One thing that sneaked up on me (sneaked is a word) and caught me by surprise, was the difficulty of planning our first big trip! I still can’t decide where to go first. There are endless options within just a short flight, train or ferry ride away. We have a few favorites floating around, but we need to just PICK!
Before we plan a “big” trip we took off on a day trip to get out there. For the first time in our lives, we are just a quick drive away from the coast! So, off we went!
We had quite a beautiful drive out to the coast. Much of it looked like this. Surrounded by dense, green trees! Quite different from what we were used to in our last town. We were much more used to this:
On our way to the coast we stopped at a beautiful brewery. It was down long, winding, narrow roads. Sam and I watch a British show called Doc Martin (look it up on Netflix, it’s great). On the show the Doc, from London, always gets run off the road by the locals used to that kind of driving, so Sam and I were humming the Doc Martin theme song as we drove along this road.
St. Peter’s brewery is gorgeous. Set far off the road in the middle of wheat fields, it looks like so many other forgotten English estates. At least, I imagine it does. But it was verdant and beautiful. We ate lunch in the Great Hall, surrounded by tapestries and sturdy carved wood furniture. The building that hosts the restaurant and bar was once the estate home. The moat is still in tact! The garden outside was filled with people enjoying a pint in the sun, many with dogs lounging at their side. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
After a long, lazy lunch we hopped back in the car and drove to Southwold. We heard it was a beautiful beach, and it held up to that description. It was quaint and clean, even though it was obviously a popular spot. There were crowds of people, but most I saw were kind families or “pensioners.” We saw many of what looked like happy dogs. (A place with happy dogs and happy dog owners is usually a great place, in my opinion.)
Another great quality of the beach was how noncommercial and undeveloped it was. See those houses up on the hill behind the beach? It was a farm. This little guy was about 20 feet away from the car park.
It stood in stark contrast in my mind to places like Myrtle Beach where identical surf shops and restaurant chains line the shore. There was just one problem, it was cold. We were in shorts and t-shirts, sitting on the sand, with goosebumps. It was quite warm by English standards, and when the sun shone it felt great, but as soon as the sun went behind a cloud or the wind blew, we were cold. I did remember reading in a Bill Bryson book (Notes from a Small Island, I believe) that the British don’t swim at the beach. They say they do, but in reality they wade in to about their mid-calf. We saw a few people doing that, but there were actually children swimming. We realized though that most people on shore were in long trousers and sweaters. We missed that memo. Next time though, we’ll be prepared!