Exploring the Cornish coastline

Breakfast at the Highcliffe Contemporary Bed and Breakfast http://www.highcliffefalmouth.com/ is a real treat. In addition to fresh fruits, cereals, and a traditional English breakfast, there is always something special on offer. This morning it was the fluffiest French toast ever topped with maple syrup, blueberries and strawberries, all dusted with powdered sugar. It was delicious.

We started our day with a visit to Trebah Gardens, an exotic tropical garden of more than 20 acres.There were tiny gravel paths winding through gardens bursting with hydrangeas in deep blue and purple, and hidden koi ponds where fat lazy fish basked in the sunlight. As we walked, we were surprised by a sudden sun shower, but no one seemed to mind and took shelter under big tropical leaves and bamboo stalks.

We followed the trail down to the water where the beach was almost deserted except for one seagull and a few people at picnic tables enjoying a Cornish ice cream-cone. We learned that this very spot had been covered with concrete during WWII and was used as a point of disembarkation on D-Day for over 700 American soldiers. After the war the concrete was removed but you can still see one of the walls.

We wanted to visit Lizard Point for spectacular views and to enjoy the best crab sandwich and Cornish pasty according to Simon at the B&B, but the roads to get there were winding, super narrow, and surrounded by hedge rows. On this type of road, if another car comes along, someone must back up and give way. A scary moment was when a bus appeared out of nowhere, Fortunately the skilled driver backed up and let us through,

We decided to visit some more accessible towns. Our first one was Mousehole. It’s an adorable town tucked into a cove but so popular there was not one place to park. We headed next to Porthcurno to Minack Theater an outdoor performance center with an amazing history. In 1923, a woman named Rowena Cade moved to Porthcurno and had a house built for her family on a cliff overlooking the sea. She was interested in sewing costumes and in 1929 when a local group wanted to stage A Midsummer’s Night Dream, she offered her garden.

Suddenly she had a vision for an outdoor theater cut into the cliff and with her gardener, built the first one in six months. Over the decades improvements were made by Rowena who could single handedly carry six bags of sand up a cliff to make cement and even lugged 12 wooden beams from a wrecked Spanish vessel up the cliff to the theater. With a screwdriver she carved Celtic designs into the seats and posts before the concrete was fully hardened. We saw the names of countless productions carved into the stones dating back to the 1930s.

Today there are nightly theater productions outside people can attend and Rowena’s vision lives on.

Our last stop was Land’s End, the most southwest point of England with the next stop being America. I visited it as a child and remember it as a touristy place with windswept barren land. Today this is still true, but they’ve added odd amusements to it such as King Arthur’s 3D theater and zip lines. The scenery was dramatic though with waves crashing into the cliffs. I wondered if there had ever been a shipwreck there and sure enough there have been 37.

Tonight we had fish and chips down by the harbor. On our way we noticed hundreds of people wearing bright pink wigs and pink t shirts. Turns out it’s a fund raiser for breast cancer research. We walked around town after dinner and even at 11:99 people were still out and about. Tomorrow we’ ll explore more of the amazing coastline.

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