I’m laughing to myself while putting “Spring” in the title of this post because there is nothing Spring-like about England in the last few weeks. Yes, the weather has finally gotten me down. I made it through the winter just fine with the right outdoor clothes and a constant roaring fire in the living room. But now I am just over it. The kids have a three and a half week end-of-term break, and we thought we’d stay here so that our daughter Coco could catch up with her riding having been away in France for 12 weeks. I’ve already told my husband that next year at this time, I am going to seek out sun and warmth above all else for Spring Break.
Somehow I intuited that I would be at my wits end by the third week of our staycation so I booked us a two night stay at The Pig Hotel in the New Forest. The pictures of the hotel and restaurant looked heavenly, and when I heard about the wild New Forest ponies, I knew we had to go there.
Thankfully, it was all as good as it looked – the hotel felt like staying in someone’s private home, the kitchen garden inspired my ambitions to plant a vegetable garden at our cottage, the food exceeded our expectations, the movie library was inspired, and the bike riding trails were endless. All four of us watched Beverly Hills cop cuddled up in bed, we bought candy at a local sweet shop after an hour long walk by the sea, and we spent hours just staring at the free-range, wild New Forest ponies with their crazy blue eyes and thick, furry winter coats.
It was a wonderful 3 days of quality family time (despite the windy rain), but what I really can’t wait to do is go back to The Pig by myself for a few days once the kids are back in school and get some solid writing done on my book. It’s the perfect place for a vacation from my vacation.
|As soon as we entered the New Forest, there were wild ponies everywhere – in the trees, by the streams, and especially next to the road. They were so beautiful, and incredibly tame.|
|This crazy pony made my kids roar with laughter. We all agreed it looked more like a Fraggle than a horse.|
|The beautiful Pig Hotel. Wouldn’t you love this to be your home?|
|The very tidy kitchen garden at The Pig. I love the scarecrow.|
|I was very jealous of all the tidyness in their garden and greenhouse. I don’t like things manicured, but I do like them tidy. My husband and kids don’t seem to share the same affinity.|
|What’s better than a heart-shaped cluster of pigs? The large one is the mommy, and the rest are her babies.|
|Chickens at The Pig. We enjoyed their eggs at breakfast.|
|I looked forward to every meal, as much for the food as for the chance to sit in this lovely room.|
|The owner’s glass collection displayed in the bar.|
|Zach is my ocean swimming buddy in Long Island, and we were both overjoyed to see the sea after a long, landlocked winter.|
|We visited a harbour in a small town called Buckler’s Hard where Christopher found his dream boat.|
|A groovy boathouse in Beaulieu.|
|The village shop in Beaulieu.|
|Personalized kids’ snacks at The Pig.|
|At every meal the kids ran outside to play on the giant tree swing while waiting for the food to arrive.|
|Wild ponies on the moor.|
|Coco’s spiritual moment with a wild pony.|
|Deep in the forest.|
|I was determined to see more of the New Forest than you could by car or on foot, and so we took a 2 hour bike ride on trails, roads and gravel paths. Despite the cold and rain it was beautiful, and a good way to burn off energy before heading home.|