I mentioned back in January we were getting ready to run off to warmer weather near the end of February, and we did find warmer weather. The post just before we left was all about the arctic temperatures gripping western Pennsylvania, so, finding weather in the 40s was a major improvement. We hoped for a little sunshine, but that might have been a tall order for Dorset on southwest coast of England. The warm welcome we received was more than enough to thaw our bones and shake off the drizzle.
Paul and Kate Wiscombe are proprietors of the Anchor Inn in Seatown, a tiny village at end of a long one-lane road flanked by hedgerows along the Dorset coast. (They’re also our friends; Zeke met Kate and her sister, Anna, on his first trip to Greece many moons ago.) The inn and its associated pub – founded in 1790 — lay right along the water in a small valley created by two of the large, craggy cliffs that dominate the shoreline.
I have known Kate for almost 20 years now. We’ve managed to stay in touch, first by writing letters and then by email, but only managed to meet in person twice in those intervening years. That’s why this trip was so important; we both realized it had been way too long since we sat down across a table and shared stories about our lives. I doubt you’re too interested at hearing stories about children and families you don’t know, so we’ll focus on the best Inn we’ve ever encountered.
The Anchor Inn Seatown is a bed and breakfast and pub with classic whitewashed walls and a thatched roof, sitting right on the beach with the waves of the Atlantic crashing to shore a stone’s throw away. From the outside it’s everything you’d expect of a quintessential English, seaside structure.
You enter the pub/check-in desk off the large stone patio. The bartender was expecting us and showed us up to our room. I had seen pictures of the rooms, and don’t know what I was expecting, but was absolutely blown away by what we saw.
The spacious room (called Thorncombe) was filled with light and looks as though it popped right out of a designer’s catalogue. A leather love seat, a table made from a rusted trunk, a very large bed and the repurposed wooden end tables all added to the effect of being someplace special.
And then there was the bathroom. When I think of bathrooms in England, I think tiny, cold and dark (this impression is based off my first experiences in the country). But this time I found what may be my dream bathroom. The large room included twin sinks, mirrors that looked like repurposed portholes, a huge shower, and — in a separate section — a large claw-footed soaker tub. I want this bathroom when I grow up.
The other rooms in the inn were decorated with equal elegance, to add to its romantic atmosphere. Our breakfast was served in a small room of the pub, decorated with photos and knickknacks sharing the history of the community. You could order a full English breakfast (if you felt up to the delicious challenge!), or stick with simpler fare, like cereal or toast. We never felt hurried to get in and out, and used that time to plan our day and figure out which way to go exploring.
I’m sure I will say this several times in the next few posts, but the inn, regardless of the fact that we’re friends with the owners, was one of the most romantic places we’ve ever been.
I look forward to telling you more about the pub, the food, the things that went right and the things that went wrong — and how we rolled with all of it to make our trip a wonderful little escape.
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