Rydal Mount, in the Lake District

Admittedly, I'm not a Romanticist, in terms of academic study, in spite of three (once as an undergraduate and twice in grad school) classes in literature of the Romantics. So, Wordsworth's house for me was not a site akin to an intellectual Mecca.  However, it's something, isn't it, to walk around a house with creaky floorboards of old wood which have breathed, buckled, and bubbled with the passing of years.  Literally, to walk over all that history, to have your footsteps fall where so many others have (and some much more creative than my own)...that was a remarkable feeling through Wordsworth's house as well as the rest of the trip.  And it's something, truly, to stand in a bedroom looking at love letters written so long ago, trying to capture an emotion in which words fail.  And, okay, I'll even admit, when we were walking back to our coach, thinking "Pretty cool to be walking down the same hill Wordsworth walked down to go to church every Sunday..."

No photos were allowed inside the house itself, but I can say the hunter green on the walls in the dining room was quite lovely and complimentary to the framed photos hanging on the wall. Most of the furniture seemed original, as you weren't allowed to touch it, let alone sit on it, but the fact of that didn't make the house seem distant or too museum-like.  The first photo here is looking back towards the house from a spot in Wordsworth's gardens, which occupy 4.1 acres of his estate.  The second is a view of Windemere, from the edge of Wordsworth's property.  For me, it was the gardens--not just how green they were with moments of reds, blues, or yellows, but the paths, from gravel to stone to dirt, that you could spend hours meandering through--that made my time at Rydal Mount so fantastic.

Perhaps the most interesting part about Rydal Mount, for me, is knowing that it's still used by Wordsworth's direct descendants.  In fact, the most recent Wordsworth descendent family photo is on a table in the drawing room, capturing nicely the blend of old and new.  To have such an incredibly property be used simultaneously as a historical and tourist site and also as a vacation house for the family, made the property, for me, feel more alive than antiquated.

More travel narrative to come!


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