Kedleston Hall

The Marble Hall. It is absolutely stunning in person!

We had a wonderful, quiet Sunday morning (well, Cathy drove the sitter home while I chilled out with my baby on the couch!), then I happily took up Cathy on her offer to see Kedleston Hall, which is another of Derbyshire’s stately homes that features jaw-dropping Robert Adam architecture (perfectly preserved upstairs) and the wonderful Indian collection of the late Lord and Lady Curzon.

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Chatsworth’s Masqued Ball (or “Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice!”)

I stepped upstairs to get a shot of The Painted Hall from above. Beautiful space for a soiree!

When my husband first surprised me with this special trip, it was early enough that I’d have time to put together my costume for the masquerade ball at the end … but, naturally, grandiose schemes were the first to cross my mind! I could totally see making a 1780s take on the White Queen, from panniers to a towering powdered wig! Then common sense (and the deadline and my actual suitcase space) reined me in, and I decided to go for something far less ambitious but still fun.

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Christmastime in London and Derbyshire

As a very early Christmas surprise in 2014, my husband gave me a small gift bag in November and asked me to open it. When I unwrapped the tissue paper inside, I found what looked like a Mardi Gras mask and felt completely puzzled. “You’re sending me to New Orleans?” I asked, incredulously. He laughed and told me to guess again.

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Hardwick Hall

Driving into Derbyshire Was every bit as enchanting as when my husband and I visited on our tenth anniversary, and it was wonderful to find the lovely village of Bakewell just as I remembered it. We checked into our hotel, which is where Jane Austen most likely stayed when she visited Chatsworth in 1811 and revised Pride and Prejudice. Standing in the room identified as Jane’s, you can look out the window and picture “Lambton” exactly as Elizabeth Bennett saw it in the novel, including the village green and the long road leading directly up to the inn.

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