Monday, April 16, 2012

A Visit to My Happy Place- Glenfinnan, Scotland

By Alexa Bourne

Most people have a "happy place", a place they can go to when the harsh realities of life become too difficult to bear. Some have a physical place they can visit and some can only travel there in their minds. Today I'd like to take you on a virtual tour of my happy place, Glenfinnan, Scotland.

Glenfinnan is a small village in the Highlands of Scotland. The population averages around 120 people at any one time. The village is about 17 miles from Fort William and it's a stop along the Road to the Isles, or the trip toward Mallaig on the west coast. The village has a rich history and is absolutely gorgeous. It sits on the edge of Loch Shiel. I first heard of this place as the birthplace of one of my favorite movie characters, Connor MacLeod of the 1986 movie Highlander. It has also been used in scenes of Harry Potter movies.

I first explored this place for myself in 1997 while on a 3-day tour of the Scottish Highlands that started in Edinburgh. We only spent a few hours in Glenfinnan, but it was enough for the peacefulness and the beauty to find its way into my heart.The next time I visited, my mom and I spent an overnight there. We stayed at the Prince's House. It is a quaint little B & B where the staff treated you as if you were a friend coming back from a long trip away. I remember we sat in the restaurant/bar room for dinner and the owner talked one of her other guests into pulling out his fiddle and playing some music for us. It was an amazing experience. I remember walking outside the hotel at 11 pm to take a picture because it was still quite light out, an experience I hadn't had before.

My next trip to Glenfinnan was on my own. I stayed in a different hotel, the Glenfinnan House Hotel, closer to the loch. It was quite a bit bigger than my 1st hotel, but the staff was just as friendly. I chose to stay 2 nights this time so I could explore a bit more of the grounds while I was there. I sat in the lobby next to the crackling fire and wrote. I moved into the bar for afternoon tea and sat by the window to look out over the front yard and the loch. I ate an exquisite dinner in the dining room that even now leaves my mouth watering as I think about it, and then I went back to the bar to listen to local music and stories.

Even though I haven't been back in five years, I still think of Glenfinnan often. When my own life gets too out of control, I just shut my eyes, take a deep breath and remember how I felt when I stayed there. Over my next few blog posts here, I will be taking you further into the depths of my "happy place" to show you why I love it so much. We'll explore the hotels, the monument and the church. I'm looking forward to bringing you more information in the coming months. Maybe, just maybe I can convince some of you to visit next time you're in Scotland!

7 comments:

Renee Vincent said...

Great post Alexa, I can see why this is your "happy place." Love those pictures of Scotland...*big sigh*

Vonda Sinclair said...

Fantastic post! I always enjoy your travel posts, especially those about Scotland. I can see why this is your happy place. It's beautiful!

Victoria Roberts said...

Alexa, I can see why you chose Glenfinnan as your happy place. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

It won't take much effort to convince me any place in Scotland would be a happy place. We were in the Glenfinnan area and offhand I don't know if we stopped there or not. The photos are gorgeous and I look forward to reading more and seeing more of your adventures.

Alexa said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm pretty excited to share more details with everyone about the place.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Lovely post, Alexa. I'll be sure to put Glenfinnan on our itinerary when I visit Scotland with DH. Is there hiking near by?

Alexa said...

LOL, I'm not much of a hike so I can't say for sure. But I know there are some simple walking trails around. I'm the type to sit in the pub with a pint & watch everyone else hike. :-)