Tag Archives: scotland

Day Trip to St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews was definitely one of our more anticipated days we had planned for our trip.

While I planned (pretty much) all 12 days of our trip, my husband had only one request – golfing in Scotland.

We were able to connect with the friend of a friend, and he was able to get Moose on the Old Course (!!).

We needed to take a 5:30am train out of Edinburgh to Leuchars station. And, as my friends know, I am really, really not a morning person. Consider it a great testament to my love. Some tasty croissants and jam definitely improved the early AM grump bug though! The train to Leuchars took about an hour, followed by a 10 minute taxi ride into town.

The view from hole 1 at the Old Course.

I, being a disgrace to the sport of golf, did NOT play. But I did walk the first two and last two holes.

The Old Course is beautiful and rugged! It’s very different from the manicured, pruned US courses we are used to. We learned that it’s called the Links because it’s the land that links the beach and the farmland, and was basically useless. Therefore they started the game of golf.

St. Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world and where the game of golf was pioneered by Tom Morris (we even got to see his house).

After I left my happy golfer at hole three, I walked over to West Sands – a long beautiful beach directly next to the Old Course.

These were not wild horses, but I am not sure why they were on the beach!

With the exception of a few runners, I had the beach mostly to myself. It was barely 7AM at this point in the morning!

I had fun picking up unusual looking seashells (different from the ones I’m used to on our beaches here) and walking along in the cold morning air. I ended up leaving everything I picked up behind except for one piece of seaglass to add to my collection.

You may recognize West Beach from the famous beach scene in the movie Chariots of Fire.

Then I took a bit of a solo-tour around St. Andrews and happily occupied myself for the next few hours meandering around town and parts of the University of St. Andrews campus. (I needed to see where Kate Middleton met Prince William, obviously.)

At the recommendation of the friend of the friend of my husband, we ate lunch at the Jigger Inn, which is an adorable white house directly on the 17th hole of the Old Course. The Inn dates back to 1850 and provides cozy nooks and open fireplaces to enjoy.

If you walk along the street that hugs the coast, you’ll see all the historic sites in St. Andrews – the ruins of the castle, the cathedral and the tower.

At the end of this road, you will end up at East Sands, where there is a pier from which you can see really lovely views (this was a recommended must-stop by my friend Carrie).

St. Andrews was definitely our cup of tea – small, quiet and coastal. It reminded us of one of our favorite places back home, Rockport, MA.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around town (do you sense a theme here?).

We popped in to B. Janetta’s, an ice cream shop that has been in St. Andrews since 1908! We tried Sticky Toffee ice cream and Brown Bread ice cream (brown bread fried in butter and sugar and put into vanilla ice cream!).

We also stopped in a local free museum, appropriately named the St. Andrews Museum, with the history of St. Andrews.

While we had intended staying later into the evening, we were so worn out from our early wake-up call and headed back to Edinburgh for a highly anticipated night of sleep!

St. Andrews was absolutely one of our favorite places we stopped on our trip. I think the words “we could live here” were uttered more than once.

Next Stop? The Lakes District!

2 Days in Edinburgh, Scotland

When our time in London came to a close, we headed north to Scotland.

To travel to Edinburgh, (Ed-in-bura) we took the train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverly station. The four hour trip was delightfully picturesque.

The UK is full of these bright yellow fields. It turns out they are rapeseed, aka Canola Oil.

Scotland is breathtaking. And (no offense citizens of England) the people there are much… jollier.

The token question – Yes, I ate Haggis. I knew it was some type of organs (turns out it’s lamb liver, lungs, and heart), but it was actually pretty good. Maybe that’s stretching it. Let’s just say it wasn’t bad.

We also enjoyed eating other Scottish fare like stovies, oatcakes, neeps and tatties. When in Rome Edinburgh.

We stopped at a local candy shoppe and got traditional Scottish candy (can’t remember the name). It is a brick of compressed confectioners sugar with a cinnamon coating. It packed a punch, but was tasty! (The candy clerk was kind enough to tell us that only old people like this candy. I guess we’re a couple of old souls.)

We walked out of town and hiked up Arthur’s Seat, in Holyrood Park. This was the most “adventurous” plan we had during our trip and by far was one of our favorite activities.

The trail is a little rough, but the views are totally worth it.

I had read a few other blogger’s mention what a trek this hike was, and, to be honest, I totally brushed it off. It’s only 3 or 4 miles! I thought. How bad could it be? Well, we almost quit halfway through. And we are supposedly in the prime of life. We persevered. And it rocked!

We hung out for a while (a.k.a. caught our breath) on a very green plateau (which is actually an extinct volcano) and enjoyed the views – amazing! You can see the North Sea and a 360 degree view of the whole city.

We stayed at the Travelodge Edinburgh right on the Royal Mile and the location was perfect! The Royal Mile is a fun place to stay, and is surprisingly quiet in the evenings. The Royal Mile is comprised of pubs, restaurants, and shops. There are approximately 857 places to buy a wool scarf, sweater or kilt on the Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile stretches from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill, all the way down to Holyrood House (the Queen’s official Scottish residence).

Next to Edinburgh Castle there is a Tartan Mill and you can go in for free. They have several machines weaving tartan fabrics. It’s crazy how many spools of thread are connected for just the one fabric!

We bought our trip “souvenirs” in Edinburgh – a Barbour jacket for the dude and a wool tartan blanket for moi. We were just barely able to fit them in our backpacks!

While we spent most of our time in Old Town, we spent one morning cruising, and by cruising I mean running away from the rain, in New Town walking past the modern shops, taste-testing teas in Willards (hot pink lemonade tea is delicious! who knew?) and, lastly, visiting Jenner’s. Jenner’s is the Harrod’s equivalent, and not too much to write home about if you ask me. (It is, however, a good place to use a free bathroom. I still think it’s so funny you have to pay to use the “loo”.)

Our favorite part of New Town was the Princess Street garden. It was immaculate. Not a leaf out of place.

And then we did a bit of exploring in Grassmarket, which is made up of fun shops and restaurants.

Lastly, while the food in the UK was better than I was expecting (based on the advice of friends, we came with low expectations), we managed to find some good restaurants. We particularly enjoyed Deacon Brodies Tavern – Deacon Brodie being the man who inspired the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

via Flickr – Bob the Lomond. I forgot to photograph this!

We got the Wild Boar and Chorizo burger. Yum. And the staple British dessert, Eaton Mess, was delicious too. (Can this become an American staple? Goodness it’s tasty.)

We loved Edinburgh and definitely hope to go back again someday!

Next stop, St. Andrew’s, Scotland – the home of Golf… and Wills&Kate!

Back to Boston (With a British Accent)

This morning I woke up to a text from my little brother. “Man, update that blog already!

If your little bro is asking for a update on your blog that usually focuses (erm, babbles) on topics  like yellow paint chips, espresso cups and rainboots… I guess it’s about time.

Before we headed to England and Scotland for our trip, I had the best of intentions of writing a few posts and setting them up to publish while I was gone. As you can see, that never happened! I unpacked and repacked by backpack so many times it slipped my mind.

(See how I slipped in the fact that I brought only a backpack like it was no big deal? Quite the accomplishment for a over-packer like myself.)

In a word, our trip was fantastic.

We did cities – London, Edinburgh and Oxford.

We did the countryside – Cotswold and the Lakes district.

I will happily go another 6 months before eating another piece of bacon. The jam, however, will be missed.

With the London Olympics and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee coming up, the stores were packed with memorabilia and we spent our fair share of time shopping.

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” knock-offs are taking the UK by storm. While I still love the original, I’m ready for that trend to end.

Planes, trains and automobiles. And boats. We utilized them all. We drove on the “wrong” side of the road and survived. Although I may have had a few heart palpitations in the process.

While this is by no means a “travel blog”, I will be posting individually about each destination. Reading reviews and posts from other bloggers was the most helpful resource in planning this trip. If you are planning on visiting the UK soon, I found The Londoner, Aspiring Kennedy and Explore.Dream.Discover quite helpful.

Cheers! It’s good to be home.

UK Travel: Got Any Advice?


One of the great things about being a part of this crazy blog-land is learning from and connecting with other people you would never encounter in your day-to-day life.

Therefore, I’d love to get some input from you – my awesome readers!

Moose and I are traveling to the UK next month! We’ve never been there before and I’d love to get any “must-see” suggestions or tips from you guys!

Obviously I’ll be meeting up with my bestie, the Duchess, and we’ll bond over our mutual love for cocker spaniel puppies.


And of course I will be drinking tea. Properly.


I’d love to get any travel suggestions if you’ve spent some time in the UK!

In particular, we will be spending time in London, Edinburgh, St. Andrew’s, the Lakes district (Windermere), the Cotswolds and Oxford.