If you have been lucky enough to travel through England’s countryside, or just daydreamed about it, you will enjoy Susan Allen Toth’s My Love Affair with England and her “thumbprint” travel guide, England as You like It.
Toth’s “thumbprint” philosophy makes a strong and delightful case for staying in one place for at least a few days or even a week or two, taking the time to explore England’s walking trails, gardens, and landmarks (big and small) off the more touristy well-beaten paths.
My own love affair with England has been with me all of my life. Both parents trace family roots back to this tiny island, and when I finally arrived on English soil, it felt like home. Like Toth, I found Cornwall enchantingly spooky, the Lake District filled with serene mysterious mists, and the Cotswolds the place I would prefer to live above all others.
Quirky at the very least, travel in the English countryside requires research, planning, good maps (and someone who knows how to read them) and a keen sense of adventure. Know now that while both countries speak English, we do not speak the same language. It’s good advice to learn about the people and their customs before you travel anywhere – even inside the United States. Travel is more than sightseeing or eating “exotic food,” it is the relationships you create with the people you meet. This is especially true when you spend more time in one area.
Toth provides helpful (though possibly outdated) information in England as You like It. Published before the Internet made instant connections, it can still provide a road map of where to look to find that perfect cottage, hotel, or bed and breakfast, and ways not to miss the England most travelers simply pass by.
Both books were published in the mid 1990’s, and may not be available at your local bookshop. They can be purchased online or are available at your city library.
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