Monday, January 7, 2008

England, November 2007; Chapitre trois: The Grove

The last two nights in England were spent at this estate hotel located in Hertfordshire called The Grove. Quoting the website: “Weekending” in the county was practically invented by The Grove in the 18th century, under the 4th Earl of Clarendon, whose regular guests included Queen Victoria, Lord Palmerston and Edward VII.

The history of this beautiful estate is quite interesting and can be found here. This building is called 'The Stables' and houses a nice restaurant. We ate there on one evening.

Another view.

When my daughter, Courtney, checked out The Grove's website she said it looked like there should be ghosts there. I told her I would look for them and voila! I found them! Can you see them here in front of the windows?

This was the outside entrance to the spa. I spent an afternoon there indulging in an aroma therapy massage. It was incredibly relaxing. I was jello when I left.

Walking around the grounds we found these cement entrances into the ground. When we looked into this one we could see the steps leading down and then a tunnel turned to the left.

If you look closely, you can see that there were a line of these. Look hard to the left, between the trees and you can see 2 more (just barely can you see the third one).

This is a fairly large estate with a golf course and hiking trails in the wooded areas. The immediate grounds are well landscaped. I would love to see this place in the summer when everything is in bloom.

Just walking the grounds. This is a pool of sorts with interesting design.

This view was taken as we continued along the 'pool.' There was a walkway constructed over the water, cut diagonally to the other side.

More interesting landscaping. Richard's back hurt just thinking about trimming this hedge! It's only about 12 inches high.

Richard on the grounds in front of a beautiful tree.

They had small olive trees growing in big rectangular pots near the building and in an area where there is outdoor seating in good weather.

The grounds had very interesting art pieces throughout. These were made of glass. I expected them to be lit up at night but when I returned after dark they were not lit. I'm thinking that maybe in the summer they turn them on.

I really like this artwork. It is located alongside that 'pool' in the above pictures.

More suncatchers. This whole piece reminded me of a fruit tree.

There is also a walled garden area on the grounds. Mr. Giraffe is there to greet you on your way in.

Here he is from the inside.

Inside the walled garden there is this huge chess board ready for a good game. Richard got it started. What would be your next move?

There is also a 'Mallets & Balls' court. Also known as croquet.

When you get inside the hallways of the hotel there is all kinds of wall art of mainly farm animals. They are quite humorous and fun.

This is the room we stayed in.

This picture doesn't do this piece justice. It is a collage of butterflies. Don't worry, they are not real. Just pretty. This is hanging next to the bed.

Even the door to the closet is donned with a nice mural.

This is actually a two-piece painted on wood. It hangs in the bathroom.

More humorous hallway art.


A tail of four horses.

"Would someone just listen to me! I feel like singing!"

There are also cool tables in the hallways made of what seems to be clear lucite. This one had more butterflies nestled in straw.

This was my favorite table. The blue are marbles and really give it a feel of water.

Up close and personal with some cows in a table.

It looks like this guy is having a tough time getting the animals to cooperate.

One of the trails I mentioned above is along a canal. The bridge here is one I had to cross then hike down to the water where the trail started. You can see the trail under the first arch on the right.
This was along the trail, across the canal. The gray boat, as it turns out, is just like the ones you can rent to travel the Thames in Marlow. We're going to try to take the kids in August 2008 to do just that.

This was actually one of those rare sunny days in England. It was so pretty with the water and sunshine combined.

Another view on my hike. The buildings you see are the grounds keeper's buildings. Not a bad job if you ask me.

Just more loveliness on a gorgeous day. While I was hiking I kept picturing myself in England as if I was looking from above at a map of the country and I could see that I was far away from home. I got the neatest feeling being in a place of such history and tradition, more than we know in the States. And I was amazed to be walking around a vast, open estate while the country is so much smaller than ours but yet gives a feeling of freedom of space. In England when you're in a city, you're in a city but when you leave the immediate boundary of the city you are in the country. Somehow they have managed to keep it that way when you would expect the 'suburbanization' to be going on just like it is here for us. Good for them!

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