Photo by Suzanne Parker.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Photo by Paul
Dear Garden Enthusiast,
Welcome to COOPERSMITH'S, North America’s
oldest and most trusted garden tour company. As we begin our 30th
year, I find myself thinking back to what it was like when we started
out, and reflecting on some of the more exciting changes that have
enhanced our travels since then.
Back in the 1980’s, when we focussed
primarily on Great Britain, it was an ongoing challenge to find
country inns and manor house hotels that, in addition to beautiful
surroundings, comfortable accommodations, and old-world ambiance,
offered meals worth writing home about. By the late ‘90’s, however,
a change was in the air. Nowadays, following a revolution in British
cuisine that has been nothing short of breathtaking, hotels and
inns in the UK are as likely to be known for their cordon bleu cooking
as they are for the comeliness of their rooms, or the bucolic countryside
in which they are situated.
Two award-winning establishments that
came to our attention several years ago, and now consistently receive
rave reviews from our clients, are Baba Hine’s Corse Lawn House
in the Cotswolds,
and Catherine and Martin McAlpine’s Ty Mawr Mansion in Wales.
Both of these country house hotels in idyllic settings host our
groups for a week at a time, serving meals that have won accolades
in the prestigious Good Food Guide (UK) and elsewhere. The Blakeney
Hotel in Norfolk
has also impressed us with its culinary prowess, and will be featured
again in 2014.
The gastronomic renaissance that has
transformed the experience of dining out in Great Britain has parallels
in other Northern European countries. If you have not been to Scandinavia
lately, you may be surprised to learn that the “New Nordic” cuisine
is both attracting and producing a number of the world’s most celebrated
chefs. On Norway
& St. Petersburg: A Midsummer Journey we’ll get to sample some
of the very best of that new wave in cooking, which has resulted
in a constellation of Michelin stars being awarded throughout Scandinavia.
A second dramatic change that has occurred
in recent years is the ease with which one can travel in places
that formerly were part of the USSR. Although a visa is still required
to enter Russia, once there one is free to tour this fascinating
country in a way that would have been unimaginable not that long
ago. On that same midsummer journey referred to, above, we’ll get
an insider’s look at St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s grand and
elegant 18th-century city that has rapidly become one of the world’s
most sought-after destinations.
What has not changed over the course
of 30 years are the seemingly limitless opportunities to give our
clients those once-in-a-lifetime experiences they will always cherish.
In 2014 we will again be the guests of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire
at palatial Chatsworth House in the Peak
District, the subject of a recent three-part BBC documentary.
And I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve managed to book two
in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire
Gardens & Stately Homesinto the Earl of Carnarvon’s spectacular
Highclere Castle, known to people around the world as the location
for the mini-series, “Downton Abbey.” We’ll also visit Bampton,
the historic Cotswolds-stone hamlet where the Downton wedding ceremonies,
Mrs. Patmore’s shopping jaunts, and other village-related activities
take place. Talk about a day to remember!
Come join us in 2014. And see for yourself
what makes our tours truly One-of-a-Kind™!
|Paul at Borough Market, London. Borough
has become one of the largest and finest open-air food markets
in all of Europe. Photo by Suzanne Parker.
private tours, [by] a luxury garden tour specialist..."
— Martha Stewart Weddings
company that specializes in small groups [where members] are
often taken to private gardens rarely seen..."
— The New York Times
wife recently had the good fortune to meet and speak with
[famous English horticulturalist] Penelope Hobhouse, who recommended
your garden tour as one of the two best in Europe..."
Espy, Jr., Dothan, Alabama