travel ideas – Horseback Vacation in England

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Horseback Vacation

As someone who grew up riding, nothing sounds more appealing to me than a horseback vacation exploring the English countryside.  I’ve always loved horses; the smells in a barn take me back to my childhood.  To me horses are like a bigger version of dogs; they are comfortable to bond with, easy to trust, and fun to be with.  The idea of spending a day with a pal on his or her back, knowing you’re going to end up for dinner and spend the the night in a spectacular manor house in the British countryside, sounds like a dream come true.  That’s why I’ve put a vacation with Stately Rides on my list of future getaways.

Stately Rides – with Zara Colchester and Charlotte Sainsbury-Plaice, explore the English Countryside on horseback.

 

Get Out and Go!

I lived in London from 2004 to 2007, and looking back I realize my favorite thing about those years was the easy access to the English countryside unlocked for me.  The English countryside is unlike any other in many ways, sometimes I yearn for its lush, green beauty. My partner and I covered every inch of England that we could; we’d put the dogs in the back of our Discovery and head out of London for a weekend exploration or short holiday.  England is a country rich with history in a special way; Europe has its old castles, but generally not in the good condition British ones enjoy.  England, with its National Trust and private owners, takes preservation of historic character to heart.  As a result there are wonderful historic monuments, gardens, country manors and castles to visit.  I loved driving through the countryside; I crave those small winding roads with only hedges dividing me from fields where boundaries were established hundreds of years ago.

And so, when I think about horseback riding these same routes, I’m inspired.  To experience the same excitement, explore the same terrain, but on a different beast, one that allows me to be more connected with both the history of England and its unspoiled countryside.

In my car I am bound to roads; on a horseback vacation, I can finally pick the road less travelled.

Barb SIgnature Blog

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“Exquisite bed and breakfast”

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This is a wonderful bed and breakfast. The innkeepers, Lori and Paul, and very attentive, extremely friendly, and very helpful…not to mention Lori’s fantastic cooking skills. Southern hospitality at it’s highest! The house is phenomenal…a work of art in itself, and our stay was more than we imagined it would be. Thank you Lori and Paul!

Posted on Hotels.com by John, USA on December 30th, 2015

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Close to all Midtown has to offer

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Magic sheer magic. Perfect for the holidays and Christmas shopping.

Posted on Expedia.com by Dawn, London on December 23rd, 2015

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The writings of photographer Anne Simone

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Anne Simone’s writing

They say a well-composed photograph is worth 1,000 words. While writing usually exists to transmit information, photography fulfills a basic human hunger for less tangible, more abstract feelings. It is only the best writers who can bring the affect of photography to text, and I am constantly astounded by how well photographer Anne Simone does this. On her blog, she compliments her stunning photographs with well-crafted prose. Anne is an honest writer; reading only a few of her posts lets you appreciate the easy flow of her thoughts and the touching tenor of her writing.

anne simone

The Eaves at Stonehurst Place, as photographed by Anne Simone.

Anne Simone’s writing is scattered with intelligent and thoughtful turns of phrase, designed to inspire you to think about what she is saying through her photography. The small nuances and inflections in her writing allow it to be both colloquial and friendly, as well as thought-provoking and deeply evocative. Some of her phrases sound like aphorisms, phrases that should be entrenched in our vocabulary, because they touch such a fundamental truth.  An example of this is her idea that “Real love impacts us all, as drenching as rain and as solid as earth.”  I find her writing wonderful, whether it’s about Star Wars fan culturefinding yourself through nature or a moving post about a marriage.

Anne Simone’s photography

Anne Simone’s photography carries the same honesty; in the pictures of Stonehurst Place she invites you in, allowing you to feel as if you’re part of this place.  Anne accomplishes this through her photographic style; with free-lensing and warm light Anne has set up a space in which you can feel comfortable. She’s perfectly captured the warmth of the rooms and suites at Stonehurst Place, where the natural lighting she uses allows the smallest details, those that make the rooms a delight, really shine. When I look at her photography I feel like I’m a part of what she’s captured; I feel like I’m there. Her photography conveys what it feels like to stay at Stonehurst Place, and because her photography is evocative of that, it’s no surprise her writing holds the same strength.

anne simone

The Hinman Suite bathroom at Stonehurst Place, as photographed by Anne Simone.

If like me you’re looking for perfect places, you can see examples in how Anne has captured the essence of Stonehurst Place in her photography. She catches the little moments and focuses on the intimate corners, whether it’s the way the desk lamp warms the surface of a table, the reflection of the window in a framed artwork or something as simple as a bar of soap.

A photograph may be worth 1,000 words, but any one of Anne Simone’s images conveys so much more.

Barb SIgnature Blog

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“Wish I could have stayed longer!”

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Had the pleasure of staying at this luxurious and elegantly restored 19th century bed and breakfast for two nights as part of my 27th wedding anniversary. The best stay ever! Lives up to every word of description and more. Paul and Lori were wonderful. The room and bathroom were fantastic. We will be back!

Posted on TripAdvisor by Monica R on December 19, 2015

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You are Beautiful – the impact of telling someone

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Searching for something beautiful.

As the hands-on owner of Stonehurst Place, I spend a lot of time online looking at photography of other inns and hotels, of art and of travel ideas for interesting and exciting places I want to experience.  I’m constantly in search of something beautiful we can adapt in our new Carriage House design, or an addition to our guest experience that will make Stonehurst Place stays just that much more closer to perfect. One of recent my stumble-upons is this inspiring video about the effects of telling people they’re beautiful. Many feel good videos gone viral over the years are really just advertisements, promoted by Dove or other beauty companies. Yet the creator of this video, high school art student Shea Glover, invented a heart-warming social experiment. She asked students and teachers, some strangers, some friends, whether she could take their picture. Once they agreed, she started the camera and explained to them that her art project was to take a picture of something beautiful. “What?” one student asks, confused; “Oh no,” another one moans, hiding her face; “Oh thank you Shea! I’m so flattered,” a third one laughs, his smile bringing an even bigger one to my face as I watch.

Stonehurst Place

The subject’s response to being told they’re beautiful brings smiles to viewers, too.

I am not alone in my admiration of the video; it has racked up 9 million views on YouTube and spawned the hashtag #breathebeauty. It’s definitely a success. I don’t just admire its honest and crucial message about kindness and beauty. I love little details in the video, too, like the variety of beauty in the artist’s subjects; their clothing, hair styles and even their chipped nail polish, and the way Glover lifts their spirits in one generous moment. For women in the video, who may fall short in comparison to societal versions of beauty, it’s heart warming that their reaction to the compliment is palpable.

You are beautiful.

How do you react when people tell you that you’re beautiful?

The video was shot in a downtown Chicago Public high school. The diverse student body reacts to the artists in a variety of different ways, all of them genuine. Moreover, for each student, this event seems to have made their day, or maybe even their month or year. Most of us are rarely appreciated for our natural beauty. We accept that everyone has their own look, but if they are close to us and part of our day to day life we can easily take their beauty for granted.

I re-watch this video because it makes me feel good; it reminds me that beauty is everywhere. It’s easy to forget that the well-worn paths we tread every day are imbued with beauty we’ve become blind to. Sometimes I even forget how beautiful Stonehurst Place is, I’m so used to it.

Barb SIgnature Blog

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at Stonehurst Place!

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Christmas Peek at Stonehurst PlaceChristmas at Stonehurst Place

We’ve decked the halls, and the rest of Stonehurst Place, as well, in preparation for the holidays and Christmas in Atlanta. Our guests immediately feel the holiday spirit as they walk in the foyer and see the nine-foot Christmas tree, decorated in Gold and Crimson. There are lots of other holiday touches throughout the house and Christmas Jazz to get your toes tapping.

Our Outdoor Architectural Lighting

Thanks to the hard work of Innkeeper Paul and Assistant Innkeeper Nikko, the outside of the house is festive as well.  Lights have been thoughtfully placed to accent the architectural features of the inn, and it looks just beautiful from Piedmont Avenue in Historic Midtown Atlanta.

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“Only the Stonehurst…”

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Stonehurst Place: a true respite of lovely gardens, luscious beds, elegant breakfasts, and exquisite ambience; surpassed only by the charm and grace of innkeepers, Lori and Paul. How lucky you will be to stay there.

Posted on TripAdvisor by JewelJones, San Francisco, California on December 5th, 2015

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