A Day at the Ulster Folk Museum

Ulster folk museumSituated on the outskirts of Belfast, the Ulster Folk Museum is a nod to days gone by. There is a town with a bank, post office, and printers, to name a few of the common businesses that once would have been important assets to any town. You might even be lucky enough to see some craftsmen and women demonstrating trades like basket weaving and carving.Ulster folk museumAt once you head out of town, you will find a rural school, mills and farm yards.

We visited at Easter, so some special activities had been provided. The kids enjoyed trying their hand at egg rolling…

… and there were a few very socialable bunnies!

Mostly though, we just enjoyed roaming around, exploring whatever sights we came across.

There is also a fully up to date and functional tea shop in town, where I would recommend you try the flat bread pizza!The Ulster Folk Museum is definitely worth a visit, for kids and adults alike!

Pumpkin Styling

I love pumpkins! I have no particular reason for loving pumpkins, I just do. Perhaps it’s because I have quite eclectic taste. My home will never be perfect so instead I embrace the quirkiness.

Pumpkins are a bit like that. They are rarely perfect.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Many with their imperfections on display. Yet if they were all the same they just wouldn’t have the same appeal!

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Sunflowers and Waterfalls

Hello! Only one week left of the summer holidays here in Northern Ireland. It’s always bittersweet for me. I look forward to the return to routine and grieve the loss of spontaneity. However, I have a couple of ideas for a cheap day out, if you are in need of some inspiration until then. Over the past couple of days we visited a Sunflower and Wildflower Field in Portglenone, and the Waterfall Walk at Glenariff Forest.

Sunflower Field Portglenone

Sunflower fields are becoming a very popular phenomena. Hordes of people have been making their way across the country to see these sunny fields.

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Trip to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Newport {Part Three}

Hi there! If you missed the previous posts you can catch up with part one here, or part two here!

Day 5  Hyannis – Newport – Providence Airport

The last morning of our trip we woke to find the Cape had been blanketed in fog. Luckily it lifted before we commenced on our journey to Newport, Rhode Island. As we were catching an evening flight from Providence we thought it would be a good idea to travel to Newport, as it is only 18 miles from the airport.

Newport

Parking in Newport was relatively easy, we had no problems finding a space before we headed into the town to explore. Newport is built around a beautiful harbor, and there are plenty of tourist shops selling seaside and coastal memorabilia.

Harbor area Newport

In fact it was in just one of those shops that we got told off by the shopkeeper. Admittedly I had done very little research on Newport, really only using it as a stopping place en-route to the airport. On hearing this the shopkeeper advised me that at the very least we had to do ‘Ocean Drive’, or we would quite simply have no concept of where we had been!

Thoroughly chastened, but with our interest spiked, we hot-footed it back to the car and set the Sat Nav for Ocean drive. And the lady in the shop – she was absolutely right!

Newport mansions

Mansion on Ocean Drive Newport

First we drove down a tree lined street which homed more mansions than I have ever seen! Apparently some of them are open to visitors, but sadly we didn’t have time to stop and visit or take photos!

View from Ocean Drive Newport

On following the road we found some fabulous scenery.

Gooseneck Cove Salt Marsh

The 10 mile drive could take as little or as long as you please. We stopped for a comfort break at Brenton State Park.

Brenton Point State Park views.

I loved this stretch of the road. Looking out onto the Atlantic, I guess it reminded me a bit of the fabulous coastal roads we have in Northern Ireland. This was something I had expected to find in Cape Cod, and I was disappointed that didn’t seem to be the case.

We also stopped off in Fort Adams State Park. This park is home to an old Fort which was used by the U.S. Army / U.S. Navy. Again, we didn’t have time to explore but it looked interesting, and even without entry to the Fort, the views of Newport Harbor from the park are stunning.

Fort Adams State Park

Fort Adams State Park

All in all, we had a Simply Grand day. I definitely feel like we did a whistle-stop tour of Newport and it very much could be a destination in it’s own right.

We were sad to say goodbye to American soils. We caught our overnight flight from Providence back to Belfast International Airport and Granny was delighted to return the kids into our care.

I do so hope to return some day.

 

 

Trip to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Newport {Part Two}

View Part One here.

Day 3 – Martha’s Vineyard

Off the coast of Cape Cod are two very well known Island’s. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. As we were on such a tight schedule we could only pick one to explore, and I can assure you the choice was not easy. Martha’s Vineyard won out in the end, and what a fabulous adventure it was.

The ferry left from outside our hotel, and just 60 minutes later we were docking in Oak’s Bluff. I knew that the public transport on the island was both cheap and convenient so we headed to the bus stop and bought day passes for about 8 dollars each.

First of all we headed to Edgarstown. I absolutely adored this little village. It had the New England charm that I come in search of.  Delightful washboard shop fronts hosting boutique designers and quirky souvenirs. Because we visited in October, or “fall”, there were also pumpkins, scarecrows and autumn wreaths adorning the doorways of residential and commercial properties.

Edgartown has a great selection of restaurants, and is probably the upscale end of the island. All the local people were friendly and I could have spent much longer walking the quaint tree-lined streets.

The seaside shanty

Next we caught the bus to Aquinnah, an area of serene beauty where white faced cliffs fall to reveal expansive beaches and rhythmic waves.

Aquinnah cliffs

Aquinnah is part of the Wampanoag reservation, with the native american tribe having a long history on the island. The tribe members sell crafts and refreshments to the many tourists that visit the area.

Our final stop was Oaks Bluff where we were catching the ferry back to Hyannis. Of course we had to walk around the gingerbread houses in town.

Gingerbread Houses Martha’s Vineyard

And we spent a pleasant couple of hours browsing through the shops in the area.

Before we knew it the sun had set and it was time to go. I hope to return some day!

Oaks Bluff

Day Four – Route 28,  Hyannis – Harwich – Chatham

On day four we decided to drive Route 28 from Hyannis and see what we could find. What we found was huge sandy beaches, small independent shops and a real sense of the local community.

There were churches selling more pumpkins than you could imagine, deserted beaches and enough New England architecture to please even the most discerning traveller!

Chatham in particular was a beautiful area. I recommend a cocktail on the terrace at Chatham Bars and a visit to Lighthouse beach where you might even be able to see the seals basking in the afternoon sun.

Chatham Bars

Chatham Lighthouse

Lighthouse beach

We thoroughly enjoyed our drive along Route 28 but we found ourselves a bit uncertain about where we could park, so if you are heading that way it may be worth a bit of investigation.

Sadly this was our last night on the Cape, but our adventures weren’t over yet.

Click here to read part three.