A Virtual Day Trip

1 May
Watercolor and ink sketch of gravel beach, wood groyne going down to ocean, and a row of white houses.

I’m spending a lot of time these days going through photographs. I’m finally taking my own advice and PRINTING! I’ll tell you more about that later; for now, though, I’ve come across images from almost exactly one year ago and thought it might be a good time to share them. I know many of us could use a little virtual travel these days!

Last May, I once again tagged along on Marc’s business trip to London. And while hubby was busy slogging away (I always feel guilty about seeing new things while he’s working), my buddy Jonathan and I hopped on a train for a day trip to Whitstable, a seaside town about 65 miles southeast of London.

It was still off-season so the town was quiet and some things were closed, but the weather was perfect!

Harbor with metal rusty metal bar and chains in foreground, bright red and blue fishing boats against a pier in the background.
We made our way down the hill from the train station, to the harbor. Years of childhood trips to Maine seem to have given me a love of harbors and fishing villages, much more than beaches.
Main in harborfront building with wood barndoors, bright blue, yellow and red plastic tubs in front of him. Some fish are visible in the tubs and he is cutting up bait.
The waterfront handicrafts and local arts market was sadly closed—a vendor who was painting her stall told us it would soon be opening for weekends, and then on weekdays in the summer. But there was still activity in the harbor.
Display of oysters laid out on ice in a metal tray in front of a restaurant; chalkboards list oyster facts, varieties, and prices.
Whitstable is known for its oysters. Soooo good! Having eaten a fish and chips lunch I wasn’t really hungry, but got one just to try it—now I know what it means to say something tastes like the sea! Flavors and smells really do enhance memories; if I close my eyes I can imagine I’m right there again.
Row of three narrow, dark blue or black buildings with dark green doors. On each end is a person on a ladder, painting the building.
Freshening up was the order of the day. These fishermen’s huts now seem to be mostly B&Bs.
Narrow street with modest one and two storey houses on each side, with doors that  open directly to the street. A man walks down the street toward us, in the distance.
A street just off the harbor
A row of brown brick buildings, a restaurant in the building closest. A woman walks her dog, carrying a shopping bag, on the sidewalk.
There is a little downtown area; a typical small town with shops and restaurants, although not particularly picturesque. Apparently I didn’t take any pictures of it other than this side street!
The oyster industry in Whitstable goes back to the 1400s, and has seen plenty of ups and downs; these days it seems to be holding its own (I’ve seen Whitstable referred to as a foodie mecca), and old buildings house new businesses like this restaurant. You can see from Jonathan’s hat and jacket that it wasn’t exactly hot there in May, but we kept putting our jackets on and taking them off again, depending on whether we were in the sun or shade, wind or shelter.
A glimpse of the narrow space between two buildings, with a white surf board leaning up against a wall at the end.
This could easily be a beach town in California, with the surf board in the garden.
A row of white two-storey houses with lots of windows and pastel colored accents. White picket fences enclose small gardens.
After walking through the town, we looped back to the waterfront. Pretty waterside homes.
The rooves of the buildings, showing chimneys, chimney pots, and TV antennas against a blue cloudless sky.
Wooden groynes like fences, pebble beach, ocean. Foremost groyne is covered in green moss and the metal bolts are rusty.
Groynes can be found on many beaches in England; they prevent erosion. I love the contrast and the texture.
Two women sitting on a gravel beach, up against the wooden groyne (like a fence), with the ocean behind them.
The groynes also break the wind if you sit right up against them! If you look carefully at the ocean you can see the rows of oyster beds. And offshore, windmills in the distance.
Groynes and pebble beach in foreground, four or five rows of pastel painted tiny houses beyond them.
Every English town with a beach seems to have beach huts, and they’re almost always colorful.
A grassy path between two rows of colorful beach huts
A woman sits reading in the tiny front yard area of her beach hut. The three of four nearby huts are all closed up for the winter.
Not everyone waits for summer to enjoy their hut!

In the spirit of virtual travel, I leave you with this. If I stare at it long enough, I can just imagine I’m there.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home—for now.

The photographer's feet, and her companion's, show they are sitting on a rocky beach. A groyne is in front of them, and beyond that a white house, the ocean, and a blue sky.

4 thoughts on “A Virtual Day Trip

  1. These are beautiful pictures of Whitstable, Linda. Thank you for sharing. Although I,too, have visited there, somehow I missed most of the beauty that you recorded!

    • Thanks Pam! I can see how that could happen… the high street was not particularly lovely, and if you don’t get lucky with the weather it can be harder to find the beauty!

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