In England

A Weekend in the Hills

When a friend with a deployed husband says she wants to take a weekend girls’ trip for her 30th birthday, I really can’t say no.

Five of us piled into a hatchback and drove a few hours to Cheshire, to spend a night at Mottram Hall. We were starry-eyed for “spa” and “activities,” thereby overlooking that it’s surrounded by a golf course. The ratio of middle-aged golfing men to young women on a getaway was wildly skewed, but it worked quite well for us.

We began with a picnic in the rose garden. Two quiches, a spinach salad, and the so very delicious lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream frosting… a perfect start to the weekend.

We found the oldest tree in Cheshire, estimated to date back to 1610.

We wandered in the woods, finding a plant that puffed pollen like smoke, a 149-year-old tombstone of a favorite retriever, and a variety of interesting trees.

We ate. And slept. And ate. And lounged. Then we had our afternoon tea before departing, again in the rose garden, again all to ourselves. I could get used to a waiter bringing meals and pitchers of ice water to me in a quiet, remote corner of a sunny garden! The tea room inside the hotel was absolutely gorgeous, but enjoying this English tradition on a picnic blanket-turned-table cloth in the long-lost sun is much more my style.

For the curious, the ramekin to the left of the scones is filled with clotted cream. We heard you are supposed to spread it on top of some jam on top of a scone, but my taste test found that I prefer the jam on top. Either way, YUM.

We were so relaxed at the end of the trip that we couldn’t help but lay in the fuzzy grass. That’s me in the blue – photo evidence of my bliss! (Thanks for that, Miriam!)

The return of the sun was really fortunate. I’m certain the weekend would have still been lovely with some rain, but when the whole nation begins to grin because the sun’s out? You don’t want to miss it.

So here’s to having fun as a thirty-something!


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