England, Fall 2019: A Day in Yorkshire with My Yorkshireman

After ten wonderful days in Lincoln,  enjoying tromping about our old city where we lived for six years, visiting pubs, restaurants, walking familiar paths and routes, talking to friendly faces, and welcoming friends from near and far, it was time to begin the rest of our Autumn 2019 trip around beautiful England. We always spend the first part of our annual autumn trip in Lincoln, and then venture forth around the UK, visiting places we've never been and some places we've been before and love so much we have to go back.  This year, we decided to head up to Yorkshire for a night to start off our tour. 

We decided on a day in Yorkshire, as Jonathan is from Yorkshire, and I've always wanted to see Castle Howard. It's been on my horizon and mind for years, a place I've always wanted to visit, as it's one of the most grand stately homes in the UK. The plan was a visit to Bridlington, then a stop at Castle Howard, and then a night in the tiny village of Harome at the famed Star Inn for an evening of culinary decadence. 

So why Bridlington? It's one of those old seaside destinations that's become a bit worn and tacky over the years. People now swarm to places like Ibiza and the Canary Islands, and these old seaside places that were once grand and beguiling are now long forgotten and have been swept away in the quest for more tropical temps.
But my love vacationed there, in a caravan as a little boy. He has wonderful memories of spending time there in the summers with his family, his parents and sister, his cousins and aunts and uncles. So off to Bridlington we went, to visit his childhood memories.

Who doesn't want to get slaughtered? Jonathan is happy to see that Bridlington has not lost any of its character.

Stick candy to keep the kiddies quiet, I mean happy...

Some things never change...
This vista, so familiar to Jonathan, still looks the same. 

And we just wandered about, we parked for only an hour. The nostalgic factor was big for Jonathan. To visit where he spent many happy holidays as a child was really cool. 

Luckily, the weather was beautiful.

Sent this to sister Jane, and she laughed when she saw where we were!

Visiting your old stomping grounds is cathartic in so many ways. To show them to someone you love is heartening and precious, we all want to show where we came from, we all want to share our our childhood memories. They are what made us what we are today, and we find such joy in these memories. We're very lucky when we can revisit the places that make us remember times when we felt loved, when we were happy, when life was so simple and sweet. It was a lovely stroll around this seaside town. The weather was perfect and hearing about all the special times Jonathan had as a kid was so much fun. Next, we drove off to Castle Howard. 

Castle Howard. (No, the lawn isn't striped, that's a flaw in my photo) 

I'd been wanting, for so long, to visit Castle Howard. I always felt a bit gipped that we didn't get up to this Yorkshire gem whilst living in England.  But we finally got here.  Just as an aside, I am fascinated by places like this.  They are history, carefully preserved, like only England can do.  It's not about peering at the aristocracy, it's about seeing what life was like, what these old days were like for the many people involved in the both the living and the running of these households. In these stately homes, it's often likely you'll see what is was like for both those upstairs, and those who resided downstairs.

Castle Howard, absolutely stunning.

Castle Howard, considered one of the top 100 houses in England by the venerable Simon Jenkins of the magnificent book (and bible, if you ask me), England's Thousand Best Houses, is a baroque gem. And yes, England is riddled with historic dwellings ranging from almshouses to palaces, all drenched in history, carefully preserved and available to the public, which is why England is my favorite country, by far. 

Take a look below at some of the stunning gardens of Castle Howard. This is just a small clip of the beautiful grounds where a turn around every corner opens up a vista of greenery and flowers like you've never seen before. The gardens and grounds seem to go on forever. I could wander here for eternity, in the splendor and radiance of such a magnificently planned Garden of Eden. 

After our day of wandering about Bridlington and Castle Howard, we steered toward The Star Inn at Harome, just on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, for a bit of decadence, for a Michelin starred evening. Jonathan chuckled as I was planning our autumn tour. I decided to hit as many Michelin starred restaurants as I could find in the vicinity of the places I wanted to explore. Why wouldn't I? And frankly, it's not that hard in England, they seem to be sprinkled all about the country, and funnily enough, I found plenty to visit.  

I have to say that this was the best of all the Michelin starred places we visited this trip. It was truly a wonderful place, so warm and welcoming, unique and bespoke. Just an all around amazing experience, I definitely will go back and urge others to visit.The Star Inn at Harome, dating back to the 14th century, is headed by the renowned chef Andrew Pern and his energetic wife Jacquie. What they have created here is beyond sublime. It is a place frequented by both regulars from the surrounding area and people from all over the world seeking a uniquely genuine experience of what modern Yorkshire cuisine is like. It is locally sourced and executed in the most creative and delicious ways. I'm sure my descriptions don't do it justice. I can only say, it was fantastic. 

We booked a room for the night, and also the tasting menu. When we arrived, we were shown about the inn where they had a lovely honor bar (who does that these days?) and lots of cute places to lounge about snuggled into cozy furniture and play one of the many board games that were available. Our room was beautiful, with a claw foot bathtub at the end of the bed and lovely chairs in front of the window for relaxing and reading, or just looking at the view of the beautiful tiny village with the rural landscape in the distance. 

Soon it was time for our scrumptious tasting menu dinner, but first we had a quick drink in the pub area of the restaurant where lots of locals were enjoying their Friday evening. It was interesting to see all the local men, both young and old, wearing their "plus fours" which are trousers that end about four inches below the knee. 

Shortly, we were called into the dining room where our culinary adventures began. Below is the tasting menu we had, and let me tell you, it was extraordinary!

Everything was absolutely delicious and prepared with care and finesse. This is one place we plan on returning. Below are a few pics of some of the dishes we enjoyed; being a foodie, I just can't resist posting a few. The first is the fancy homemade corndog, which isn't English at all, but boy was it good. Next is the cauliflower truffle dish.  As you can see, the presentation was beautiful. What you can't see is how good it all tasted, sorry!

Okay, here are a few more, mainly for my enjoyment when I go back and read this entry, but hopefully you'll enjoy the photos, also.  First up, is the garden gazpacho, and following is the Whitby (a nearby town on the coast where lots of seafood is brought in to shore) crab stick with ice wine sorbet. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. And, no, that's not a green insect, it was a tasty bit of seaweed! 

All the courses were delectable, different, and brought out at perfect intervals. We savored each dish, each other's company, and the ambiance. I love tasting menus. The whole experience is exceptional, someone bringing out tiny tastes of amazing food, sipping a drink, laughing and talking, enjoying every moment, enjoying each other.
Alright, I'm going to show you a few more dishes, these oysters were out of this world, so fresh, probably straight from Whitstable!

We polished off everything we were served, it was all so good. Below you see the remains of the lobster, shellfish and legume bisque. 

At the end of the night, we retreated to the outdoor area, in snuggly chairs with lap robes. We chatted over a nightcap and listened to the silence of the Yorkshire night. So peaceful, so soulful. And I got to gaze at this face. Perfect night, all round.