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The Peaks District

August 28-September 4, 2009

Written September 20

Friends and Families,


After leaving Chatsworth, we started the search for a place to stay for a couple days. We had thought about staying in Buxton, a fair-sized town with plenty of hotels; however, we first crossed into Bakewell, a smaller town not far from Chatsworth.

We headed to the Tourist Information office and asked for help. I think it wasa bit of a challenge because our requirements were vague. We didn't want a large hotel nor a very expensive place. We didn't want a little Bed and Breakfast where we might not have enough privacy. And, it was a busy week in The Peaks, with many candidate hotels full already.

Finally, we settled on "Ruskins", a nine-room B & B a few kilometers out of town. It is one of a pair of B & Bs overlooking the Wye Valley. It turned out to meet our requirements perfectly.


Our room was bright and cheerful and looked out over "Mansal Head" of the Wye Valley.

Breakfast Room.

Work table with view and WiFi.

Bar and Reception
The view to the local farmlands improved on our first day as a brave (or crazy) logger removed a diseased oak tree on an edge of the property.
The other hotel neighbors were cows. Friendly cows in stone-walled pastures.
Directly across from Ruskins was the overlook of the Monsal Head where the Wye river takes a sharp turn west. The "dale" is crossed by a 19th Century train viaduct that now serves as part of the many hiking trails in the area.
Some of the trails are bridal paths for intrepid horse riders. We did not actually see anyone take a horse down this marked path, but it must be possible.
For our first dinner, the hotel owner recommended a short walk into Little Longstone. We walked past limestone-hedged fields and a 1870 Chapel.
Our goal was the Pack Horse Inn, serving local food since the 16th Century. The sign out front broadly proclaims the source of the food including "beef from two fields away". Inside, the menu is hand-written and promises all sorts of authentic Derbyshire eats.


On our second day, we chose "The Crispin" in Great Longstone, a mile down the road from Little Longstone. The Crispin was as authentic a country pub as The Pack Horse Inn. Country food may have been the highlight of our visit. (And the cause of diets as soon as we returned home.)

Houses in Great Longstone, like in many villages around here, were named, not numbered. This was true of a small row house called "Stone Craft" to a millionaire's mansion called simply, "The Hall". (A quiz: Which house belongs to the owner of The Pack Horse.?)
Throughout The Peaks District, the buildings and fences are made of limestone, an enduring material - just like the villages and farms themselves.

Early Wednesday morning, we packed up and drove to the Manchester airport, a little more than an hour away. This trip was as stressful as any of the others in our drive-on-the-wrong-side adventure. When we turned in the rental car, we vowed to not try that again, at least not until we've traveled enough other places to make the stressful memories fade.

But, the good memories will be around much longer.

Now, off to Paris. Shorter stay, but a destination we always look forward to. The next story.


John and Marianne


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