Welcome to 'Kelly's Guide'...
A sort of Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island," from a lovely Goathland Guest House instead! Here you'll find local information, news from the house, short tales and observations and anything else which springs to mind as I type.
Well, February 2015 has well and truly landed – there’s a smattering of snow outside with everywhere looking like a ski resort, yet brave sections of our garden appear to believe winter is on its way out, with bulbs poking up through the soil and the jasmine half out in lovely yellow flowers. Roll on Spring!
And to mum’s delight – as it means better weather and lighter nights are starting to feel a little bit closer – yesterday we heard the steam trains stretching their legs before February half-term. The occasional horn and the sight of steam rising over the moors over the first school holidays of the year, is a sure sign that the railway’s main timetable will soon be up and running – daily between 14th and 22nd February with the main timetable commencing 28th March. And as the year rolls around quicker than we can keep tabs on, it leaves you with just 23 days left to sneak in a ‘Winter Warmer’ breakwith us - the link from the homepage will show you sample menus and the tariff.
Goodness, we’re already in the sixth week of 2015 – when did that happen? Perhaps the days have slipped by unnoticed whilst we’ve been busy with an early Spring-clean! This winter was to be about re-doing paintwork and a freshening-up everywhere, but… we ended up completely redecorating Room 7 and then Room 5 – photos to follow here and on Facebook once they’re ready for the ‘big reveal’! Once the house has enjoyed his fair share of TLC, we should be able to get into the garden. Though we’ve noticed that the diary is looking very busy for the coming weeks so we best get our skates on!
Though our hard work continues to pay dividends, as our efforts were, (somewhat wonderfully), recognised again with our ‘Traveller’s Choice’ Award from Trip Advisor being awarded again for the 2015 season (our fourth consecutive year.) And in the words of Trip Advisor, “… Traveller’s Choice Award is the highest honour a hotel can receive from the Trip Advisor community. It’s based on the reviews and opinions of millions of travellers, and is awarded only to a very select and distinguished group of hotels.” So we’d like to say thank you very much to those who have stayed with us and then reviewed your stay on the site. Long may it continue!
What else? Well, as we scoot around the area walking the dogs, we’re noticing that the abundance of sheep for which Goathland is renowned, are looking more than a little rotund! Another sure sign that Spring can’t be far away is the imminent arrival of thousands of lambs… a time of year in the area when we find our guests spend much longer over breakfast - watching playful lambs on The Common from the dining room window and forget that there’s such a thing as TV as the new additions provide far more entertainment, causing all manner of mischief!
And my research for the February ‘What’s On’ guide shows Burton Agnes Hall opening their “Snowdrop Spectacular” throughout February – Winter really does have to make way for Spring soon. Scarborough hosts “Coastival” on 13th and 14th a festival of everything, based at the Spa complex but with pop-ups around the town. And York hosts its infamous Viking Festival from the 14th –22nd, with daily activities around the town and Jorvik and the York Eye. The ‘Best Beard’ competition (open to men, women and children, I can only wonder!) anyone? The Moors Centre at Danby reopens on a daily basis from Saturday 14th, with exhibitions and events throughout.
You might like to know, for example, that if you've had a leisurely Saturday hopping on and off the NYM Steam Railway, eaten an ice-cream or two and whiled away an hour watching the sheep nibble their way up The Common, that you won't need to drive down to Whitby to enjoy fish and chips... Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights is a great spot, with picnic benches in the garden outside so you can enjoy fish and chips at their best - open, in paper, in the sunshine!
Ever heard about the little pub you just have to visit in Beck Hole? Just a mile from Goathland by car and little less to walk down the Rail Trail... The Birch Hall is one of the best and smallest pubs in Britain, complete with sweet shop and beer garden. Enjoy a 'Beck Hole Butty' and a pint of 'Beck Watter'!
Sandsend... glorious beaches, good coffee and cake at both 'Sandside' and 'Wit's End', art gallery, pub, a 'foodies' shop and just a couple of miles north of Whitby town centre. Perfect. But don't tell anyone else about it!
For fish and chips, 'The Magpie' is rightly famous. Cue the queues! Alternatively head over the swing bridge into the old town and keep to the right... you'll find Hadley's. It's good. And Fortune's own-smoked kippers (find them on Henrietta Street), can even be posted home for you.
For a walk from our doorstep, follow the Rail Trail down to Grosmont - head to the Geall's Art Cafe for coffee and cake to set you up for the walk back. Or pope into the Old School House Coffee Shop for a slice or scrumptious chocolate cake. And you can even cheat and catch the train back to Goathland Station.
One of our favourite 'drives' starts by heading out of Goathland towards Egton, then up through Glaisdale and on to Danby. If you're peckish en route, stop in Lealholm for a home-baked treat from the bakery and enjoy it whilst looking at fantastic views towards the North Sea. Beyond Danby you'll find Castleton before circling back towards Hutton-le-Hole. Stop off at the Red Lion at Blakey Ridge for a spot of lunch or just a cheeky drink. By Hutton-le-Hole you might need to stretch your legs around the shops and if you forfeited lunch after your hearty Fairhaven breakfast, head to the Blacksmith's at Lastingham for an early dinner and then head towards Pickering for a straightforward drive back to Goathland, or towards Stape for a more adventurous route across the top of the moors!
What's happening now?
And right now? Well we’re in our usual mid-week whirlwind of activity (come half-term, this ‘luxury’ will disappear with a much busier diary!) Paint brushes, wallpaper, cleaning kits, boiler servicing, window cleaning, you name it, we’re doing it. Then along comes Friday and in go the cakes and scones, the pies, bakes and puddings and we get back to the B&B business. Until Monday, when it’s awaiting the arrival of some new beds, swapping new light fittings in, spring-cleaning the lounge after the chimney is swept… there’s never a dull moment! But for you, it’s all about you… and some R&R!
Hopefully, that’s whet your appetite. If you’d like to see off the winter in style and need a quick reminder that spring is on its way, come and join us. There are wonderful views, glorious walks, empty beaches and miles of un-chartered heather moors right outside the front door and within a few miles in each direction. Inside, there are 15-tog quilts, an open fire, a well-stocked bar, a kettle that’s rarely off the boil and more books, films and cds than you could shake a stick at. I can think of few things better than a few days away doing nothing more taxing than planning the next walk, via which pub and tea room and working up a healthy appetite for dinner after a hearty breakfast. We look forward to seeing you soon!