Dreams of Lakes

An acquaintance having, in a morning call, bored him dreadfully about some tour he had made in the North of England, enquired with great pertinacity of his impatient listener which of the lakes he preferred ? when Brummell, quite tired of the man’s tedious raptures, turned his head imploringly towards his valet, who was arranging something in the room, and said, ” Robinson.” ” Sir.” ” Which of the lakes do I admire ? ” ” Windermere, sir,” replied that distinguished individual. ” Ah, yes, — Windermere,” repeated Brummell, ” so it is, — Windermere.”

From The Life of George Brummell by William Jesse.

I’m not able to pull off such elegant snark myself and I’d find it hard to act blasé about lakes. I love ‘em. I visited the Lake District several times during a three year international assignment in England. Windermere is lovely, but my favorite is probably Ullswater of Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” fame. My husband and I rented a canoe to go out there on a truly picturesque sort of day, when the weather couldn’t make up its mind to be fair or rainy. I loved the play of light over the water and surrounding hills and didn’t mind the sprinkle of rain that eventually sent us to seek a nice pub lunch in Glenridding. Later, I would set one of my early Regencies, THE INCORRIGIBLE LADY CATHERINE, in the same region.

I am thinking of lakes because I’m currently planning a summer vacation in the Finger Lakes. Vacation planning helps me get through the cold, dark doldrums of January! Anyway, we were hoping to go to England last summer, but my husband’s stroke made it impossible to go anywhere. This year, I promised the family and myself that we would do something fun, even if not as ambitious.

So, along with my brother and his family, we’re renting a cottage in the Finger Lakes, complete with a pebble beach and kayaks. It’s not far and there are wineries to visit (I love the Finger Lakes Chardonnays and Rieslings), gorges and waterfalls and some cool museums for rainy day excursions (the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca and the Corning Museum of Glass, where I can get lost for hours in the art galleries.)

A fantasy destination for me would be the Italian lakes Como, Garda and Maggiore, with their spectacular scenery, Mediterranean climate, architecture and literary associations. It was
Shelley who said Lake Como ‘exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty’.

Are you planning any fun vacations? Do you have any favorite lake destinations, real or fantasy? Any favorite romances with a lake setting?


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12 years ago

Ah the lakes and rivers of my birth home. Here in Cyprus the drought conditions deprive me of river walks and fishing by a lake.
I used to live in Constable country, home of the artist John Constable. We walked the river path every weekend, if I go back again, I will treasure each moment.

12 years ago

I once chose a bus tour of Scotland on the premise that it traversed the length of Loch Ness. My favorite lake to visit is Lake Yellowstone. I worked at the hotel there, many, many, many summers ago. It didn’t pay well, and the food wasn’t spectacular. The scenery was worth every moment. It is gorgeous and remarkable. I took my dog twice and stayed in one of the cabins.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

I am all envy at these lake visits. I once visited Lake Erie in winter time. I don’t know when I’ve ever been so cold!

Elena Greene
12 years ago

Glynis, just the thought of strolling in Constable country makes me ache to go back to England. Someday.

Judy, I just looked up some sites on Yellowstone. Now adding it to my future travels wish list.

Diane, I grew up in Cleveland, near Lake Erie! In the depths of winter, when the edge is frozen over, people go out and walk on the lake (though not a very safe thing to do and my parents never let us).

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I would love to visit the Lake District one day (soon!). I enjoy vacations near the water so much, but I don’t get the chance often. Thanks for the lovely pics and the vicarious voyage 🙂

12 years ago

I love lakes. The Adirondacks in Upstate New York has many wonderful small lakes. They are perfect for a lazy day of canoeing. Most are tucked in the mountains and surrounded by forest and too many camps. I grew up there and love going back to visit.
We head to D.C. next Saturday to spend a week and are bringing our grandson. Have tickets for a White House tour and a Capitol tour. Will be spending a lot of time at the Smithsonian. I am praying for good weather. We lived there for 5 years and if it snow, we know we are in big trouble.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

If you mean this week coming, librarypat, you are in luck. Our temps are rising from the teens of last week to more normal 40s and even 50s. I hope you have a wonderful time!

Elena Greene
12 years ago

Have a great time, librarypat, and may the weather cooperate for you!

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

When I was a kid my family used to go on hiking holidays in the Lake District. I think I’ve only ever been back there once, to Windermere.

Your vacation sounds like fun, Elena. I have no plans other than going to a couple of conferences.

12 years ago

Nothing better than swimming in a lake, river or stream. My family has been vaationing at Blue Lakes in Lake County in California for years. It’s a bit out of the way, and definately overshadowed by Clear Lake nearby, but I’d much rather spend a week in the summer at the Narrows Lodge.

Jane George
12 years ago

I grew up near Green Lake, Wisconsin. It’s the deepest natural inland lake in Wisconsin and home to many mysterious creatures.

In the sixties’ winters, all my adult relatives would snowmobile around the lake from tavern to tavern. Or ice fish. I stayed home and made snow angels.

But swimming in that lake during the summer was intense. Beautiful, but the water isn’t clear and you could never quite see what that thing was that just swam past your leg.

Margaret Evans Porter
12 years ago

Both my houses are located on New England lakes, one small and one large, and I can’t possibly choose a favourite. The big one is the reason I moved here; the little one is where I found my dream home.

My favourite British lake…difficult to choose. Buttermere in Cumbria. Llyn Mymbyr, the twin lakes at Capel Curig, North Wales, which boast Mount Snowdon as a backdrop.

Valerie L.
Valerie L.
12 years ago

The Finger Lakes of New York are our own little Lake District! My favorite is not one of the big guys, but little Skaneatlas Lake. The scenery is spectacular, the town around it quaint and the lake is always cold and refreshing even on the hottest day of summer. My family had a cottage on Otisco Lake nearby and I have many fond memories of that whole area. Enjoy!

Elena Greene
12 years ago

Cool to see so many other lake-lovers here. Jane George, I love the sound of those mysterious creatures. My family used to go camping on a river in Canada where there were some really huge muskies (similar to pike). I was always a little scared one would come up from the depths to bite my feet, but I loved swimming there anyway!

Valerie L, I’ll have to check out Skaneateles sometime. So far we’ve concentrated on the lakes with wineries around them.

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