My experience of B&B’s in this country has mainly been limited to the ‘oh-my-god-get- me-outta-here’ variety: homes filled to the brim with scary knick-knacks, presided over by a strange couple who follow you from room to room, a list of rules pinned to the door, twitchy net curtains and an artery-clogging fry up delivered under neon strip lighting at an eye-watering 7am in the morning. I feel awkward as though I’m intruding in somebody’s home and have done something wrong, and I almost always experience an overwhelming sense of relief upon leaving.
But not at Corner of Eden, no sirree. This isn’t your average B&B – it’s way too special to lump into the same category. For starters, you’re staying in a beautifully restored Georgian farmhouse amid the scenic Cumbrian hills. The rooms are decorated in a tasteful shabby chic style with artful dabs of ‘wow’ factor, without an atom of naffness. The friendly owners Debbie and Richard have just the right level of attentiveness without being overbearing – and, if you’re very good, they’ll let you take their two Border terriers Max and Cassie for a walk.
But d’you know what really makes this place super special? (obviously I was going to get around to talking about the food!) You get the full use of a well-stocked ‘Butler’s Pantry’ in which you can help yourself to as much local cheese and home made cakes as you can muster, at any time of day. Debbie home bakes all the bread, and her cakes have won first prizes at the local Village Produce Shows. And if you fancy a booze or two, you help yourself to a wide selection and write your drinks down in an ‘honesty book’ and pay upon leaving.
The Butler’s Pantry – marvel at its wonderment:
Even after a massive dinner at the local pub, I found I was perfectly able to force down a slice of Debbie’s chocolate cake (hardly an effort) and a glass of port before bedtime, sitting in front of the log fire in the living room. Richard had put a decanter of his home made sloe gin in our bedroom, in case we felt like a night cap (of course we did). The breakfasts were top rate, too – the eggs come from Debbie and Richard’s hens, the bacon and sausages from the local butcher and the muesli is home made with lashings of delicious coconut and hazelnuts. Upon leaving, Debbie pressed pretty packages of chocolate tiffin slices into our greedy paws so that we didn’t fade away with hunger on the motorway (as if). Brilliant!
Two nights were enough to make us feel super chilled out and rested. But in reality I could have stayed a good while longer. And now that I’m back in the real world, everything seems a bit beige…