I'm not sure there has been a busier month for me than last month. September was full of trips, volunteer work, work work, family, puppies, tricycles, hay rides, and book clubs.
I spent a very full week in England for work, including a weekend exploring the countryside. I am lucky that a co-worker recommended some quick evening trips as well so I could see some local to Newcastle spots. I took advantage of all the free time I had!
Over the weekend I visited 2 Pemberleys! Chatsworth House from the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice (and mentioned in the novel itself) and Lyme Park from the Colin Firth P&P. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to turn the winding road and come face to face with places I know so well from the big screen!
First up, Chatsworth House! There were so many sheep grazing. I took a grounds tour and ended up with a sheep walking alongside me. I named him Mr. Darcy.
Next stop was Lyme Park.
Here is the home in all its glory.
And a shot from the tv at home as I watched some scenes before heading to England.
Then I headed to The NORTH (I love how it's called that). I spent a lot of time in Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, and Stockton-On-Tees.
My hotel was an incredible place called Rockcliffe Hall, on the grounds next to the parsonage where Lewis Carroll grew up. These grounds and woods were his inspiration for Wonderland in the mid-1800s.
I walked the grounds and found that the local Cricket club uses the grounds for their matches. I stopped and watched for awhile. Very cool to see!
My portion of Rockcliffe Hall
A wonderland area for children to explore
One evening we did a quick drive through Newcastle to see parts of the 1st century AD Hadrian's Wall. It's 80+ miles long but not intact the entire way. Walking the length of Hadrian's Wall is a fun event like our fundraiser 5Ks in the U.S. They recommend you spend up to 7 days doing it because of the terrain. Some people shoot for 3 days instead.
Durham was my favorite town I explored. While my co-workers had no idea what "Pemberley" was or why I'd want to spend my weekend exploring them (unbelievable!), they were very willing to point me to Harry Potter locations. I couldn't have been happier!
St. Nicholas in Durham
Durham Castle and Cathedral - where many of the first 3 Harry Potter movies were filmed!
Cameras were not allowed inside but a nice nun allowed me a quick snap.
The beginning of this hallway (not my photo below)
The grounds were incredible. I enjoyed walking all around.
I was also encouraged to check out Seaham, not far from where I was working. Here is the WWI monument to fallen British soldiers. It's 9 feet tall and imposing. There were a ton of visitors to it on a Tuesday evening.
My final side trip was to Fountains Abbey in Ripon. You park and go into the welcome area and then as you head out you see just the top of the abbey, until you head down the hill and...
I can't tell you how happy I was to get home. David picked me up at the airport and we took Thomas out to eat. It was great to see him! My puppies were happy to see me and I missed them.
Bailey needs a haircut - soon.
Look at Remy's little underbite. So cute!
Remy turned 6 months old last month.
They like going on adventures (this time to Walgreens).
Brennan was 1st place in a 5K in September!!
Violet and I were lucky to snag the last tickets to see Reese Witherspoon on her book tour in Louisville. Sheryl Crow interviewed her and we all got free books. It was a super fun night!
Brennan and I volunteered at the Mill Race Marathon as bike security. Brennan said he'd rather run the 5K. I personally prefer the biking and cheering on all the runners.
Thomas caught a ride home one Friday. He was only home for 2 hours - just enough to take him out to dinner, pack up some snacks from our pantry, and order him some supplies from amazon. I am a good mom.
David (and his boss Aaron cheering him on) competed in the United Way tricycle race in Indy!
For the Litwits we discussed "In the Garden of Beasts" and I took (but did not make) a German Chocolate Cake.
And Karen and Bob hosted our Wine Club for chili and all things Fall. Here we are on a hay ride. Karen served 4 kinds of chili and tons of yummy sides plus a peach crisp with vanilla ice cream. I loved sitting around the fire pit with everyone!
Mary, Mike, Karen, and Bob
We got to see one of the only remaining 1919 Cummins diesels. It was on its way to a show. Very cool.
And finally, I served a dessert from Reese's book "Whiskey in a Teacup" and I made pasta with pesto, Eleanor's favorite, from "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" for my other book club.
Already enjoying October and looking forward to two big family birthdays this month!