Reeth to Richmond

The road to Richmond was quite enjoyable, if for no other reason then the knowledge that we were to take a sight-seeing day and would have a chance to rest and do some laundry.  Now I forgot to mention this in my post about Grasmere, but we needed to desperately do some laundry in Grasmere. When I asked the overly helpful desk assistant, the one who cheefully told me about the 15 mile walk to the free spa, about laundry she curtly replied: Ambleside. I explained that I was willing to pay for either a self or full service wash, but she maintained that I would have to walk several miles to Ambleside if I wanted to do my laundry. Now Grasmere is Disneyland of the Lake District and I refused to believe that there was no where that one could do their laundry. I immediately went back to my room, flipped through the hotel directory and found an add for the very upscale Wordsworth Hotel and Spa (where I might add, the spa is actually located inside the hotel) and inquired about laundry. One thing I have learned growing up in NY is that where there is money, there are services unimaginable to those who lack it. Well, of course the Wordsworth Hotel was more than happy to do our laundry and fold it and press it and yes, we did pay a price I am too embarrased to admit online, but it was possible to do laundry in Grasmere. Headed into Richmond the proprietor at the West End Guest House, one of the most friendly and lovely women you will ever meet, said the magic words “and if you have any laundry that you would like done, leave it in this bag and I will take care of it while you’re sight-seeing.”
The photo above is our first view into Richmond and the first moment we realized that we were on the down swing of the trip; an exhilarating. yet very sad feeling. I was delighted to see signs of urban sprawl, at first, and was particularly excited to view the community garden plots, or allotments, as the British call them. After two days in Richmond; however, I was eager to get back on the path and head out of town. I appreciated the isolation of the trail and how distinctly different it was from all other aspects of my life.In Richmond there is much to do. Here are my lists of things you must do if you find yourself walking this way:
1) Walk the castle walls and spend some time at their exhibit on conscientious objectors who were imprisoned in the castle during WWI.
2) Visit the Richmondshire Museum (home of the All Creatures Great and Small exhibit and a delightfully funny exhibition of children’s reflections upon visiting the Richmondshire Museum). Donate generously, if you do visit, they have limited funding and rely heavily upon the generosity of a devoted volunteer staff.
3) Head our to The Station, the Victorian train station that has been revamped as a movie theatre/ice cream parlour/ foodie eatery called SEASONS/art gallery.
4) Stroll around Easby Abbey (more on this in the next post
5) Tour the original Georgian Theatre (we tried and couldn’t seem to find out when the tours occurred. If you figure this out, feel free to drop us a line below).
In terms of meals, nothing was particularly striking, although you do have plenty of different options. The best food was our breakfast at West End Guest house, complete with chocolate croissant and a convivial atmosphere between guests, many of whom frequent the Guest House on a regular basis and have come to know one another quite well. The folks at West End are truly some the kindest you will meet. We had an altercation with the door to our room; my husband broke the key inside the door. HE spent a good twenty minutes or so plying the broken key out with a pair of tweezers. The proprietor didn’t bat and eye when we explained the situation, nor were we charged any additional fees. In fact they gave us a bag of Yorkshire licorice candies for our troubles! Never before have we vacationed somewhere with such gregariousness.
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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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