Why Rye?

When we told our friends, who are English, that we visited Rye in East Sussex, their response was, “Why Rye?” And it is true the civil parish with a population of 4000 has no National Trust sites, no world-renowned museums, or mansions with extensive grounds; but it has historic charm and provided a pleasant—and most needed—stop on our way to Canterbury, Kent.

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Petworth Stately Mansion & Extensive Grounds

While still in West Sussex we went to visit Petworth, another National Trust property. As we walked the “extensive grounds” from the car park to the stately mansion I was reminded of a line in Jane Austen’s novel Emma: “People who have extensive grounds themselves are always pleased with any thing in the same style.” Well, I don’t have extensive grounds but still appreciated the 700-acre deer park surrounding the mansion that was designed and transformed by noted landscape architect, Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

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Thomas Hardy: a love/hate relationship no more

Today we visited two more National Trust sites: Hardy’s Cottage, where Thomas Hardy, the author, was born; and Max Gate, the home he designed and lived in later in life. Had it not been for my sister’s interest in seeing the sites, I might not have visited the locations due to my love/hate relationship with Thomas Hardy’s literature, and I would have missed out on reading the interesting and at times witty correspondence from some of Max Gate’s most notable visitors.

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