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July 22, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

Beatrix Potter brings us back to our childhood

When Peter Pan, Wendy and the gang flew across the London skyline to Never Never land, they must have dropped some “never grow up” potion in the water system, because after this past weekend in Cumbria, frolicking around Beatrix Potter’s properties, I’m pretty sure Amy and I drank from the fountain of youth.

Cumbria, England

Cumbria, England

We were deciding all week between checking out Jane Austen’s moors or Beatrix Potter’s Lake District, and chose Mrs. Potter because of our need to digress from real life and revert back to younger-year simplicity for a few days with some of our favorite childhood friends. And as we predicted, nothing says good-bye stress, hello happiness like Peter Rabbit and the flopsy bunnies running around our B&B’s backyard.

Cumbria, England

Cumbria, England

Stepping foot off the ferry and into the real Beatrix Potter land felt like walking into a storybook. We had Jeremy Fisher on one side trying to catch his dinner, and Jemima Puddle-Duck on the other, searching high and low for the safest place to hatch her eggs. I could go on and tell you that Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was to our southeast pressing our linens, and to the northwest was Benjamin Bunny, helping that troublesome Peter find his clothes, but I think you get the picture — we were immersed in fairytale, and it was fabulous.

The little village we stayed in, Near Sawrey, was as peaceful as they come. It was the first time since Ireland that I actually heard pure, uninterrupted silence (besides the sheep, who get quite chatty after 11 p.m.).  I realized after a few hours there how much I miss the little things that make life sweet, like the smell of a campfire, clear nights to stargaze, and responding to the name “Stephanie” (the B&B owner misheard my name as Daphne, and for some really smart reason I didn’t correct him, leaving me to respond with a smiling “yes” as to whether or not Daphne wanted more coffee).

Hill Top -- Beatrix Potter's house, Cumbria, England

Hill Top — Beatrix Potter’s house, Cumbria, England

Still high on life and Peter Pan’s youth potion, Amy and I spent all of Saturday exploring anything and everything Beatrix Potter. Our first stop was Hill Top, her working house where the creative magic happened. We saw the desks she sat at along with the garden views that inspired her to create the classics we know and love today. I inherited my mom’s love for Peter Rabbit, so every time I saw a bunny in her front garden I got giddy with excitement (even though they were strategically placed there for tourists like me).

Hill Top -- Beatrix Potter's house, Cumbria, England

Hill Top — Beatrix Potter’s house, Cumbria, England

The next stop was Beatrix Potter World, which the B&B owner told us was really only for the younger crowd. But if Mr. B&B knew anything about Daphne and Amy, he’d know they were heavily under the influence of childhood nostalgia mixed with Peter Pan potion, and therefore more than young enough at heart to enjoy it.

And I honestly believe that whether you’re young, old, or some (unspoken) age in between, remembering Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle or Hunca Munca will bring  a smile to your face on any occasion. And I know personally that her most famous opening: “Once upon a time there were four little rabbits,” will get me, (and Daphne), to smile with childhood happiness every time.


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