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?