off a few days at work, my birthday was on Thursday so I booked holiday right through to Sunday. I’ve had no time off since the wedding in October, so I think this was a long time coming and completely deserved! I was very conscious of making sure I balanced making the most of the weekend by going places and doing stuff and enjoying it, but I also wanted to have a relaxing time off, doing nothing but sitting curled up on the sofa with a good cuppa!
We planned to go away for a night, to the New Forest and Carey’s Manor hotel which I’ve posted about before. We love it there so much, it really is so luxurious and relaxing, and we made use of their Parisian Break deal, which includes bed and breakfast as well as dinner at the French restaurant, which was lovely as always. We stayed in the manor itself, in one of their four poster bedrooms as a real treat to ourselves! It was a gorgeous room, and the poster bed was amazing, but unfortunately the way the room was positioned meant that our door was overlooking the reception area, meaning we heard everyone coming through into the early hours of the morning. There are other manor rooms available, so it may have just been unfortunate that we were in that room, and I am a light sleeper. Other than that, it was another wonderful stay, with the spa facilities being exactly what we needed, an amazing dinner and a great base in the centre of the forest to head out and do some (soggy) exploring.
In the morning, after a delicious breakfast, we decided to make our way down to Buckler’s Hard, a harbour village on the Beaulieu River with a maritime museum. The weather was pretty dismal, but we’re really not the sort of people to let that get in our way – we bundled up with thermal layers and raincoats and set off into the English weather. the way we see it, is if you got depressed and frustrated everytime the weather got in the way of your plans, you’d have a pretty rubbish life. Driving through the New Forest is lovely whatever the weather, with the moorlands becoming very moody with the low lying cloud, and the rain dripping off all the trees. When we got to Buckler’s Hard, we were relieved to see we weren’t the only one’s who ventured out for the day!
We started looking around the museum, and it was really interesting to see things like what bits of trees are needed to make the boats because of their shape and how the village was supposed to be much bigger than the single main street it ended up as. Despite several attempts to make it a success, including three ships that were at the Battle of Trafalgar being built at the harbour, one of which was Nelson’s favourite ship, Agamemnon, Buckler’s Hard never made it as a successful building harbour. It was also interesting to see the links with the Montagu family, the owners of the Beaulieu estate – it was the Montagus who started the building of the village, and there was a very interesting exhibit on the Persia, which was a boat travelling to India with Lord Montagu and his assistant/mistress Eleanor Thornton, the world famous inspiration for Rolls Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy, sunk by German u-boats in WW1. Sounds like an interesting place, right? Funnily enough, we were certainly the youngest people at this museum, but we were over taken by so many people who didn’t seem to be looking at anything! So much for the attention span of the young!
On a sunnier day, I’m sure the outdoors of Buckler’s Hard are beautiful, and there is even a walk from Beaulieu down the riverside which would have been lovely. It was interesting to see a reproduction of a builder’s cottage, and the place where the boats would have been built. It was a really great place to have a wander around for the morning, and I’d love to go back again in the summer and make more use of the outdoors! We’re definitely hoping to keep saving and head down to Carey’s Manor for maybe a two night stay in the summer, and see the New Forest at it’s glorious sunny best!
The Vintage Housewife x