|Town center of Penzance|
Veteren's Day weekend, a long weekend...... where to go, what to do? Check the bucket list. Hmmmm..... Never been to Cornwall, probably be a good place to visit this time of the year. We would avoid the summer crowds, see some fall colors, do some walking on the coast. Sure, why not?
After an easy 4 hour drive from Cheltenham, we arrived at the Hotel Penzance. We had a terrific view from our room and could see plenty of palm trees. We could also see the harbor crowded with boats of all sizes.
|View from hour hotel|
|Spot the lookout on the roof looking for Turkish pirates?|
Penzance has signs alluding to its pirating past. From medieval times and in later centuries, Penzance was subject to frequent raiding by Turkish pirates.
We made our way back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for dinner. We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Bakehouse, a restaurant we found in our favorite guide book, Good Food Guide. Seafood is always on the menu here in Penzance so I had the Hake which is delicious meaty white fish, yum.
St Michael's Mount
The next morning, amid glorious sunshine, we walked out to St Michael's Mount. It can only be reached by a causeway during low tide. Starting at 10:30am with high tide not coming in until 3pm, we thought we had plenty of time.
But as we walked out, people we passed would say "no ferry on Sundays" or "your going the wrong way". If we got stuck on the island it would be six hours before we could go back. So, we literally ran across the causeway, and up the hill to the viewing station before we chickened out and started back. The water was lapping at our toes as we finally made it the mainland.
A little history about St. Michael's Mount: according to the official website, from around 350 B.C. this island was a key port for the trading of tin to the rest of Europe, and in 495 A.D. a vision of the Archangel of St Michael appeared on the Mount, hence the name. It was later given to the Benedictine monks who eventually built the church. Now, it is in the hands of the National Trust, and is home to only 30 people who take care grounds.
After this stop, we started to make our way to Land's End, with several detours in mind. The coast road is pretty good for driving on, but when we veer off to see the sights, the roads are tiny, hilly, windy one lane roads. Here are some of the sights we saw on the way.
The coast was so beautiful, we kept stopping to take pictures. It took us a while to make it to our next stop, the Minak Theater. This is really the most incredible place.
|Lush tropical gardens at the Minak Theater|
|Although some seats are cushioned!|
|View beyond the stage.|
There is an interesting exhibit with the story of her life. It must be quite an experience to see a play here, with the water crashing into the rocks down below and wind blowing. We recently saw a program on the BBC about the Minak. It showed the theater packed in the pouring rain. People interviewed either said it was a once in a lifetime experience or they come every year!
Onto the next stop, Land's End.The most westerly point in England! Land's End is where the land, umm well, ends.
At Land's End there is an artist colony and small working farm (so I could get my chicken fix!) and kitschy attraction about the history. It looked more like an amusement park, so we passed.
|Old tin mines dot the coast.|
|Cows on the side of the road from Porthcurno to St. Ives.|
Last stop for the day, St IvesWe read about St. Ives before we came and learned that it is a fishing village, very touristy and commercial, but has some nice galleries, one of which is a Tate gallery. When we got there, it was late in the afternoon, and the sun was still shining brightly, we really didn't want to go inside, so we instead soaked up the sun and atmosphere and had tea and a scone with the famous Cornish cream.
|In St. Ives there is surf school and we saw many surfers in the water.|
|It was about 55-60 degrees the day we visited, great for surfing? This lady thought so.|
We made our way back to the hotel and had dinner their restaurant The Bay, also in the Good Food Guide. It was good to be off our feet!
Port IsaacDoc Martin is a BBC series filmed in Cornwall. I have always loved the scenery in the show. While we were in Cornwall I asked locals where it was filmed. Many didn't know, but the bartender in the Turks Head told me that is filmed in Port Isaac in north Cornwall. Perfect.
After a delicious breakfast, we packed up, check out and made our way to Port Isaac. Once again the roads were narrow, hilly and breathtakingly beautiful.
Port Isaac is a small fishing villiage, not a tourist destination, that said for a cloudy Monday in November, there were quite a few people wandering the streets. I imagine ramblers pass through as they walk the coastal paths. It is just quaint. Andrew spotted Doc Martin's house right away.
|Doc Martin's is the little grey house going up the hill.|
|These caves are accessible when the tide is out.|
We found Cornwall to be beautiful and welcoming. The mild sunny weather made for such a pleasant visit.
When we return (and we will,) we want to do more walking.