What a joy that the weather was kind enough to allow us a chance to visit the seaside. You are certainly never very far from the coast on the island so on our very first day, off we set in search of the sea. We read our various guide books and the comments left by previous visitors to the trailer and headed off the beaten track for Steephill Cove, just along the coast from its more well known cousin, Ventnor.
You park your car in a very narrow makeshift car park at the side of the road, don't park here unless you are confident of your manoeuvres! We trekked down some very steep and narrow steps indeed but we were well rewarded when we finally reached the Cove at the bottom. As we made our way to the beach, I couldn't help stopping to nose at the many lovely traditional seaside-y sights.
Ah, so we needn't have carried our own deck chairs down after all...
This is a very good restaurant (The Boathouse) which is always booked up well in advance. The main restaurant is upstairs but this area is reserved for families so that they can run to and fro to the beach.
Jolly paint and stripes are most definitely the order of the day here.
In very patriotic colours, yes indeed.
Many of the properties along the beach are holiday rentals.
Ah, here it is, says the Munchkin. Sea!
Crikey but it is cold! The Munchkin goes right in for a swim but I am more keen on the look of the deck chairs!
The boys get active with a spot of beach cricket. I join them but frankly, they are not in my league (hee hee!)
After ten minutes of beach cricket, us old fogies had had it so we repaired to our chairs for a snooze in the sun - now where did we put that knotted hanky - while the munchkin got on with some serious construction.
We had a fabulous lunch of freshly cooked crab pasties, eaten right there on the rocks of the beach. Bliss! All that could have made it better was a chilled glass of something white and alcoholic.
I mooched on along the cove, seduced by the gaily painted cafe.
Well, it would have been rude not to sample the local produce...
Reluctantly, late afternoon, we heaved ourselves out of our chairs and panted our way up the hill to the car. We decided to venture into Ventnor where sadly, most of the shops were shut (there is still half day closing on the Isle of Wight and quite a few shops keep their own "unique" opening times!) From a distant view, Ventnor appeared to have an attractive beach too. No, Munchkin, we are not going back to the beach!
Because we're errrm, going here. Golly, how did we happen upon this shop?
Now being the sort of girl who always reads the room notes and escape route info in hotels, I had spotted the words "vintage shop" a mile off in Helen and Fraser's guide back in the Airstream. Imagine my dismay to arrive and find that Suze's Room was shut too. But fear not my dears, there was a note on the door with a mobile number and ten minutes later as if by magic, as Mr Benn would say, the shopkeeper appeared!
Check out that carpet!
I enjoyed a good old natter with Debby and ogled the shop's yummy wares, eventually plumping for a gorgeous vintage teapot and polka dot cup and saucer.
Next day, we set off for the lavender farm but what a great big fat disappointment this place was!
It looked like they'd rather let the surrounding gardens and fields go with the exception of this one area which was indeed very pretty. I was so disappointed though, when we went to the "nursery" to find not only were all the lavender plants for sale really tiny but none of the varieties we'd selected as desirable from the "show" garden were available.
Provence it ain't!
With glee, the boys realise we can make haste to our next destination. Honestly, lavender gardens!
Yes, there is a still a working steam railway on the island and I must admit, a very quaint one it is, too.
The coaches are beautifully restored and we jump on for a ride.
We pass dinky brightly painted signal boxes with glorious rolling fields behind...
...and stop at lovely little country stations.
Next day, we venture to the village of Godshill which is renowned for being very picturesque with cute thatched cottages. Despite the clouds, we are not disappointed.
There are indeed quite a few shops all housed in the promised thatched cottages. This one is a chocolate shop.
This is a touristy gift shop of which the Isle of Wight seems very fond!
Lovely country cottage gardens to go with them...
And one fabulous workspace! I was lured into this courtyard by these gorgeous gypsy caravans, indeed their owner tells me that's just why she put them there.
This is the studio of local painter, Nicola Gibbs, so local that the studio she built with reclaimed materials is just across the gypsy caravan courtyard from her home. Ok, I now need to paint my Den pink!
Obviously, I also need some painted gypsy caravans outside my Den too! Just one more gratuitous shot, pretty please?
The prettiest part of Godshill is the walk up to the church at the top of the hill.
Simply beautiful cottages (several available for rent, maybe next time?)
The church is rather special, too.
Back down in the village we decide to amuse ourselves by going into the model village, Godshill in miniature!
Come on, Munchkin, we can't spend all day looking at the model railway!
We recognise some of the sights we've seen on our walk round the village, notably the pretty church and cottages on the hill. There is even church music playing.
The shops with stocked front windows are pretty cool! All the visiting children are mesmerised. And errm, me too.
This really was a great little place to visit, quite unexpectedly so, I must admit. The Munchkin was given a quiz on the way in which meant we really looked hard at every little nook and cranny in the model village and certainly had our £3.50 worth of entrance fee.
A model village within a model village? The mind boggles.
All too soon, it was our last day on the island and by the time we had packed up our belongings, we had a few hours until the ferry sailing and with an absolutely glorious blue sky overhead, we headed back to the coast, this time to Bembridge, renowned for its seafood and the perfectly situated Crab and Lobster Inn. We luckily found a table outside and treated ourselves to a slap up lunch of the finest fruits of the sea. With the chilled wine this time, oh yes!
Ah, we savoured every last minute of that magical view and breathed every last drop of that crisp sea air.
So what did we think of this little island holiday? Yes, I suppose that pretty much sums it up nicely, Munchkin!