Remember that impromptu trip I was talking about in my last post? Well, it happened. Last Monday we found ourselves on the road on the way to Devon.
The last time I visited Devon was 7 years ago, long before we moved to Brighton. It seemed like only yesterday we scoured the South Coast looking for the perfect place to live. The English Riviera didnt turn out to be the perfect place back then, but after this week, little fragments of me still wish that I could live in the silence of the fields that lie through Devon forever. They remind me so much of the simplicity and serenity that Cheshire, my former childhood home, promised, but did not bring. Reticent, pure, untouched.
Tuesday morning we headed out for morning to Brixham. Approached from the sea, this tiny town personifies the classic English fishing port, mixing tradition with a modern vibrant industry, and its beautiful, friendly people echo its energy. And those little colours houses cascading down either side of the harbour? Honestly, that view has to be one of the prettiest things I’ve seen along the South Devon coast.
We visited Totnes.
In spite of its modest size, Totnes is vibrant, quirky and refreshingly different. Where local culture hasn’t been concreted over by a Tesco Superstore. It was alive, delightfully eccentric and full of unique shops, a thriving arts and crafts scene, and a fantastic selection of eateries….yes, even for vegans.
Infact I actually found Totnes to be something of a veggie hotspot. There were no less than 3 vegetarian restaurants in close proximity – Fat lemons, Willow, and Seeds 2. Seeds 2 has to be one of the most beautiful establishments I’ve ever set foot in (and Ive been in a few living in Brighton). I picked up this beautiful toasted nut burger and learned that the bread had been baked on site that morning.
(Sweet potato + Chickpea Curry – Willow Restaurant, Totnes)
We returned to Totnes the following day for lunch to get an extra helping of the magic we’d experienced the day before, lunching in Willow. This place is Wholesome and rustic and reminds me of one my more local Iydea, back home in Brighon. Serving locally sourced, organic ingredients, Willow definitely isn’t just a restaurant, but an eatery that serves (damned good) food for the soul.
Oh, and Exeter?
What a delight.
Not only was the city itself charming, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon The Plant Cafe overlooking the green front of Exeter Cathedral. An adorable delicatessen/cafe with food options including little savoury tarts in enticing flavour combinations such as chickpea and potato and caramelised onion with a cream cheese filling, mixed salad platters, fresh soups, warm panini’s, layered risotto slices, fritters – the menu was vast and exquisite.
(Mixed salad box from The Plant Cafe)
There is something about Devon that is incredibly freeing and cleansing. Maybe its the miles and miles of seemingly untouched green space. The quiet echoes of the birds that wake you at the perfect time each morning. Or maybe its being at one with nature (everywhere), which means that you are always, somehow forced to be at one with yourself. Whatever the reason, Devon has made it back to the top of my list of happy places after this week. And I’m already planning my next escape.
Where is your happy place?