Monday, January 16, 2012

Road Trip to Durham

Dan and I took advantage of the long weekend with a mini-roadtrip to Richmond and Durham.  Richmond is only around 45 minutes away, and Durham is only around an hour and a half.  Even though we could easily have visited these places and driven back home, there is something about staying overnight in a city that helps you appreciate it more.  We found a cute bed and breakfast in Durham and made a weekend of it.

As English Heritage members, we got a free, semi-private tour of the Richmond Castle.  It was great hearing all the history behind the building.  And we got to see the prison cells where the conscientious objectors were held during WWI.  The cell walls are covered in amazing graffiti.  The site is so fragile that it is usually closed to visitors, but we were given special access.


View from top of Richmond Castle

Dan walked away from the castle with a new toy: a wooden trebuchet.  He plans to use it at work to launch missiles at his co-workers.  Ah, boys :)

Next we drove on to Durham.  We checked in to our B&B and took a leisurely stroll around the cute little college town.  After a pint at the local pub, we went searching for dinner.  Dan found a great place called Oldfields that specializes in locally sourced cuisine.  It was fantastic!

The next morning we had a great home-cooked meal.  Dan had the smoked kipper, which is a local specialty. 

Smoked kipper

Sunday is a terrible day to visit Durham because so many things are closed.  We made the most of it though and saw everything we could.

View of castle and cathedral

We even got a great, private tour of the cathedral from the cutest old lady I've ever met.  Ms. Mead must have been around 95 years old and has been volunteering at the cathedral for more than 15 years.  There weren't supposed to be any tours on Sunday, but she offered to take us around to share her knowledge.  An hour later, her supervisor found her and made her leave us.  Apparently she was supposed to be collecting tickets and not giving tours.  He actually seemed kind of mad about it, but she just smiled and said "am I forgiven?"  He sighed and said, "of course you are." 

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