Recently, my husband, Steve, and I had the pleasure of traveling to a literary destination that I’d longed to visit for years–romantic, daffodil-strewn Wordsworth Country in England’s Lake District. It was definitely worth the wait–as well as worth the four hours by train it takes to reach from London. In my opinion, it’s the most scenic region of England and it feels a bit more like Switzerland than the UK due to the abundance of snow-capped mountains and glittering lakes. (Ok, the mountains are not that all that high, but they are the tallest peaks in England!)

We were lucky enough to catch some daffs still blooming, though it was a bit late in the season, and we also lucked out with terrific weather (no rain and sunny skies, which is no small miracle for April in the north of England.)

The highlight of the trip was visiting the two Wordsworth homes in the area, rustic Dove Cottage in Grasmere, and the much more luxurious Tudor house known as Rydal Mount, located just outside of Grasmere. It was interesting to see the contrast between the two homes, the first being the poet’s residence early in his career, and the second being the house where he went on to live after his poems had achieved acclaim during the Romantic age. The slate-roof Dove Cottage was originally an 18th century inn, and it remains little changed from the Wordsworths’ time there. Many of his possessions are on display, including his marital bed and a traveling suitcase with his name sewn crookedly in cross-stitch.

Sprawling Rydal Mount contains many of his posessions as well, and interestingly enough, is still owned by the poet’s descendants, who often stay there. I loved looking at all of the framed family photos of the current Wordsworth family members on the living room end tables–it was just like visiting a friend’s home! Unfortunately, Rydal Mount was home to a lot of sad memories for the poet, as both his beloved daughter, Dora, and his vivacious sister, Dorothy, died during his time there, events which silenced his pen. In addition to the 4 acres of gardens on the property that the poet landscaped himself, be sure to check out the adjacent Dora’s Field if you visit in March or April. It’s home to thousands of daffodils the poet and his wife planted as a memorial to their daughter.

 –Joni Rendon