Monday, November 30, 2015

The Old Schoolhouse Bed and Breakfast Little Compton, England

When you are looking for a unique and luxury bed and breakfast in the Cotswolds, The Old School in Little Compton fits the bill. This attractive building really is an old school. It served as the local school for Little Compton for almost 140 years and it has found a new life as a warm and welcoming bed and breakfast.

John and Wendy Veale have done an outstanding job of making this a bed and breakfast that you won't soon forget. There are four rooms, three have king beds and one is a twin and all the rooms are ensuite. The rooms are named after local schools and when we stayed we had the Dormer Room. It is not one of the largest rooms, actually, it is the smallest room but it has a charm of it's own.

Our room had every comfort you could want including plush bathrobes, a mini-fridge with bottled water, tea making tray, and a very nice selection of both teas and coffees. There are even some cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth. The bathroom is large with a separate shower and a nice deep soaking tub. There is a basket filled with bath gel, shampoo, and lotion as well as a blow dryer.

In the bedroom,there is a flat screen TV and a DVD player. The colors are soothing, the bed is covered in a warm coverlet and a desk and two chairs if you want to relax in your room. You won't want to stay in your room, however. The guest lounge is gorgeous.

The guest sitting room

If you check out the website for The Old School you will get a good look the magnificent stained glass window that anchors the guest lounge. You can relax on one of the sofas and take advantage of the WiFi to catch up on your emails or if it is your arrival day, you can relax with a cup of tea and the cake that Wendy will serve to you in the lounge. It is the perfect way to get your visit off to a great start.

We were able to walk to the local pub which is a gastro pub and serves amazing food. It is an adventure to walk there however across a field. Wendy will supply you with a flashlight but do watch where your feet are landing as there are a few things you might not want to step in , lol. 

In the morning you can enjoy a full English breakfast or anyone of the variations that Wendy will provide. Start your meal with fresh or stewed fruit, cereal, yogurt or muesli. Grab a glass of juice and sit at the beautiful table to dine family style. Wendy will get your choice from you for the cooked portion of your breakfast and also bring you your coffee or tea. I can testify to the fact that the scrambled eggs are heavenly.

You will be tempted to linger over your meal and you can but checkout is 10:30 a.m. so not for too long. If you need to stay around you are more than welcome to enjoy the lounge with your coffee or the guest parlor.

This is a wonderful bed and breakfast, with a very helpful and friendly hostess. Be sure to pick up a copy of the local cookbook, it will allow you to recreate some of your local favorites when you get back home. We loved our stay here and wishes we could have stayed more than one night.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Photo Friday: CUT!: Costume and the Cinema

Cut!: Costume and the Cinema is now on display at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester,Va. It is an exceptionally nice exhibit for anyone who enjoys historic films and gorgeous costumes. 
Anjelica Huston in Ever After

Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell

Keira Knightly in The Duchess

Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility

Kate Winslet's Hat from Sense and Sensibility

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Upcoming Events at Old Sturbridge Village

November 27, 2015 to November 29, 2015 - 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Included with Regular Admission to the Village FREE for OSV Members$5 to enter the Winter Market only

Just in time for your holiday shopping, see dozens of juried craft vendors offering the finest hand-made items for the special people on your list. Marvel at diverse creations including pottery, paper goods, arts and crafts, ornaments, glasswork, textiles, gourmet foods, artisan jewelry, and gorgeous home accessories. Participating Vendors: Artfield PressBuzy B's StudioEmma’s Acres...
November 29, 2015, December 06, 2015, December 12, 2015, December 13, 2015, December 19, 2015, December 20, 2015 - 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
$26.95 for adult, $22.95 for seniors (65 and Older), and $13.95 for children 12 & under. Under 3 FREE. Tickets DO NOT include admission to Christmas by Candlelight, an evening event, which must be purchased separately.

Reservations Required, please call 508-347-0362.

Brunch with Santa at the Oliver Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village offers a large selection of brunch items and a chance for the little ones to meet Santa. Sample Menu Made-to-Order Omelets Scrambled Eggs Eggs Benedict Applewood-Smoked Bacon Sausage Specialty Salads & Salad Station Assorted Breakfast Pastries Waffles with Sweet Toppings, Strawberries, and Whipped Cream Toasting...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas by Candlelight Old Sturbridge Village

Escape the frenzy of a modern Christmas with an enchanted evening of gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, music, dance, and a sleigh ride (weather permitting). Meet Father Christmas and chat with Santa Claus (bring your camera!).

Friday, December 4, 2015 to Sunday, December 6, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015 to Sunday, December 13, 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015 to Sunday, December 20, 2015 

Christmas by Candlelight highlights include:
• Re-creation of Mrs. Cratchit's Christmas Dinner
• Sleigh rides (weather permitting)
• Gingerbread House Contest - winners determined by your votes
• Holiday traditions explained and recreated- roasting chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more
• Demonstrations of period gingerbread baking and cider mulling
• Victorian carolers
• Christmas keepsake to make and take home
• Display of model railroads and trains
• Display of a miniature New England Village
• Display of the Little Town of Bethlehem nativity
• Visit Father Christmas and Santa Claus
• Punch & Judy Puppet Show
• Christmas carol sing-a-longs
• Holiday magic shows
• The dance from Dicken's A Christmas Carol
• Readings of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Visit from Saint Nicholas
• Readings of "The Nativity Gospel of Saint Luke" and "The Nativity Gospel of Saint Matthew"

 4:00-9:00 p.m.  Tickets available online. $15 for Friday and Sunday and $18 for Saturday.

Be sure to reserve your Holiday Buffet at Bullards Tavern before or after your visit. Seatings at 4:15, 6:00 and  8:00, reservations recommended. 

In order to focus on the evening holiday events, Old Sturbridge Village will be closed during the day from December 1-25, 2015. The Village will return to a daytime schedule for its popular school vacation week activities Dec. 26, 2015– December 31, 2015.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Photo Friday: Views from Montcello

The museum at the visitor center
On Wednesday we visit the home of our third president Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Va. This is our 3rd visit in 2 years and it never gets old.  Here are some of the things that you will see at Monticello.
The most iconic view of Monticello

The kitchen at Monticello

Room for the ladies off the dome

A newly constructed slave cabin

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Downtown Wilmington, Del. is Family Friendly

Downtown Wilmington and the Riverfront are Family Friendly
Wilmington, DE (Nov. 10, 2015)…Downtown Wilmington and the Riverfront boast a surprising number of family friendly attractions and the list continues to grow.  Located mid-way between New York City and Washington, DC on Interstate-95 and less than 30 minutes south of the Philadelphia Airport, Downtown Wilmington and the Riverfront are readily accessible by car, train or plane.  There’s plenty to see and do and it’s all tax-free.

Delaware Children’s Museum isthe state’s first and only kid-centric museum for tots to teens and is designed to stimulate and stretch imaginations.  This giant indoor playground offers 37,000 square feet of interactive fun including the thirty foot Stratosphere tower which is handicapped accessible and the new touch tank aquarium.

Stratosphere Trampoline Park is another popular Riverfront attraction.  Housed in the bold blue building next door to the Delaware Children’s Museum, it features wall-to-wall trampolines, dodge ball courts, a foam flip & tumble pit and an arcade area.

Wilmington Blue Rocks Baseball Team takes the field in Frawley Stadium.   A franchise of the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, the Blue Rocks are a perennial favorite.  With 10 former Blue Rocks on the Kansas City post season roster, it’s a great place to see rising stars in action.  Mr. Celery and Rocky Bullwinkle entertain the crowd nightly and  special events like the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo and fireworks after Friday night home games are added bonuses.

Riverwalk Mini Golf is open for play seasonally during the warmer months.  Located directly behind the Delaware Children’s Museum along the Wilmington Riverwalk, this 18-hole course is the perfect choice for a family outing.  Be sure to sample the nine flavors of soft serve ice cream and milkshakes available in the adjoining golf shack.

Horizon Services Riverfront Ice Rink is scheduled toreopen on Black Friday and will remain operational through February.  The portable outdoor ice rink can accommodate 350 skaters and skate rentals are available.

DuPont Environmental Education Center is housed in a four-story glass-sided building overlooking the Christina River at the southern end of the Wilmington Riverfront in the 212-acre Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge.  It can be accessed from the mile-long Riverwalk via a Fly Bridge; on-site parking is also available if you prefer to drive.  This free attraction operated by the Delaware Nature Society showcases many species of amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles and plants which inhabit the refuge.   Enjoy interactive exhibits, go dip netting in the tidal pond, catch butterflies or take a guided walk led by a trained naturalist.

Brandywine Zoo is another surprise.  Located on 12 acres of land above the Brandywine River and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, it is home to an amur tiger, exotic small cats, red panda sisters, otter brothers, eagles, a condor pair, a family of llamas and many other animals, reptiles and birds.  Daily keeper talks, creature features and weekend reptile shows, special events, spring and holiday kid camps as well as indoor and outdoor educational programs are offered throughout the year.  There’s also a zootique gift shop, a snack shack and plenty of free parking.

Wilmington’s Arts Scene is another promising option for families.  The Delaware Children’s Theatre in Downtown Wilmington has been presenting family classics for over 40 years.  The Playhouse on Rodney Square, formerly the DuPont Theatre in the Hotel du Pont, hosts a wonderful Children’s Series each year.  Just a couple blocks farther down Market Street, the Grand Opera House offers shows geared to families and younger audiences.  World Cafe Live at the Queen, the Grand’s neighbor on Market Street, has Peanut Butter and Jam Sessions on Saturday mornings with an all-you-can-eat, kid-friendly lunch buffet.,,

For more information, go to or call the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau at (302) 295-2210.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington. Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Food and Feasts of Colonial Virginia

Three-Day Event Begins on Thanksgiving Day

Savor the Thanksgiving holiday by exploring centuries-old cooking and preservation methods during Jamestown Settlement’s and Yorktown Victory Center’s “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia,” November 26-28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual three-day event begins on Thanksgiving Day.

At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea by Powhatan Indians and English colonists using clay pots and iron kettles and preserving meats and vegetables by smoking, salt curing and pickling.

At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, learn how Revolutionary War soldiers prepared rations in an earthen “kitchen” and see how Revolution-era farming families transformed the season’s garden produce and crops into stews, pies and breads and preserved food for the winter ahead.

Jamestown Settlement Showcases 17th-Century Cooking; Friday Lecture on ‘Food at Sea’

In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, visitors can see venison, turkey and other game roast over an open fire, while stews of corn, beans and squash cook in clay pots. A daily program at 2 p.m. will show the importance of corn to the Powhatan Indians and the variety of dishes in which it was used, including corncakes and corn dumplings. Throughout each day, visitors also can learn how Powhatan Indians made stone and bone tools used to obtain and prepare food and, at 10 a.m., take in a program on Powhatan hunting techniques.

Within the re-created 1610-14 fort, food preparation will reflect the culinary skills English colonists brought to Virginia. Historical interpreters will bake bread on all three days and throughout the event will demonstrate open-hearth cooking of pudding, pies and pottage, based on historical recipes of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. On Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., an entire pig will be processed into hams and bacon, followed by salting for preservation. At 4 p.m. each day, museum visitors also can experience European military tactics and drills near the fort.

At the ships’ pier, a special program at 3 p.m. allows visitors to haul cargo from a replica of one of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 to learn how the colony was provisioned. Throughout the day, visitors can explore typical sailors’ fare of salted fish, biscuit and dried foods and try making the most common food – a ship biscuit. A program at noon on celestial navigation will explore how 17th-century sailors steered by the stars.

On Friday, November 27, author, historian and performer Simon Spalding will present “Food at Sea in the Early 17th Century” at 1 p.m. in Jamestown Settlement’s Robins Foundation Theater. Spalding presents a culinary sea voyage through time, illustrated with poetry and song while playing fiddle. He is author of Food at Sea – Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times.

Yorktown Victory Center Explores Fare of the American Revolution

Visitors to the re-created Continental Army encampment can learn how soldiers turned meager rations of dried beans, salted meat and hard bread into nourishing soups and stews. Daily artillery drills at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. will show visitors how soldiers earned their rations. Plundering and theft sometimes occurred when rations were scarce, and a special program at 2 p.m. will illustrate the consequences.

At the re-created Revolution-period farm, visitors can witness the bounty of field and garden transformed into stews, pies and breads. A variety of dishes will be prepared daily in the farm kitchen using 18th-century open-hearth cooking techniques and recipes. On Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., historical interpreters will show the processing of an entire pig into hams and bacon and salting for preservation and, at 1 p.m., methods of preserving food for the winter ahead. In addition, visitors can learn about 18th-century herbal remedies for indigestion at 4 p.m.

“Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” is funded in part by a grant from James City County.

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Jamestown Settlement Café

Food preparation in the museums’ interpretive areas is for demonstration purposes only. The Jamestown Settlement Café will offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, offered on a first-come, first-served basis, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, November 26. The dinner menu and prices are available online.

Tickets & Packages

A Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center value-priced combination ticket is $21.00 for adults and $10.50 for ages 6-12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.75 for adults and $7.75 for ages 6-12, and to the Yorktown Victory Center, $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency.

A History is Fun for the Holidays combination ticket – available online only – offers seven days of unlimited admission to both museums at $21.00 for adults and $10.50 for ages 6 through 12 and includes coupon vouchers for Williamsburg Premium Outlets and the Historic Yorktown Rewards Card. Additional multi-attraction holiday ticket and package options are available.

How to Get Here

Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round, are separated by a 25-minute drive along the Colonial Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sheraton Bradley Airport Windsor Locks, Conn.

Let's face it; sometimes it just makes sense to stay at the airport the night before your flight. Bradley Airport is located about 45 minutes from our home. Especially in the winter when the weather is iffy it can be the difference between making a flight and missing it. If you get a park and fly package, it makes even more sense. 

With the help of the Sheraton website I was able to find a AAA rate which included 7 days of free parking. Since our friend was also traveling I called the hotel and asked if we both got the park and fly rate could we use the 14 days on our one car, I was assured that I could. Of course when I got to the check-in desk, I was told that it was not true. Luckily since I was assured of this feature we were allowed to do it that way. I then had to pay the additional $15 per day for parking.  

Our room was a deluxe business room which means you need to use your key to get off on this floor which is number 7. Our room has a luxurious king bed with all white bedding. There were plenty of pillows and crispy clean sheets. I was very pleased. There is a chair and a foot stool as well as a small round table in the corner along with a pole lamp. I sat here to use my lap top and take advantage of the free wireless Internet.

There is a desk in the room and high speed access if you happen to not have wireless. Both sides of the bed have a night stand and a lamp which is nice if you want to read in bed. There is a large flat screen TV in the room with a fair selection of channels. There are two trays in the dresser that pull out. One has a small coffee pot with Starbucks Coffee and the other has an ice bucket and a free bottle of water. All and all, this is a very comfortable room.

A bathrobe can be found in the closet and amenities in the bathroom including a hairdryer. There is a combination shower and tub and a granite top vanity. One complaint, was this vanity made for munchkins? I am not tall and I found it low, I can't image how a 6 foot tall man could find it the correct height.

Near the front desk there is a small store with of all things, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. There was also an area with computers. The hotel has an indoor pool if you have the time, we didn't. There is also a fitness center, a lounge and a restaurant. Room service is also available.

All and all I am very pleased with the Sheraton and with the rate that we received. I am not surprised that two different employees gave us two different answers about the rate that we chose. It is common enough. I am also very pleased with the way that the young woman at the desk handled the issue. I highly recommend a stay here and I am sure I will do this again when weather or an early morning flight dictate