Thursday, July 26, 2018

You had me at toile-oh! Miller Howe B & B in England's Lake District boasts beautiful views, tea poached fruit and a visit from The Queen

Tea time at the Ullswater Balcony at Miller Howe

The Lake District in northern England is beautiful with its rolling hills, towering trees and crystal- blue inland lakes that dot the landscape for miles. The scenery alone is a reason to visit this area,  but
add a B & B that has balcony views, gourmet dining, toile curtains, and a visit from  Queen Elizabeth and you will have upped the Lake District ante with a stay at Miller Howe  in Windemere.

The charming cottage design of Miller Howe let us know, we had found someplace special

In May of this year, my husband, Chris, and I retraced the route of a cycling trip he took in England when he was a young lad of nineteen. He loved this part of Great Britain and vowed to take me there some day. A few (ahem) decades later, and replacing a bike with a car,  Chris and I toured this enchanting area, making our first overnight stop at Miller Howe.

Queen Elizabeth visited  in 2013, the 60th anniversary of her coronation. Her lunch included smoked salmon and fruit tarts.

I found this B & B through Google searches and an exhaustive investigation of travel sites. It looked wonderful, but you never really know a place until you stay there and, for me,  there's always a moment of trepidation just before approaching  any new accommodations. But at Miller Howe, as soon as we pulled up the drive, where we were met by a  charming cream colored cottage fa├žade,  I knew we were someplace special. Moments later, when we were shown our room on the second floor, the door opened to reveal a picturesque lakeview from a doorwall framed by blue and white  toile drapes, the latter pattern being one of my favorite obsessions (toile finds its way "in" many of my annual "in and out" lists).  I was ticking more items in my mental checklist than I even had considered.

  • Lake views and toile, check, check. 
  • Molton Brown accessories (wasn't aware of these luxury toiletries until this stay), so yes, now - check.
  • An old fashion copper tub for a relaxing soak, check.
  • A room without a number, but a name, in our case, "Ullswater", check.

And, that's just the room!

Lake views and toile drapes! Check and check!!

Molton Brown toiletries
Cooper tub for a relaxing soak

Views of the lake even in the bathroom.

A room with a name, not a number. We had Ullswater.

After we had a cup of tea on the balcony, we made reservations for dinner at the conveniently located restaurant in Miller Howe. An exceptionally scrumptious foodie offering of small, but filling, plates, was kick-started with a delightful appetizer served on the patio.

Appetizers on the patio
Dressed for dinner, patio before dining room

Once inside the dining room, our table was filled with silver accouterments.  I ordered fish and - hold on to your fascinator - my set of utensils included a fish knife! Check!

(As an etiquette consultant, seeing a fish knife - which, granted,  has come in and out fashion for over a century - caused me much - perhaps, some may say, too much - felicity.)

Fish fork among the silver utensils, surely the same as set before The Queen!

Before settling in, we did a quick tour of the hotel. It was at this time we discovered The Queen of England had visited Miller Howe in 2013, the year marking the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty's coronation.  According to  the B & B staff who were there that day, The Queen was so very pleasant and friendly. The lunch they served Queen Elizabeth included smoked salmon and I bet she had a fish knife, too!

There are pictures and mementos shrined in the front hall to mark the incredible honor bestowed on Miller Howe.

  • Stay where The Queen has dined. Check 

Lambs frolicking in the rolling hills outside our balcony

After dinner, we climbed the stairs to Ullswater and from our balcony watched the bucolic setting before us, as playful little sheep got in one last frolic before sundown on the  rolling hills below.

  • Frolicking lambs, check
  • Beautiful sunset, check

Sunset at Miller Howe

Although it seemed we were done with the checklist, as there couldn't possibly be more to achieve in this delightful B & B, we went down for breakfast and at the extraordinary buffet, we found, in addition to several tantalizing savories, fruit poached in tea!   Specifically, there were Earl Grey poached apricots and raspberry tea poached prunes - they were real and they were spectacular!

  • Tea poached fruit, check!

Our breakfast buffet included tea poached fruit.

We were enamored with Miller Howe and vow to be back when we visit the Lake District again (doing the math, we can't really hold off another 40 years). The only thing left to do after breakfast, was to sign out and settle up. It was time for our last check, which was well worth it all!

Check, check, check! Plan to be back, will not wait another 40

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