I felt it was important to go to the area that inspired and nurtured her creative genius: the Lake District in Northwestern England. The Peter Rabbit tales seem so quintessentially English – gardens, traditions, friendships, mischievousness and redemption. When I saw the movie based on her life I felt I had found my calling – art and storytelling.
The charming villages of Windermere and Bowness with their rock walls and abundant foliage look like pages out of a Beatrix Potter storybook, or should I say, the storybooks look like they were inspired by the adorable villages?
Her lifelong love of nature and the beauty of the Lake District started when Potter was a child vacationing during summers with her family in this “fashionable” part of the country. Like the Potters, we took the train to Windermere then traveled to Bowness.
Beatrix Potter ‘s farm was across the lake.
She began her stories while writing letters to her favorite nanny’s children. Her books and illustrations became wildly popular.
As you can imagine there are a number of stores that sell Peter Rabbit merchandise. I believe Santa will be bringing me a Peter Rabbit calendar and tin filled with colored pencils.
We had the most charming picnic of local cheeses, breads, fruit and greens imaginable at, of all places, the train station. There’s a little grocery store/cafe called Booths that sells locally produced artisan foods. If heaven has a market, I hope it looks like this one. Imagine radish sprouts grown in sawdust and placed in folded paper cartons. I loved how everything was so handmade.
American stores often try to recreate the charm of a village market, but this was the real deal. It seems that Euro markets are more concerned with quality than quantity and the ingredients and products they make are, well, inspirational. Take note American retailers.
Re-energized, it was time to catch the evening train to Edinburgh.
There is a severe shortage of drinking fountains in Europe – imagine Tim’s delight when he found these in a market! Be sure to carry water or be on the lookout for water to purchase.