CASI likes to go on day trips. I think it's awesome. It's a fantastic way to take a break from our work, and we all get to go somewhere amazing together. Plus, the trips usually tie into our theme. Last week we went to London (you can read about it here in my post Pilgrimage). This week we fit two locations into one day, since they're pretty close to one another. The first was Lanhydrock Estate. The second was Eden Project. Lanhydrock is an ancient estate that was acquired by the family in the 1600s or so, as the patriarch tried to prove his connection to royalty -- what better way to do so than to buy a massive estate? The family lived there for a couple hundred years, and was in the middle of refurbishing it when it caught fire. The owner and his wife (the family name was Robartes) took advantage of a bad situation and used the fire as an excuse to redo their house. The last owner of the house died in 1966, but he had given the estate to the National Trust in 1953. The Trust owns it now, and it's open to the public.
Lanhydrock sits on a vast expanse of land. There are bike trails around the grounds! There is also a plant nursery, featuring the kinds of plants they grow in their amazing garden.
But we were there to see the estate. The family had four sons fighting in World War I, and the eldest son was killed in action. My friend Ceci and I both love Jane Austen, so this was a treat for us.
I didn't take a ton of photos of the house. I wanted to enjoy it, to savor it, and I couldn't do that with my phone out all the time. Some things just need wonder, unadulterated.
The gardens need that wonder, too, but it was the kind of wonder that compelled me to document it. I love being outside, and I adore flowers. So, of course, this was one of my favorite parts. I was gushing to Ceci over the gorgeous blooms and the neatly clipped lawns and the perfection of this day.
One thing I've discovered about myself on this trip is that I'm kind of a gift shop fiend. But here, the gift shops are so pretty! And I want to remember these places. I usually just buy postcards -- the photos are better than mine, and they're a cheap way to remember a place. But this time, I spotted a pair of pewter earrings shaped like flowers. Ceci made me buy them, and I'm so glad I did! It turns out that the maker, St. Justin's, uses only materials found in Cornwall. So these earrings are a sweet way to remember this beautiful place.
After Lanhydrock, we made the short trip to Eden Project. Eden is basically a massive greenhouse. The site used to be a sterile clay pit. Now it is a vibrant garden, teeming with life. Guys, it is so beautiful. There are two different large greenhouses -- they call them biomes -- that house two different types of habitats: one is the rainforest, the other the Mediterranean. All around these biomes they have built a thriving community of growing things: exhibits highlighting the wonders of the plant world, as well as many crops. My daddy would have loved this place.
We visited the rainforest biome first. We had to take our jackets off; it was pretty hot. But the whole time, we kept remarking that it wasn't nearly as hot as home in Texas. We were so heat-prepared. I should put that on a résumé.
Each biome features the crops that grow in that climate. Rainforest crops include coffee, cacao, sugar, rice, bananas, mangos... The list goes on.
All around the biomes, there are fun things to do and gorgeous plants to see. There is even a Barefoot Walk! I hate shoes, so of course I did that.
I am so thankful to Jesus and my daddy for instilling in me a love of growing things. They are so beautiful, and they declare God's glory and creativity. I was talking to Mom about it, and she said, "You know, that's going to be wonderful in Heaven: all these incredible, beautiful places, side by side."